This Saturday the Golden State Warriors are heading into town to play the San Antonio Spurs this will be the first time the two teams play at AT&T Center this season as the only previous encounter was on opening night which ended in a 129-100 blowout San Antonio Spurs win, behind the contributions of Kawhi Leonard (35 points, 5 rebounds, 5 steals, 3 assists) LaMarcus Aldridge (26 points, 14 rebounds, 3 assists) and Johnathon Simmons (20 points, 4 rebounds, 3 assists.) Most fans were shocked as the Warriors had acquired Kevin Durant in the free agency period and many believed that the Warriors new formed super team would easily dominate the league, however, the Spurs managed to easily exploit the Warriors' weaknesses and shock the league with a blowout victory.

How is this time different?

The recent injury of Kevin Durant (who is not expected to return until the playoffs), has made life difficult for the Warriors who have gone only 2-2 since Durant has been injured. With Kevin Durant not expected to play for the Warriors the rest of the regular season, many believe that the Warriors first seed placement is in jeopardy with the Spurs only 2.5 games behind in the second seed, seen as a legitimate threat to the Warriors' first seed spot.

With the Durant-less Warriors heading into town on Saturday, many are expecting the Spurs to come away with the win, however, if the Warriors can do these three things they have a good chance of getting a win against the Spurs Saturday night.

Start Matt Barnes instead of Patrick McCaw

Ever since Kevin Durant's injury Steve Kerr has opted to start the rookie Patrick McCaw. McCaw in no way has filled Kevin Durant's shoes since his injury (averaging only 8 PPG and 3.8 RPG since Durant's injury). With McCaw's matchup, Kawhi Leonard making a strong case for MVP this season (26.3 PPG, 6 RPG, 3.4 APG), having the rookie match up with Leonard could be a recipe for disaster.

Matt Barnes however, in this case, would be better suited to defending Kawhi Leonard. Despite both players being the same height (6'7), Matt Barnes is considerably stronger (225lbs vs McCaw's 185lbs). Barnes also has a better Defensive Box Plus/Minus (2.4 vs McCaw's -0.3). These reasons outlined above are more than enough to show that Matt Barnes needs to be given the nod to start.

N.B For people wondering why Andre Iguodala should not get the start is that he is too vital to the second unit and this bench needs to provide some scoring, especially against the Spurs.

The Splash Brothers need to find their shot

A large part of the Warriors' lost on opening night to the Spurs was due to their poor shooting from deep (21.2% compared to the Spurs' 50%). This in large was due to the poor shooting from the Splash Brothers, Klay Thompson, and Stephen Curry that game (a combined 4-16 from 3 point range). Since Kevin Durant's injury, they have combined for 25-89 from deep, due to the newly focused attention towards them on offense now with their number one scoring option Durant now on the sidelines.

These Splash Brothers need to find their shooting touch if they have any chance of beating the Spurs Saturday night because as shown by the last time these two teams played if the three point shot is not falling these Warriors will lose.


The Spurs dominated the glass on opening night 55-35 this was due in large part to five Spurs players grabbing five or more rebounds compared to only two Warriors players grabbing 5 or more rebounds. Rebounding was a major concern for these Warriors after they had to trade away Andrew Bogut in order to clear cap space for Kevin Durant, and losing Festus Ezeli who decided to sign a more lucrative deal with the Trail Blazers. However with the improved play of Zaza Pachulia and Javale McGee after both of them performed appallingly on opening night, and the waiving of Anderson Varejao who was starting to become a defensive liability. These Warriors now look more battle-ready on the glass compared to Opening Night.