SAN ANTONIO -- After shaking off a solid blow from the Spurs early in Game 2 Monday in Oakland, the Warriors expect an even bigger fight when the teams meet for Game 3 Thursday night at AT&T Center.
Coverage on NBC Sports Bay Area begins at 5 o’clock, with tipoff scheduled for 6:30.
In sweeping of San Antonio in the Western Conference Finals last May, the Warriors overcame a second-quarter deficit on the road in Game 3. With a 2-0 series lead, they’ll be out to squash any chance of a Spurs comeback in the best-of-seven series.
San Antonio will be coached by assistant Ettore Messina, who is replacing Gregg Popovich. The Spurs were terrific at home in the regular season, posting a 33-8 record, behind only Houston and Toronto.
Warriors by 4
MATCHUP TO WATCH
Warriors big men vs. LaMarcus Aldridge: With JaVale McGee’s availability uncertain, the Warriors will have to dig into their rotation in an effort to contain Aldridge, who rang up 34 points and 12 rebounds in Game 2. If McGee can’t go, expect the bulk of the minutes to be divided between Kevon Looney and David West. Draymond Green will take a few shifts and Zaza Pachulia, did not play in Game 1 or 2, could be pressed into service.
Warriors: C JaVale McGee (L quad contusion) is listed as questionable. G Stephen Curry (L MCL sprain) and G Pat McCaw (lumbar spine contusion) are listed as out.
Spurs: F Joffrey Lauvergne (personal business) and F Kawhi Leonard (return from injury management) are listed as out. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich (personal reasons) will not be at the game.
SERIES TO DATE
Game 1: Warriors 113, Spurs 92 Game 2: Warriors 116-, Spurs 101
Zach Zarba (crew chief), Rodney Mott, Sean Wright, Tre Maddox (alternate)
The Warriors won three of four in the regular season, 112-92 on Nov. 2 at San Antonio, 122-105 on Feb. 10 in Oakland and 110-107 on March 8 in Oakland before losing 89-75 on March 19 in San Antonio. The Warriors swept the Spurs in the 2017 Western Conference Finals. The Warriors are 13-6 (including postseason) against San Antonio in the Steve Kerr era.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH
RAW EMOTIONS: Coaches and players on both teams are affected by the death of Erin Popovich, Gregg’s wife of 40 years. Emotions are certain to in the building how emotions will influence the outcome, but they are certain to be a factor. Can the Spurs summon an inspirational, storybook performance?
VENUE CHANGE: The Spurs were a markedly better team at home, as suggested by their splits. They were 33-8 at AT&T Center vs. 14-27 on the road. They’ll get a big lift from the sellout crowd in one of the few arenas where the Warriors don’t expect audible support. They do, however, embrace the role of villain.
ROAD DEFENSE: The Warriors rediscovered their ferocious defense in Games 1 and 2 at home. Aside from a few lapses in the first half of Game 2, they were aggressive and effective and able to smother San Antonio’s offense. To be determined is whether than intensity traveled to Texas.