Two teams not rumored to be involved in major trade discussions on the eve of the deadline go at it on the court Wednesday night when the San Antonio Spurs battle the Golden State Warriors in Oakland, Calif.
The game pits franchises that have combined to win eight of the last 20 NBA championships, with the Spurs having captured four from 1999-2007 and a fifth in 2014, while the Warriors have taken three of the last four.
The Warriors (37-15) are favored to make it four titles in the last five years this season with a roster that features pending free agent Klay Thompson and potential free agent Kevin Durant, who can opt out of the final year of his deal this off-season.
In the meantime, the Warriors have won 12 of 13 games to attain the best record in the West, and, according to general manager Bob Myers, don't plan to be active before the Thursday trade deadline.
"It's hard to win a playoff game. It's hard to win a championship. That has to be our focus. That is our focus," Myers told the media earlier this week. "The good news is we're pretty healthy. We know who we are. I don't expect any big changes."
The Warriors made a change seven games ago when four-time All-Star center DeMarcus Cousins was added to the active roster after having spent almost a full calendar year rehabbing a ruptured Achilles tendon.
Cousins has played between 21 and 25 minutes a night after a 15-minute debut, and offered a friendly suggestion to coach Steve Kerr after Saturday's 115-101 win over the Los Angeles Lakers that he'd like to play more.
"Me and Steve are bumping heads with this minutes restriction," Cousins noted to reporters with a wide grin on his face. "It's a process and you go through it. We're still trying to figure it out and do what's best for me and my body. It (stinks), especially when you get involved in the game and your emotions are going. My emotions are always in the game. It just feels like every time I'm at that turning point of being myself, (I hear,) 'Let's go sit down on the sidelines.'"
Cousins was a full-time observer when the Warriors were beaten 104-92 in San Antonio in November. Stephen Curry and Draymond Green also missed the contest, the first of three times the Warriors and Spurs will meet this season.
The only Golden State home game among the three will be Wednesday's, and it couldn't come at a more opportune time for the Warriors.
They have had three days of rest since the home win over the Lakers on Saturday, while the Spurs (32-23) began their annual "Rodeo Trip" -- and eight-gamer this season -- with a 127-112 loss in Sacramento on Monday night.
With Golden State, Portland and Utah ahead over the course of just four days, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich's message to his team was: Any team good enough already to have beaten the likes of Golden State, Denver, Toronto and Philadelphia is good enough to beat anybody, "Rodeo Trip" or no "Rodeo Trip."
"Some nights we're really good," he observed to reporters after the game in Sacramento, "and some nights we're not so good. We're still not consistent."
--Field Level Media
Spurs continue 'Rodeo Trip' against rolling Warriors