NBA Western Conference Finals Preview
Spurs vs Warriors
The top seeded Golden State Warriors will face off with the 2nd seed San Antonio Spurs for the right to represent the Western Conference in the NBA finals. The 2 teams share a few similarities but for the most part are two different styles of play that should result in a great series.
Keys to the series,
The Warriors have the most dominant guard combination in league history with Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant all 20+ points per game scorers capable of taking the game over at any time. It took a while for the three stars to learn to play together however over the final weeks of the season they all appeared ready to go and their 8-0 record thus far in the playoffs is evidence of their dominance. Throw in backup Shaun Livingston and the Warriors feature 4 guards who can get their own shot, defend their position, and get the team into their offense.
The Spurs will be without experienced point guard Tony Parker who went down with an injury in the previous series. Backup Patty Mills has assumed the starting role and while he lacks Parker’s experience and savvy, he is a superior outside shooter who will keep the defense honest. Playoff veteran Danny Green had a disappointing regular season but stepped up big while hitting several clutch shots against the Rockets in the previous series. He is a strong defender and shooter. Manu Ginobili is the oldest player in the NBA and yet found a way to turn back the clock against the Rockets including a game deciding blocked shot in the final seconds of game 5. His experience and determination seem to outweigh Father time. Second year point guard Dejounte Murray has picked up some of Parkers minutes and performed admirably.
Leonard missed the end of game 5 and sat out game 6 with a leg injury. While the Spurs were able to rally to beat the Rockets they stand no chance against the Warriors without a healthy and productive Leonard. Expect Durant to start on him defensively with both Andre Igudola and Draymond Green taking turns as his primary defender. If healthy this should be a fantastic series. If he is limited the series will be a sweep.
The Warriors play a brand of basketball that has never been played at this level while the Spurs play a more traditional lineup. They play the opposite of “small ball” with Pau Gasol and Lamarcus Aldridge starting in the frontcourt. This will give the Spurs a size advantage at all times and it will be interesting to see how the Warriors handle their size. Top notch defender Draymond Green cant defend two players at once and even when he is matched up with one of the Spurs big men he will be at a size disadvantage. If the Spurs are going to pull off this upset they are going to need to dominate the interior which they are fully capable of doing.
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