With the sixth-seeded Golden State Warriors surprisingly dominating the third-seeded Denver Nuggets 3-1 in their best of seven series, it’s time to start thinking about a potential Warriors/Spurs matchup in the second round.
I think most San Antonio Spurs fans would rather see Golden State than Denver, but there are definitely pros and cons to meeting the Warriors next round if it shakes out that way for the Spurs in the second round.
After a matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers and having to battle hard down in the post against two talented 7-footers in Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol, the Warriors will come as a relief to the Spurs’ big men. With David Lee out, Golden State really only has one big man that plays legitimate minutes, Andrew Bogut. Bogut is a true center but he may even be on a minutes restriction because he can be fragile at times. Carl Landry is listed as a power forward, but he’s only 6’9”. Most of the time the Warriors play small ball, which could prove a big advantage for the Spurs. If San Antonio wants to go with a bigger lineup, it may force the Warriors to give additional, unwanted minutes to their post players, which could cause problems.
The Warriors haven’t made the playoffs since 2007, and they’re a young team now. That means that a lot of their guys are seeing their first playoff action ever. Their coach, Mark Jackson, is in his first postseason as well. To their credit, they haven’t looked so inexperienced in their opening round series against the Nuggets, but Denver is a young team as well. The Spurs and Coach Gregg Popovich would be an ideal team to take advantage.
Aside from the notable injury to David Lee that knocked him out of the rest of the playoffs, many of the Warriors are dealing with minor ailments that have them playing at less than 100%. If you only watched the highlights from Game 4 of the Nuggets/Warriors series, you probably think Stephen Curry was unstoppable from start to finish, but actually his first half was rather unimpressive. Jackson even said he considered pulling Curry from the game at halftime because his ankle was bothering him so much. Several other players on the roster are dealing with bumps and bruises as well.
Shooters, shooters, shooters
The Warriors starting backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson is being called the best shooting duo of all time by some. If you haven’t seen it, you need to watch the third quarter of Sunday’s game. It’s one of the greatest shooting displays of all time. Curry was on fire and just couldn’t be stopped. Not only that, but a lot of the shots he took were open looks because Denver couldn’t get the perimeter defenders on him. The Spurs didn’t really have to play any perimeter defense in the first round because none of the Lakers could shoot from the outside. That won’t be the case if they face the Warriors. All the guards will have to be outstanding at closing out on the three-pointers and preventing as many open looks as possible, because if you give these guys a couple inches, they’ll make you pay.
Home sweet home
Going into the postseason, I was worried about the Spurs having to go to Denver because the Nuggets were almost unbeatable at home this season. Now Oakland seems much worse. Warrior fans come to every game ready to blow the roof off Oracle Arena. If you remember the last time Golden State made the playoffs, they were an eight-seed that took down the top seeded Dallas Mavericks. Just watching them play at home during that series was a sight to see. That has not changed and for Games 3 and 4 of the series against the Spurs, you can bet the crowd is going to play a huge factor.
What do you think Spurs fans? What are your pros and cons on the Warriors? Maybe you rather have San Antonio face Denver?