Warriors with a shot in San Antonio?

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Warriors with a shot in San Antonio?

March 21, 2011

WARRIORS (30-40) vs.
SAN ANTONIO (56-13)

Coverage begins at 5 P.M. on Comcast SportsNet Bay Area

SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- With sizable leads in the Southwest Division and the Western Conference, the San Antonio Spurs have started looking ahead to the postseason by giving their top players some rest.

Given their 25-game home winning streak against the Golden State Warriors heading into Monday night's game between the teams, it may not matter who Spurs coach Gregg Popovich decides to rest.

With a 7 12-game advantage over Dallas, San Antonio (56-13) is closing in on its eighth division title in 11 seasons. The NBA's best team also has a 6 12-game lead over the Los Angeles Lakers for the West's No. 1 seed.
RELATED: NBA conference standings

That helped make it easy for Popovich to give star forward Tim Duncan his first night off this season Saturday as the Spurs defeated visiting Charlotte 109-98. Starting guard Manu Ginobili also played just 19 minutes - far below his season average of nearly 31.

Rookie Tiago Splitter got his first NBA start in place of Duncan, but it was reserve forward Steve Novak who proved more pivotal with a season-high 19 points. Fellow bench players Gary Neal added 15 points and George Hill had 12.

"It was great to have the bench come in, so Manu (Ginobili) wouldn't have to play too many minutes," Popovich said. "I wanted to play Tony (Parker) even less, but he's the youngster of the group. Everyone off the bench came in and did a great job."

Even with his team's large leads in the division and conference, Ginobili said the Spurs starters might get only get one or two nights off over the final 3 12 weeks of the regular season.

"We got to keep in shape and keep playing. Because when you realize the playoffs are here you don't want to lose your conditioning," Ginobili said.

The Spurs' conditioning has rarely been an issue of late against the fast-paced Warriors (30-40). The 25-game run at home is the NBA's longest active streak against one opponent, and San Antonio has won 11 in a row in the series.

Duncan played just 18 minutes in a 111-94 win over Golden State at the AT&T Center on Dec. 8, finishing with eight points and five rebounds. Parker, meanwhile, had 19 points to lead six players in double figures. DeJuan Blair was one of those with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

REWIND: Highlights -- Spurs 111, Warriors 94

Golden State got a career-high eight 3-pointers and 31 points from Reggie Williams in that game, but Stephen Curry sprained his right ankle in the second quarter. Curry was held to 11 points on 4-of-12 shooting Sunday when the Warriors suffered their fourth consecutive defeat and fourth in a row on the road, 101-73 at Dallas.

REWIND: Warriors can't overcome slow start in Dallas

Golden State, averaging 103.1 points, had just 10 in the fourth quarter against the Mavericks and missed 24 of 33 shots in the second half. The 73 points were the team's second lowest-scoring total this season.

"It was just an off night for guys. Guys couldn't find their shot," forward Dorell Wright said. "I feel like shots that we usually make were going in and out, and we were just missing it. It's like that at some times. So, we've just got to let this one go and get ready for tomorrow."

Ginobili has averaged 20.5 points on 54.0 percent shooting in his last four games against Golden State. San Antonio has also limited the Warriors' Monta Ellis to 18.7 points - 5.7 below his team-leading average - on 34.8 percent shooting.

NBA Gameday: One streak over, but Warriors look to keep another alive

NBA Gameday: One streak over, but Warriors look to keep another alive

OAKLAND – With their 12-game win streak over, the Warriors return to the court Saturday night trying to avoid the slump that struck some of the NBA’s elite teams this week.

The Warriors (16-3) have gone an NBA-record 104 regular-season games without losing two in a row and they’ll seek to extend that streak when the Phoenix Suns (6-13) visit Oracle Arena for the second time this season.

But it has been a rough past few days for some of the league’s better teams. The defending NBA champion Cleveland Cavaliers have lost three in a row, and the Los Angeles Clippers lost three straight before recovering to win their last two.

The Warriors are coming off a 132-127 double-overtime loss to Houston, while the Suns are coming off a victory over Atlanta.

BETTING LINE:
Warriors by 17

MATCHUP TO WATCH:
Stephen Curry vs. Eric Bledsoe. Bledsoe may be the most muscular and physical point guard in the league, and he’ll try to use his physique to press Curry at every opportunity. Curry, however, is stronger than he looks and not only will push back but also utilize craftiness to exploit Bledsoe’s aggression.

INJURY REPORT:
Warriors: No injuries listed.

Suns: F T.J. Warren (head injury) is listed as out.

ROSTER NOTE:
C Damian Jones is on assignment with Santa Cruz of the Development League.

LAST 10:
Warriors: 9-1. Suns: 3-7.

SERIES HISTORY:
The Warriors have won the last nine games, including two this season, by an average margin of 12.9 points. The nine-game streak ties the longest by either team since the Suns entered the NBA in 1968. Phoenix won nine straight from 1989-91.

THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
Return of the D. The Warriors continue to experience occasional lapses on defense, though most teams have not been skilled enough to take full advantage. Stellar defense against the Suns will give the Warriors a decided edge. This is a chance to put up a exemplary game.

Sprinters on display. The Suns lead the league in only one major category: pace. They play faster than any other team. The Warriors are not far behind, though, ranking third in the same category. Though both want to run, history shows the Warriors are better at it.

Risky kids. Phoenix ranks 25th in turnovers and dead last in assist-to-turnover ratio, a statistic in which the Warriors lead the NBA. Some of the miscue can be attributed to speed but much of is the result of youth; four players on the roster have yet to reach their 21st birthday.

Raiders put Hayden on IR, sign defensive lineman to active roster

Raiders put Hayden on IR, sign defensive lineman to active roster

ALAMEDA -- The Oakland Raiders have signed DL Branden Jackson to the active roster and placed CB DJ Hayden on the Reserve/Injured List, the club announced Saturday.

Jackson originally signed with the Raiders as an undrafted free agent on May 16 of this year after participating on a tryout basis at the team’s rookie mini-camp. After participating in the offseason program and training camp with the team, he was waived on Sept. 3 and signed to the practice squad the next day, where he spent the first 12 weeks of the regular season.

The 6-foot-4, 268-pounder played four years at Texas Tech, seeing action in 51 games with 38 starts. Jackson totaled 138 tackles (97 solo), 11 sacks, three forced fumbles, two fumble recoveries and seven passes defensed.

Oakland Raiders media services.