Published: Wed, April 12, 2017
Sports | By Nelson Rowe

Spurs looking for season sweep in matchup against Warriors


San Antonio posted two wins over Golden State earlier this campaign, and a victory in this matchup would tighten the Western Conference playoff race as the Warriors hold a 2 1/2-game lead with eight contests to play.

With their defense exclusively focused on James Harden, the Warriors scored 37 points during the first period, and never trailed in route to their sixth straight victory on the Rockets' floor.

The Warriors scored the last six points of the third quarter to lead 86-75 entering the fourth.

The Warriors are also the best defensive team in the National Basketball Association where it matters most in the National Basketball Association these days - guarding the three-point line.

The Warriors wanted to show everybody that they're better than the Spurs better even without Kevin Durant, better even on the back-end of a back-to-back, better even when they start the game by giving San Antonio the first 15 points. James Harden is averaging 29.3 points and 11.4 assists while Eric Gordon is averaging 16.4 points and 2.6 rebounds. But he shot just 5 of 20 - 1 of 9 on 3-pointers.

"They missed some open ones, but that's obviously a big focus for us when we play these guys", Golden State coach Steve Kerr said.

"We don't try to catch anybody", Popovich said recently, when he was asked if his team had a sense of urgency to catch the Warriors. "We do a great job of trying to stay on a string so when two guys commit to the ball and there's a pass out to the wing, the next guy is on alert ready to rotate, kind of a chain reaction".

Curry and Thompson each connected on four 3-pointers.

Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant could return to game action before the end of the regular season, the team announced Wednesday.

Today's game on March 31 is the third and final game between Rockets and Warriors.

In Auburn Hills, Michigan, Hassan Whiteside tipped in a shot with his left hand as time expired to lift Miami over Detroit.

In Toronto, Marco Belinelli scored 21 points, Kemba Walker had 19 and Charlotte edged the Raptors.

"We're mentally tough", Whiteside said.

It feels like we've been viewing the Warriors more existentially with each passing week, but those times are over.

The team is hopeful Durant will be back for the postseason.

But make no mistake: Everyone is chasing Golden State.

They stretched their advantage to as many as 26 in the second half. For any team colliding toward their path, that has to be a scary thought.

In addition, Harden picked up his 20th triple-double of the season before the end of the third quarter, adding to his career-high in that category.

Minnesota guard Ricky Rubio sank three free throws with 3.4 seconds left to give the Timberwolves the victory.

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