NBA: Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs

Gameday Q&A: Spurs vs. Warriors

The San Antonio Spurs have won 12 straight games, the longest streak in the NBA this year. Golden State is riding a three-game winning streak of their own, and they are 8-2 in their last 10 games.

Something has to give.

I discussed tonight’s Spurs-Warriors matchup with Jacob Greenberg. Greenberg, a Warriors fan at heart, writes about basketball for The Diss. Give him a follow on Twitter (@jacobjbg).

QR: The Warriors’ defense is only behind Indiana and Chicago, while their offense, 3-point bombs aside, sits 12th in the NBA. Is this a legitimate issue?

JG: A legitimate issue to throw a victory parade for, maybe. Until last year, the Warriors were never known as a defensive outfit. Our defense, which was already pretty good last year, took another step forward with a healthier Andrew Bogut and the addition of Andre Iguodala. To have a top three defense seems almost unreal.

As for our offense, it is a concern, considering the cold stretches the Warriors sometimes endure. However, given that scoring typically drops in the playoffs, as does pace, I feel much better entering the playoffs with an elite-level defense and an offense that is superior to roughly 75% of the league than the other way around.

 

QR: Hollinger’s odds give Golden State a 6.5 percent chance at reaching the Finals. Can you envision a scenario where this happens? And how would it work?

JG: Common wisdom says that a Finals run is unlikely. It’s not necessarily that I think the Warriors don’t have the talent to win any seven-game series against a Western opponent — I somewhat subjectively think they do — but rather that I think their seeding isn’t favorable. The Warriors are already facing a tough first round series against either the Clippers (if they finish 6th), or the Rockets (if they finish 5th).

As Warriors fans found out last year, being a lower seed allows for a far smaller margin of error in terms of giving away playoff games, because you won’t have the benefit of home games at the end of the series. We found that out the hard way last year against your Spurs, when we were unable to close out the Game One upset. I’m not sure the Warriors can be thought of as legit Finals contenders unless they secure a top-four seed. History shows us that being an underdog is fun, but it rarely ever leads anywhere much further than the second round, at least in the NBA.

QR: Who is the most important player on the Warriors? Stephen Curry? Andrew Bogut? Andre Iguodala? I’m asking, because I’m not sure. (Though I’d lean towards Curry.)

JG: I don’t want to diminish the contributions of Bogut and Iguodala, who have transformed the Warriors into a certified defensive unit. We wouldn’t be thought of as a dark horse Finals candidate without them, and as a fan I am really happy they’re playing on my team.

But with that said, the Warriors’ rise to prominence is completely related to Stephen Curry. The Warriors would likely be about as good if another high-level point guard was leading the team, but it wouldn’t have that same Warriors-ness that this team (and last year’s team) has. In many ways, he is our Tim Duncan. A team lead by Parker and Ginobili would still be pretty good, and would be competitive in most games. But they wouldn’t be the Spurs; Timmy means that much. Steph has that sort of cache among Warriors fans. He’s our first bona fide franchise player; he makes this entire thing possible.

QR: Prediction for tonight’s game?

JG: If Bogut and Iguodala play, it should be close. The Warriors always seem to want to bring it against the Spurs, and the playoff loss last year, plus the embarrassing home loss to the Spurs’ dangerous bench earlier this season, might be fresh in the guys’ minds.
Quixem Ramirez

About Quixem Ramirez

Quixem Ramirez is the sports editor for the University Star, the content editor for Toros Nation, and a staff writer for Project Spurs. He enjoys basketball and pie -- sometimes in that order.

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