The San Antonio Spurs, without Kawhi Leonard, knocked off James Harden and the Houston Rockets and will advance to the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors. This is a match-up we have been waiting two years for as these were the two best teams in the West last year as well. Of course, things are lot different now with Tim Duncan retiring, Harrison Barnes moving to the Mavericks and some guy named Kevin Durant coming to the Warriors.
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|San Antonio Spurs vs Golden State Warriors – Western Conference Finals|
|Sun 5/14||San Antonio Spurs (Series)||+800|
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An interesting thing to see going forward will be whether or not Steve Kerr is able to coach in this series. The difference between Mike Brown and Steve Kerr is huge and there is a chance that Greg Poppovich will really be able to take advantage of some of Brown’s decisions. For instance, there are times when the Warriors play without either Curry or Durant on the floor. That is cute and can work against the Jazz and the Blazers, but is not something that you want to do against San Antonio. Every possession matters with them.
The Spurs got a huge game six out of LaMarcus Aldridge and they’ll need that version of him to show up if they hope to have any chance in this series. I think the Spurs can create some problems with Aldridge going at Green with Kawhi guarding Durant. That still leaves the issue of what to do about Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, but that’s the kind of problems you have to answer when you are trying to beat the Warriors.
San Antonio took two out of three in the regular season from this team, but that record is a bit dubious. One win came on opening night and the other came with all the stars resting. The Warriors 110-98 win was the closest we saw of these two teams playing at full strength.
Golden State is the best team in the league for a reason, they are a big favorite like this for a reason. They have more talent than anybody in the league and more three-point shooting than anyone in the league. They have that, but they also have an elite level defense led by Draymond Green. If the Spurs want to have a chance in this series they’ll need big performances on the fringes. Manu Ginobili, Jonathon Simmons, Danny Green and Patty Mills will all need to step up big for them to have a fighting chance. I would never count the Spurs out and I think this will be a good series, but it’s hard to imagine anything stopping Golden State this season.
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