OAKLAND -- The reinvigorated Warriors may have picked an excellent time to run into the San Antonio Spurs.
The reigning Western Conference champions will return to Oracle Arena on Thursday night, playing on back-to-back nights on the road, without injured point guard Tony Parker (shin contusion).
But don't try selling any softened Spurs scenario to Warriors coach Mark Jackson.
"With no Parker, it makes a difference, but they still find ways to execute and hurt you," Jackson said. "Kory Joseph had success against us in the playoffs. Patty Mills can disrupt the game. He has a scoring mentality. They added (Marco) Belinelli, so they've got guys that know how to win ballgames.
"It's still going to be a challenge for our defense and us overall."
The Warriors got their mojo back in a 104-93 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Tuesday, as David Lee became David Lee again with 21 points and 17 rebounds, and Andre Iguodala returned triumphantly from a 12-game absence after suffering a strained left hamstring. Klay Thompson helped limit Eric Gordon to five points on 1-for-9 shooting in 24 minutes, employing what Jackson called "elite defense."
Moreover, Stephen Curry continued his electrifying run with 28 points and 12 assists. The pieces all fit together, just as they did during an 8-3 start to the season before Iguodala went down.
"Really good team effort," Iguodala said. "We moved the ball really well, but at the same time Steph was in a really good rhythm within the flow of the game. It was really helpful when we defend the ball like we do, and when we move the ball and he's able to attack without having to force everything.
"Everything was just comfortable, in a rhythm. You could tell he was in his comfort zone, and the same with David Lee."
Iguodala started and managed two points in 17 minutes, but his presence relaxed the team, seemingly giving it a license to succeed.
"We played our brand of basketball," Jackson said. "But at the same time, I don't want to minimize the impact Andre has. He has a calming effect, a high basketball IQ. Pushes everybody down another notch, so now the bench is stronger. So it's a combination of us playing defense and offense the way we're capable of playing, taking care of the basketball and having him back."
A clutch player who dictates much of the Spurs' offense, Parker is averaging 17.4 points a game on 51.4 percent shooting.
"It's going to impact the game a lot," Warriors backup forward Marreese Speights said of Parker's absence. "But at the end of the day, we're all NBA players, so they've got somebody that's going to come from the bench and take his spot and come out and do the same, or even bring more energy than he does."
Consider Parker's absence to represent a push in the rivalry.
The Warriors last faced the Spurs without Curry, who sat out a 76-74 loss Nov. 8 with a bone bruise in his left ankle. It marked San Antonio's 30th straight regular-season home win over the Warriors.
The Spurs also bounced the Warriors in six games in the Western Conference semifinals in May, with a closeout 94-82 triumph at Oracle.
Jackson looks at Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili and the Spurs with reverence, especially their coach, Gregg Popovich.
"They've got a great coach, an all-time great coach, and a bunch of guys that are gonna be in the Hall of Fame," Jackson said. "They know how to play. It's business as usual. They find ways to win ballgames, and they don't make mistakes. No matter who's in uniform or who's not in uniform, they're still the San Antonio Spurs, and you've got to make sure that you have the right mindset.
"It's going to be a challenge, and it's going to be a great opportunity for us to build on the momentum that we started (Tuesday) night."
Iguodala had no trouble running or jumping on Tuesday, his only two points came on a dunk, but he went easy on the cutting. Jackson said he'll determine how to proceed with Iguodala after talking with him Thursday.
"Still gauging it," Iguodala said. "Being smart when I'm playing but also being effective. Slowly but surely trying to get back to 100 percent."
Asked if he is worried about how his hamstring would react to abrupt lateral movement, Iguodala said, "Couple times, but everything felt good, so it all worked out."
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San Antonio (20-5)
at Warriors (14-12),
7:30 p.m. CSNBA, TNT