Spurs' leaky defense faces big test against hot-shooting Curry, Warriors

Spurs' leaky defense faces big test against hot-shooting Curry, Warriors

Credit: Getty Images

Stephen Curry #30 of the Golden State Warriors drives on Danny Green #4 of the San Antonio Spurs at Oracle Arena on February 22, 2013 in Oakland, California. The Warriors are wearing new short-sleeved uniforms for the first time. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)

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by David Flores / Kens5.com

kens5.com

Posted on March 20, 2013 at 6:28 AM

Updated Tuesday, Nov 12 at 9:26 PM

Not surprisingly, the Spurs spent most of Tuesday's practice working on their defense.

With Stephen Curry and the Golden State Warriors in town, the Spurs could find themselves on their heels if they don't stop their defensive slide pronto.

The Silver & Black still have the best record in the Western Conference, but they have yielded a season-high 136 points in a loss to Portland, 107 in a loss to Minnesota and 113 in a victory against Cleveland in three of their last five games.

Now come the Warriors, who beat the Spurs 107-101 in overtime on Feb. 22 in Oakland, Calif., snapping a 16-game losing streak in the series.

The Spurs (51-16) host the Warriors (39-30) at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the AT&T Center.

Spurs point guard Tony Parker practiced for the first time Tuesday since spraining his left ankle March 1, and could be back in the lineup sooner than expected, Coach Gregg Popovich said.

"He did everything today," Popovich said. "It's very encouraging. He's getting there. I think it will be sooner than four weeks, but he's not ready for tomorrow."

The Spurs initially said they expected Parker, who leads the team in scoring and assists, to be sidelined for four weeks.

So, for at least another game, Parker will take a seat on the bench and cheer on his teammates.

 

Curry lit up Knicks for 54 points five days after win over Spurs

Golden State has lost 28 consecutive games in San Antonio, but Popovich took little solace in that Tuesday.

"We worked on defense most of the practice," Popovich said with a sheepish grin. "Our team defense has not been good, but it's been pressured because the individual D has been so poor.

"It puts a lot of pressure on the team to react accordingly. We have to react so quickly because we've gotten beat so quickly on a one-on-one basis lately. It's a little bit of both."

Curry, a point guard, had 18 points and six assists in the Warriors' last game against the Spurs, but it was his backup, Jarrett Jack, and David Lee who tormented the visitors.

Jack led the way with 30 points and 10 assists, and Lee finished with 25 points and 22 rebounds.

Still, Curry is Golden State's catalyst. Curry turned only 25 earlier this month -- and he looks younger than that -- but he's playing like a seasoned pro.

"He's a nightmare," Popovich said.

Five days after the big win over the Spurs, Curry torched the New York Knicks for 54 points at Madison Square Garden. Curry made 18 of 28 shots, including 11 of 13 3-pointers, but the Knicks managed to pull out a 109-105 victory.

"He's something else," Popovich said. "You think you've got him pretty well covered and he shoots it from three feet further out. So then you're paranoid and you run at him, and he's not just a shooter, he's a good basketball player. He drives, he kicks, he hits the open man, and that guy gets an uncontested shot."

 

Ginobili: 'Team defense is always huge'

Curry, the son of former NBA player Dell Curry, is averaging 22.2 points. A former star at Davidson, he was selected by Golden State with the seventh overall pick in the 2009 draft.

"There are many players who can score 20, 22 a game," Spurs guard Manu Ginobili said. "But to score 50-plus with 11 3's? You can tell he's special."

Curry already has set a Golden State record with 214 3-pointers this season.

With only 15 games left in the Spurs' season, Ginobili said he and his teammates know they have to start buckling down on defense.

"It's about being focused and doing better," Ginobili said. "We know we can do it. Golden State is a great test because they have a lot of scorers," Ginobili said. "They move the ball well. It's going to be a good defensive test for us.

"Team defense is always huge. How you help on screens, how you rotate when somebody plays the pick and roll. It's a matter of team defense. We always say this because it's the truth. We've got to improve as a team."

Ginobili said he was glad to see Parker back on the practice floor.

"We need him," Ginobili said. "There's no mystery in that. He's a huge part of what we do. Not only because he can score 20 (points) and 10 (assists), but he makes everybody better. He makes us all feel more confident, too. It's great to see him close to getting back.

"He looked good. Of course, he's a little out of rhythm because it's his first practice. That's the hardest part to resolve, the details, like the step-back or crossovers and finishing on people. That is going to take a few days. But he looked fast as always and he looked confident."

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