The San Antonio Spurs regained first place in the Western Conference with a 21 point win over the Golden State Warriors in the first game of a back-to-back-to-back.
The Spurs got started early, pouring in 39 first quarter points against an injury-riddled Warriors team that started four rookies.
Spurs coach Gregg Popovich rested his starters early and relied on the second unit to keep pace with the Warriors and sustain the lead.
Gary Neal lead the Spurs with 17 points and five assists.
Paul Garcia predicted a big offensive game for the Spurs in his game preview.
Offensively, the Spurs should be able to get any shots they want on the Warriors. The Warriors allow offenses to put up major points on them; one reason is their smaller lineups, and their lack of rebounding because of their size and injuries.
If all of the Spurs’ players play in this game, it shouldn’t be nothing less of a blowout for the Spurs in which the starters should be resting through the entire fourth quarter.
“They are extremely well coached, which is obvious, by one of the best ever to do it. They have three guys that’ll one day in the Hall of Fame. They’re very efficient. They make you pay when you make mistakes. They’re an outstanding basketball team and they will be a very tough out come playoff time, because of those things.” – Warriors coach Mark Jackson
With more of the Spurs starters sitting while the NBA season winds down, look for some of their reserves to play big minutes.. Against the Warriors, Tiago Splitter had 15 points, eight rebounds and two blocked shots. Splitter would be a smart pickup when you start dumping players who will see a big decrease in minutes.
In just 16 minutes, rookie Kawhi Leonard had seven points and seven rebounds.