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Preview: Warriors need better performances from Curry and Thompson to hold off elimination against Spurs

May 16, 2013, 1:42 PM EST

Golden State Warriors v San Antonio Spurs - Game Two Getty Images

A closeout game is always the hardest win to get in a series. This is especially true when battling on the road and even more so when that road environment is one of the most raucous in the league. The Spurs, then, have their hands full when they visit Oracle Arena in Oakland and try to end the Warriors’ season in game 6.

But this isn’t as much about what the Spurs need to do in order to win, but what the Warriors need to do in order to avoid going down on their home floor. They can expect their fans to give them that extra boost, but in the end they’ll need their core players to step up and provide the production on the floor to extend this series to a 7th game.

What this really means is getting more production from Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson. Both have had one huge game in this series, but have faltered in recent contests. In game 5 the duo combined for only 13 points on 6-22 shooting, struggling to escape the pressure defense the Spurs threw at them all night. The question, though, is whether the Warriors have the ability to crack San Antonio’s defensive code and get them that space they need to hit shots.

Curry is still clearly affected by his sprained left ankle and hasn’t shown his normal burst or ability to change directions to get separation to shoot his jumper. When the Warriors run pick and rolls, he is being crowded by the hedging big man while also being chased over the top of picks by his own defender. Meanwhile Thompson is being hounded all over the floor by Kawhi Leonard, getting chased off the three point line and challenged when he pulls up for his mid-range jumper or when he tries to drive all the way to the rim.

I don’t see the Spurs changing their approach with either player and that puts the onus on head coach Mark Jackson and the players themselves to make the proper adjustments this game. Continuing to try and push the pace in order to attack before the Spurs get set defensively will help. As will running more off ball screen sets for both in order to free them up. But if Curry and Thompson can’t get it going, even if Jarrett Jack and Harrison Barnes continue to play well, it will be too difficult for Golden State to get the win.

For the Spurs, they simply must continue to refine what they’re doing on both sides and make the Warriors work on every possession. If they can continue to execute and play with the discipline they’ve had for most of the series, I see them making it very hard on the Warriors in this game.

The Warriors aren’t going to give up and their home crowd will prop them up when things go poorly and elevate them higher if they play well. But the Spurs look to be the better team at this point and if they stick to the plan they’ve deployed over the last couple of games, I don’t see that changing.

  1. 4thquartermagic - May 16, 2013 at 2:40 PM

    No token post on the status of Curry’s “gumby” ankles?

    His ankles should have their own twitter account.

    Right ankle (@30RAnKle): “Do or die time. Excited to play.” #ready2go

    Left ankle (@30LAnKle): “Feelin betr 2day. got treatment. ready to roll… uhh play.” #gangsterlimp

  2. baymac408 - May 16, 2013 at 6:49 PM

    Lets GO WARRIORS!! Big game tonight! Gotta force the game 7 and keep up the amazing run!! I love watching my team play at this level.. Win or lose WARRIORS basketball is exciting and has been since the 90′s at least for me anyways… Lol shout out to Latrell Spreewell!!

  3. joeksnuffy - May 16, 2013 at 7:16 PM

    These media guys are so short-sighted. After the first couple games, everyone was writing about how the Spurs were in trouble. And now they are saying that they are the better team. Any hack can come up with those conclusions at the various stages of this series. The Spurs have always been the better team. They were caught off-guard the first two games but have since made their adjustments. The better team almost always wins a 7-game series because there is so much time to make adjustments and assert your advantages. This series was always just a matter of time to swing San Antonio’s way. The Warriors are improving, but it’s not quite their time yet.

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