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San Antonio Spurs: Matching Up Against California’s Elite

By Ivan Mora
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Spurs kick off this week versus the 2 powerhouses in California and are ready for the challenge.  They continue their Rodeo Road trip when they take on the Clippers in Los Angeles thursday night and finish off the week with a trip to the Oracle Arena friday night to take on #1 seed Warriors.  Now versus both teams, the Spurs actually have an advantage despite being ranked 7th.  They are 2-1 over the Clippers with the last meeting this thursday night and are 1-0 over the Warriors going all the way back to when they first clashed back in November 11th winning 113-110 that night.  Granted the Spurs still have 2 remaining matchups with Golden State, but at the moment you can say they have the upper hand.

Now lets break down these past and future matchups to see what kind of impact these games will have down the road.

San Antonio Spurs vs Los Angeles Clippers.

Right now, its a close race between these 2 teams, so this thursday night is going to be a crucial game regarding seeding implications.  The Spurs always seem dominant when they confront the Clippers whether it’s in Los Angeles or back home in San Antonio going all the way back to their first matchup in November.  That matchup in Los Angeles was a breaking out party for Leonard after being out for close to 3 weeks because of conjunctivitis.  He finished that night with 26 points and 10 rebounds leading to an 89-85 victory in Los Angeles.  Now fast forward a month later and they meet up again but this time in the defending champions house.  During that 5 game span leading up to that night, the Spurs had been emotionally and physically drained after losing a pair of crushing games in overtime.  Parker had been out with a strained left hamstring but came back huge and managed to lift his team back up with a 125-118 victory that night.  He scored 26 points in his return from injury to ignite his team to a much needed win after a more than dreadful December.

After having secured the first 2 wins out of a 4 game matchup series, the Spurs were ready for that 3rd meeting late January to continue rolling.  On the other side, the Clippers weren’t necessarily looking forward to that game after a horrible outing versus Tony Parker and company back in December.  However, Blake Griffin wasn’t ready to be swept by the Spurs and he definitely wasn’t ready to slip down in the rankings this late in the season.  He posterized the Spurs that night with a 31 point 13 rebound performance that left the champions scratching their heads as the Clippers left the building with a 105-85 victory.  They simply outplayed them that night and were smarter and more focused especially offensively.

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Now they meet again for the last and probably most important matchup of the season.  The Spurs are trailing the Clippers by 1 game in the West as they currently stand in the 7th spot with a 34-19 record.  6th seed Clippers have the slight advantage with a 35-19 record coming into thursday nights game.  It will be the first game back from the All Star break for both teams.  At this point it seems the Spurs need this victory more than the Clippers, but after suffering the first 2 losses early in the season, don’t expect them to back down come tip off.  With less than 3 months left in the regular season, these games become more and more crucial for playoff seeding and  they’re both eyeing a spot in the top 6.

Nov. 10th Spurs won 89-85 @LA

Dec. 22nd Spurs won 125-118 @SA

Jan 31st Clippers won 105-85 @SA

Feb 19th Spurs vs Clippers @LA

San Antonio Spurs vs Golden State Warriors

Now in comparison to the Clippers, the Warriors have a huge lead over San Antonio this late in the season.  It seems nearly impossible for the Spurs to be a threat to the Warriors #1 seed, but then again that doesn’t mean Golden State should take the defending champions lightly.  After all they did beat them 113-110 in their first matchup.  A matchup in which Tony Parker finished with 28 points and 7 assists, while Leonard quietly added 19 to secure the win.  Now a wins a win, but in reality these Warriors didn’t really start clicking till early december and their first matchup was 2 weeks into the season.  Who knows what type of game it will be now since the Warriors are 42-9 leading the whole NBA with the #1 seed.   It will be a true test for these 2 contenders and a thrilling one at that with 2 games remaining in the series.  A test to see what the new and improved Warriors can deliver against the 5 time NBA champions.

Nov 11th Spurs won 113-110 @GS

Feb 20th Spurs vs Warriors @GS

April 5th Spurs vs Warriors @ SA

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