#2 San Antonio Spurs vs. #1 Golden State Warriors (-1600)
What if I told you a team that won 61 games in the regular season and finished with the 2nd best record in the entire NBA opened as a monumental 16 to 1 underdog in the Western Conference Finals? That is the task facing the San Antonio Spurs, who will take on the mighty Golden State Warriors for a berth in the NBA Finals. These two teams last met in the playoffs in 2013 when the Spurs beat the Warriors in 6 in the Western Conference Semifinals. Both of these teams have made the playoffs each year since then, but it took four years before we finally get the rematch.
The key to this series will be the two men pictured above. Kevin Durant came to the Warriors to win a championship, and he has been arguably their best player over the regular season and certainly in the postseason. KD’s defensive presence has a been key in helping the Warriors cruise to an 8-0 start in the playoffs this year. Meanwhile, MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard has been even better in the playoffs, averaging 28 PPG, 8 RPG, and 5 APG while carrying the Spurs past a tough Rockets game without Tony Parker. One of the best defender’s in the league will have to find a way to slow the formidable Golden State offense.
Apart from the two superstars, the supporting cast and bench is where the Warriors will have a massive advantage in this series. Stephen Curry is putting up 27 points and 6 assists per game as he aims to prove people wrong who criticized him during last year’s mediocre yet injury-riddled playoffs. Along with Klay Thompson, the Warriors backcourt will have a big advantage against a Tony Parker-less backcourt that will have to start some combination of Dejounte Murray, Patty Mills, and Jonathan Simmons. This means LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol will have to step up in the front court against Draymond Green and Zaza Pachulia. The fourth member of the Warriors “Big 4” has a been a triple double threat once again in these playoffs and rounds out a historically good starting 5 for the Warriors.
As if having a dominant starting starting lineup wasn’t enough, the Warriors also have a big advantage in this series with their bench. Shaun Livingston and 2015 NBA Finals MVP Andre Iguodala both provide a huge spark off the bench for the Warriors. Backup center Javale McGee has also been a nice pickup for the Warriors this season as well. Manu Ginobili, Patty Mills, and the rest of the Spurs second unit will have their hands full this series with the Warriors second unit. As a result, this could lead to some interesting lineups this series. Coach Gregg Popovich will have to find a way to throw out optimal lineups and show the Warriors as many different looks as possible if he wants to have a chance in this series. With Warriors coach Steve Kerr sidelined, coaching may be the Spurs only advantage.
The bottom line for this series, unless major injuries occur, is that the San Antonio Spurs have absolutely no chance to beat the Golden State Warriors. This Warriors team is on a mission to get revenge against the Cavaliers in the NBA Finals, and they have way too much talent not to do so. The Spurs may win a game because they are the Spurs and have the best coach in the NBA, but that’s about it. Warriors defeat Spurs in 5.
Let me know your prediction for this series in the comments down below.