The young Warriors are up against the older Spurs in the final game of the week for 2013.[caption id="attachment_15468" align="aligncenter" width="534"] Photo Credit: Kelley L Cox, USA TODAY Sports[/caption] The Playoffs are nearly here. As we enter the final week of the regular season most seeds out East are settled, in the West there is still some business to take care of. This game will have seeding implications. Lets take a look.
GAME TIME & VIEWING OPTIONSTime & Date: Tuesday, April 16, 12:30pm AEDT Location: Oracle Arena, Oakland. Viewing Info: NBA League Pass (see our TV Guide for full info)
FORM HEADING INSan Antonio: 58-21 The Spurs are a team I definitely wouldn't want to face in the first round of the Playoffs. They do the basics great and have one of, if not the best coach in the league in Gregg Popovich. The Spurs could rest some of their older players for this match after the Monday's game against the Lakers. If this does happen, it will be good to see their lesser used role players can stand up against a quality opposition like the Warriors. Golden State: 45-35 Golden State could be anything if they get it right heading into this years Playoffs. They have Klay Thompson and Steph Curry, two of the best shooters in the league. Curry has shown throughout the season that he is more than capable of scoring over 40 points in a game. The Warriors last match ended in a close loss to the Lakers. A match that saw Kobe Bryant go down with a torn Achilles and Curry scoring 47 points. The Warriors were unable to capitalise when it counted.
MATCH UP OF THE NIGHTWhile there are stars throughout both teams starting line ups, I'm going to focus on two young guns for the match up of the night. Kawhi Leonard and Harrison Barnes were both selected to take part in the Rising Stars game during this years All Star Weekend. Kawhi Leonard can play both the shooting guard and small forward positions. I think he will play plenty of time against Barnes as a forward in this match though. He is one of the youngest players on the San Antonio roster and yet he has been able to cement his spot in the starting line up. Leonard is the future of the Spurs with their core of star players aging. He could be a big X factor heading in to the Playoffs as other teams look to stop Duncan and Parker, leaving Leonard with some room to operate. Harrison Barnes, like most rookies, took some time to adjust to NBA basketball. The Warriors showed faith in him earlier in the season and he is really starting to repay them with good games. Barnes has shown solid improvement throughout his first season in the NBA, a very encouraging sign for his future with this young Warriors team. Leonard has a more explosive offensive game, but Barnes is a capable defender that will stand up against Leonard. Barnes will need to utilise his athleticism against Leonard in the battle for boards.
BENCH BATTLEThese two teams have stand out players coming off the bench. Lets take a look at who to watch out for. Patty Mills hasn't seen too much game time this season. If the Spurs decide to rest some of their stars for this match, Mills might see some good minutes. Like many of you reading this, I want to see Mills get more minutes. We all saw what he did in last years Olympics and I really think he could play a huge role on a lesser team. Jarrett Jack has been a revelation for the Warriors this season. He is right up there with J.R Smith and Jamal Crawford in the Sixth Man Of The Year talks. Jack is enjoying his role as one of the older players on the team. He's the type of player his teammates love to be around. Gary Neal is a good back up shooting guard. He loves to shoot threes and is averaging over 2 threes per game. Although he certainly has room for improvement in his defensive game. If Neal hopes to get more minutes, he will need to work on his defence not just for the Playoffs, but for the rest of his career. Carl Landry has also had a decent season with Golden State. His numbers don't jump out at you but he provides more than just stats to his team. He has been around the NBA a long time and knows how to perform his role for the team. He is averaging 10.7 points and 5.9 rebounds in 23 minutes per game.
PREDICTED STARTING LINE UPSSan Antonio Spurs:
- Point Guard: Tony Parker
- Shooting Guard: Danny Green
- Small Forward: Kawhi Leonard
- Power Forward: Tim Duncan
- Center: Tiago Splitter
- Point Guard: Steph Curry
- Shooting Guard: Klay Thompson
- Small Forward: Harrison Barnes
- Power Forward: David Lee
Center: Andrew Bogut*