San Antonio Spurs forward LaMarcus Aldridge is out indefinitely due to an occurrence of a minor heart arrhythmia, according to the team. There is no official timetable for Aldridge’s return, as the forward will need to undergo further tests. This is awful news for the dominant Spurs, as the playoffs draw closer. The battle between the Spurs and the Golden State Warriors just became even more intriguing, but who has the upper hand?
LaMarcus Aldridge will be out for an indefinite period due to an occurrence of a minor heart arrhythmia. pic.twitter.com/s0D2Enc6RO
— San Antonio Spurs (@spurs) March 11, 2017
LaMarcus Aldridge Out Indefinitely: Battle of the Diminished Begins
Both the Spurs and Warriors are currently experiencing small losing streaks. Since the Kevin Durant injury, the Warriors have been in a slump. Sitting atop of the Pacific Division with a 52-13 record, the Warriors have already clinched a playoff spot. Securing the earliest playoff berth in NBA history, Steve Kerr‘s team has lost two in a row. Golden State’s 99-86 loss at home against the Boston Celtics came as quite a surprise to most. Steph Curry and Klay Thompson appear to be out of rhythm, as the team has gone through its worst spell of the season. The Warriors gave up a ton of depth to land Durant. So with the eight-time All-Star out for weeks, something needs to change.
The Spurs have been a popular topic of discussion for the last week or so. With Durant going down, many have entertained the idea of the Spurs taking advantage. All of a sudden, the Spurs became favorites to win the West. Gregg Popovich has always coached competitive Spurs teams, and this season is no different. Popovich’s Spurs are currently 50-14 and leading the Southwest Division. Kawhi Leonard is an MVP candidate, averaging 26.2 points per game. Leonard is just one of many leaders on a Spurs team looking to fight the Warriors for the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference.
Up until the Durant injury, the Warriors were clearly the favorite to win the West. Then, just recently, there was about a week when Popovich’s Spurs looked set to swoop in and steal the top seed, and for good reason. Fans and pundits had no clue what to expect from a Durant-less Warriors team. Everyone knew they would be good, but down the line, come playoff-time, Golden State would be very unpredictable. The Spurs had a returning Pau Gasol and a team full of veterans who know how to win. But now, this injury to Aldridge has thrown everything up in the air. Perhaps it even brings Houston into the mix, but let’s not get ahead of ourselves. The Spurs and Warriors look set for a two-horse race to the finish line.
How Can the Warriors Recover?
A two-game losing streak is a bad sign, but not something to panic about. If the “Splash Brothers” rediscover their form and solve their shooting woes, Kerr’s team should be fine. Draymond Green will be key, as the passionate defensive specialist needs to find last season’s game. Green could be the difference between winning and losing without Durant. This team has the star power and talent to dominate and kill off the Spurs’ attempts to take control of the West.
The two teams face off tonight, in a battle which will see both without their stars. The Warriors announced on Friday that Curry, Thompson, Green, and Andre Iguodala will all sit out the visit to San Antonio due to rest. That’s in addition to Durant missing the game, of course. This, on top of Aldridge’s injury, as well as Leonard sitting out because of the NBA’s concussion protocol, will make fans miss out on seeing a great deal of talent. All in all, tonight’s game should still be competitive, and one of extreme importance in the standings.