In one of the last gigantic regular season games, the San Antonio Spurs take on the Golden State Warriors in a grudge match from the Lone Star State.
Some keys to victory for the Spurs to utilize…
Solid Perimeter Defense
The Warriors make the most 3s per game, shoot the most 3s per game, and lead the NBA in 3 point field goal percentage. They lean on their perimeter shooting primarily as a kickstarter for the rest of their offense. The Warriors have only lost two games where they’ve had a 3 point field goal percentage of 40% or better (January 16 against the Detroit Pistons and April 1 against the Boston Celtics). When the Spurs beat them on March 19, they held the Warriors to just 25% on 3 point field goals. The easiest way for a team to slow down the Warriors on offense is to limit their effectiveness on their outside shooting. Attack Stephen Curry relentlessly as soon as he crosses half court, force him to pass it off out of a double-team (this is when the Warriors have proven to be especially vulnerable to turnovers), and close out aggressively on their outside jumpers. Get a hand in their face and make them uncomfortable.
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Try to Force Draymond Green Into Foul Trouble
Green is the key to the Warriors’ effectiveness on defense. He can efficiently guard any position on the defensive end, and his ability to switch seamlessly on pick-and-rolls without losing any potency makes him arguably the best defender in the NBA. His versatility on defense is critical to their success, and he’s their most valuable player besides Curry because of it. The Spurs have to attack him early and try to get him in foul trouble. Feed the ball to LaMarcus Aldridge inside and have him go to work. If they can get Green out of the game for long stretches of time, it drastically limits what the Warriors can do on the defensive end. Green’s volatility sparks his team, but his unchecked rage can also be used against him if the Spurs can deftly prod him into mental errors and any implosion that follows.
Treat This Game Like a Game 7
The Spurs need to win this game far more than the Warriors do, whether they want to admit it or not. The Warriors would have home court advantage in a playoff matchup between these two teams, and they can fall back on the comfort of a 7th game being played in Oakland. The Spurs’ psychological edge ties in to their invincibility in San Antonio. All potential intimidation is lost if the Warriors prove that they can beat this Spurs’ roster in San Antonio.