Warriors-Spurs Preview By JEFF BARTL
Golden State (23 - 14)
San Antonio (30 - 11)
(AP) -- Playing without Stephen Curry is never an ideal situation for the Golden State Warriors, who were struggling even before their star guard re-injured his surgically repaired ankle.
His absence certainly won't help Golden State end its nearly 16-year-old road losing streak to the San Antonio Spurs.
The Warriors look to avoid a 28th straight defeat in San Antonio and 16th consecutive loss overall in the series Friday night versus the Spurs, who seek their 14th home victory in a row.
Curry stepped on a teammate's foot and sprained his right ankle during the team's Wednesday shootaround, and didn't play that night in a 92-75 loss to Miami.
"As crazy as it sounds, it could have happened in a game," Curry said. "It was a freak kind of play."
Coach Mark Jackson said the injury doesn't appear to be serious, though he isn't sure when Curry will be healthy enough to return. Golden State (23-14) has dropped four of its last five games and is 10-31 without Curry, who is averaging 20.5 points and 6.6 assists, over the last two seasons.
"I'm not a doctor, but I can't imagine it turning into something more," Jackson said. "I won't get into timetables and all of that, but we're not concerned."
Jarrett Jack made his first start of the season Wednesday and scored a team-high 16 points, and he'll likely start in place of Curry for as long as he remains out.
Jack said the Warriors can't use Curry's absence as an excuse for not playing up to expectations.
"The best thing is we have a chance to go to San Antonio to correct it and get back to our style of play," he said. "Everyone is going to point to Stephen being out - of course we would love him in the lineup - but that one person isn't going to save the way we have been playing the past couple of games."
Golden State has had its share of problems playing in San Antonio with or without Curry. The Warriors haven't won a road game in the series since a 108-94 victory Feb. 14, 1997 - four months before the Spurs selected the now 36-year-old Tim Duncan with the No. 1 overall pick in the draft.
It's been more than five years since Golden State's 130-121 overtime home win over San Antonio on Jan. 7, 2008, and there's not much reason to believe the Warriors will end their series skids Friday. The Spurs haven't lost at home since before Thanksgiving, running their streak to 13 by routing Memphis 103-82 on Wednesday.
San Antonio (30-11) improved to an NBA-best 17-2 at home, winning there during its streak by an average of 16.7 points.
Duncan finished with a team-high 19 points and Tony Parker added 17 and 11 assists as the Spurs won their first back-to-back games in the new year.
"I think it's the best we've played in two weeks," coach Gregg Popovich said. "We've kind of had a tough time putting it all together in the last couple of weeks, for whatever reason. We're trying to get it back to the way we need to play to win."
Parker is averaging 23.8 points and 9.8 assists over his last five home games versus the Warriors, though San Antonio will again be without Manu Ginobili, who is out up to two weeks with a left hamstring strain.