Just who actually takes the floor for the San Antonio Spurs when they battle the Atlanta Hawks on Monday at the AT&T Center in San Antonio won't likely be known until the final hours before tip-off.
The Spurs (51-14) were without four injured players, including starting forwards Kawhi Leonard (concussion protocol) and LaMarcus Aldridge (minor heart arrhythmia) and guard Tony Parker (back stiffness) on Saturday but still waylaid the reeling and shorthanded Golden State Warriors 107-85 in a game between the top two teams in the NBA and the Western Conference.
The blowout win was mitigated by the fact that the Warriors rested four players, guards Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, forward Draymond Green and key reserve guard Andre Iguodala, and that forward Kevin Durant is still out indefinitely with a knee injury.
"It's a win we're going to accept and keep but it wasn't a fair fight," San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich said. "They're Golden State -- their top four or five players weren't there, if anybody didn't notice. We're supposed to win a basketball game like that, and we focused and we did it -- we did our job."
Of the three, expect Parker to be ready to play on Monday. Leonard is doing well in his run-up to a return and could be available against the Hawks, but there is no specific timetable on Aldridge's return.
The victory was San Antonio's second of the season against Golden State, brought the Spurs within a half-game of Golden State for the league's best record and garnered San Antonio the edge in any tiebreaker between the teams if they are all-square at the end of the year.
The Spurs got 21 points from Patty Mills in the victory while Davis Bertans and Kyle Anderson added 13 points each in the blowout. David Lee scored 12 points and Pau Gasol had 10 for San Antonio.
Mills said the Spurs tried to be aggressive against Golden State's reserves, especially at the start of the game.
"For me personally, the aggressive mindset needs to be there no matter who's on the court or who's not," Mills said. "That's something we've been trying to focus on a little bit more as we move to the end of the regular season and heading into the playoffs. Everyone is one the same page and understand what we are trying to do."
Atlanta heads to the Alamo City after a 107-90 victory in Memphis on Saturday in which Taurean Prince scored a career-high 17 points, Paul Millsap had 16 points and 11 rebounds and Dennis Schroder added 16 points to lead the Hawks.
After pulling away from the Grizzlies late in the first quarter behind a 12-0 run, the Hawks were never threatened. They led 33-15 after the first quarter and spent the remainder of the game -- except for a brief period before the half -- enjoying double-digit leads that eventually reached 26 points.
"We just kept our foot on the gas," said Hawks swingman Kent Bazemore, who added 15 points for Atlanta. "Our defensive intensity stayed where it needed to be and we kept getting stops and eventually our shots starting falling again and we pulled away."
Atlanta center Dwight Howard was held out for rest on Saturday in what was the second game of a back-to-back after the Hawks beat Toronto 105-99 on Friday night in Atlanta, clinching the tiebreaker between the two teams. Atlanta and the Raptors. Howard missed his sixth game this season and his third for scheduled rest.
The Hawks (37-29) won their third straight overall and was the third straight over Memphis. The teams meet again in Atlanta on March 16.
"We settled for a lot of jumpers in the second quarter and we weren't driving the ball," Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. "At halftime, one of the messages was to drive more and move the ball more. In the third quarter, Baze got a couple of looks and got a couple of drives and Dennis found some open guys. I think that was the difference."
The Hawks beat San Antonio 114-112 in overtime in Atlanta on New Year's Day in the first meeting this season between the two teams. The Spurs have defeated Atlanta 18 straight times in San Antonio, dating back to a 109-89 loss in 1997 at the Alamodome. The Hawks have never won at the AT&T Center, the Spurs' current home.