Golden State at San Antonio
Time: 7 PM, TNT
Spread: GSW -8
Odds c/o 5dimes
The Golden State Warriors have lost three times already through eight contests, but at 5-3 the Warriors will travel to face San Antonio on a Thursday night nationally televised game. The Warriors are 8-point favorites according to NBA oddsmakers at 5dimes. Golden State has boasted a 3-1 mark on the road and the hosting Spurs are 2-0 at home.
San Antonio has lost three-straight games, falling to Orlando, Indiana, and Boston to ruin its 4-0 start to the season. The Spurs lost badly to the Magic, falling 114-87 in a game that saw the Spurs trailing by as many as 40 in the mid-third quarter. Orlando has been the league’s most dominant offensive team thus far, oddly, and San Antonio had no answer for the Magic’s hot shooting and torrid offensive pace.
Gregg Popovich has been visibly disturbed by the lack of defensive effort from LaMarcus Aldridge, and one wonders if Pop might not have been wiser to consider Dewayne Dedmon’s ego last season, as Dedmon departed to start for the Atlanta Hawks. The Spurs are notable for developing talents now, and Aldridge has been anything but developing. Since leaving the Portland Trail Blazers, he has been content to disappear from games.
Aldridge is averaging 23.6 points and 8.4 rebounds per game this season, though, with renewed initiative evidenced by his 25.9 PER. Rudy Gay has been superb as a Spur, too, with 12 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.14 steals per game. The Spurs do still use a strong 10-man rotation, going down to Brandon Paul who has seen 14 minutes per contest. Kyle Anderson is emerging as a solid swingman, with averages of seven points and seven rebounds in 26 minutes a night. Something indicated he would be a good fit in Pop’s system, and he has been.
The Spurs miss Orlando’s new star Jonathon Simmons, who has gone on to be Orlando’s most valuable bench cog since leaving San Antonio disgruntled and insulted by a lack of contract offer age. Manu Ginobili is on his last legs, and at this point, Dejounte Murray is the future at point guard. The Spurs may struggle at times this year, but overall Aldridge and Kawhi Leonard, once healthy, will be enough to keep Pop’s team rolling. The Spurs will likely manage to cover at +8 tonight because the team is unlikely to continue its three-game skid if nothing else.
The Warriors have won four of its past five games, including a 141-113 smashing of the L.A. Clippers most recently. Stephen Curry is having another prime season with a 28 point per game scoring average, and Kevin Durant has been steady at 25.4 points and 7.8 rebounds per game. Draymond Green’s offense has evaporated, however, as the Michigan State product is averaging just 8.3 points per game despite playing 30 minutes a night.
Green is shooting just 40 percent from the field and 24 percent from three-point range, where he has struggled mightily at 3.1 attempts per game. Nick Young’s role has been perhaps less than anticipated thus far, with Young seeing just 12.7 minutes per game. David West averages 7.3 points in 11 minutes a game, playing a role similar to what Marreese Speights did while in The Bay Area. The Dubs still have a strong rotation and have yet to even work in Omri Casspi, who could complement Durant off the bench nicely as a reserve once he is fully in game shape.
The Dubs are a lot like their opponent tonight, in that they tend to make good players great and near-useless ones, useful. Zaza Pachulia serves his role as an enforcer, even if he is hated. The Warriors have all the components of a championship team, and it all begins with Curry, who is perhaps the greatest shooter in the past 30 NBA seasons. The records more than substantiate such claims, and pairing him with a guard like Klay Thompson is a dynamite package to result in multiple titles, as it has.