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Golden State To Host San Antonio For The First Time in the WCF; Preview & Predictions

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Welcome to the Western Conference Finals… Not only is this the WCF, but this is probably the most highly anticipated Conference Finals of all time. So excuse my first welcome and welcome my second welcome. Welcome to the Warriors vs the Spurs conference finals!

First off let’s all thank the basketball gods for this great matchup we are about to receive. To nourish our mind with competition and fight. Thank for how you have blessed us thus far and blessed the hands that shoot?

This is the first time the Warriors and the Spurs will meet in the playoffs since 2013 playoffs where the Spurs notched the Warriors in 6 games. Back then the Warriors were and not well established. They were very much a 3 or nothing team.

Mark Jackson; former coach of the Warriors, led the team to the number 6 seed in 47 wins. Led by a young Stephen Curry they fought hard but not hard enough as Curry would suffer an ankle injury. Curry averaged nearly 23 points, 6.8 assists and 1.2 steals. After Curry dropped 44 in game 1 he never really seemed to back down from the challenge the Spurs presented. He hasn’t been shy of the 2xDPOY either.
That was the past though. This is a rejuvenated Golden State Warriors team who has won a championship, won 67+ games in the last 3 season and just picked up Kevin Durant in free agency on a 2 year 57 million dollar contract.

Klay Thompson has established himself as a top if not the top shooting guard in the league. Whereas Draymond Green could make an argument to be the best PF in the league. So without further ado, here are the preview and predictions this long awaited series.

Ever since the 2013 playoffs Stephen Curry has put his mark on the NBA. With his unique shooting form that happens to provide the best shot in NBA history, a crossover that arguably might be the best, and his status as the best point guard for the past 3 seasons; winning 2 MVPs, but it has rubbed opponents the wrong way and made him a sworn enemy for all of the NBA.

Which makes Kevin Durant the perfect fit in Golden State. Draymond Green; who is probably the most hated player in the NBA with equivalence to Curry, Klay Thompson who doesn’t say much but gets criticized for his quiet demeanor. These 4 players make a 4 headed monster that people love to hate.

As for these Spurs? They never go out without a fight. Playing without Kawhi Leonard in Game 6, the Spurs showed they are still better than everyone else even without their superstar in Leonard. They shut down James Harden, forcing him to 10 points and 6 TOs.

We have been robbed of this Warriors and Spurs throw down since the Warriors shocked everyone with their championship season. The Spurs were eliminated by the Rockets during Golden States run to the Finals. Last season they were eliminated by the Thunder in a controversial series that ended in 6 games. Before that, the Warriors didn’t even make it to the 2nd round.

Now? Now they will face off in the WCF with a battle for the ages. Stephen Curry is ready to reclaim his throne as the best player on the planet after falling short in game 7 in the finals last year. Kevin Durant looks to shut the mouth of ex-fans, critics, and former teammates.

Kawhi Leonard will play in this round after suffering an ankle injury in the semifinals which resulted in him not playing. But that didn’t stop the Spurs from blowing out James Harden’s Rockets. That’s the resilience of this Spurs team. You get a 40 point win without the star of the team.

Lamarcus Aldridge has rejuvenated himself into the old 25 and 15 big man he is. His post up and face up jump shot is a threat and a pick your poison. If you push up on him he’ll back you down; if you give him space he’ll shoot that 20 footer over your head. Draymond Green will probably be the designated Aldridge stopper for this series which will be a clash of a great lowpost offense against a great low post defense.

Danny Green will probably be assigned to Stephen Curry and Kawhi Leonard to Kevin Durant. The clash of the titans is in this series for sure. Patty Mills has reinvented his self into the perfect scorer and facilitator off the bench. Tony Parker will not be apart of this series due to a season ending injury in the 2nd round, but Dejounte Murray will be in his place. He showed great promise for a future point guard for the Spurs in the last series as Parker’s backup.

The Warriors biggest test will be Gregg Popovich and themselves. The Warriors need to rely on your ball movement and Stephen Curry’s P&R Offense which works better with the Durant-Curry P&R. It opens up corner shots and top of the key shots off penetration but also Stephen Curry wing three when opponents leave their big man on an island.

A healthy Curry could be the difference in this series and the rest of these playoffs. He’s average 27 points in these playoffs to go along with 6 assist and 5.3 rebounds. Klay Thompson hasn’t yet put his mark on any series but has shown glimpses of stardom. If Curry &a Thompson can be splash brothers in unison then this series will take a complete turn for the better for Golden State.

If the Warriors can manage turnovers and boneheaded three they can keep the Spurs stagnant. As seen in previous series, the Spurs don’t have a steady offense anymore. When you should down the middle and keep perimeter defenders close you shake their offense. The length of the Warriors, with a 6’3 lanky Curry, a 6’7 elite defender in Thompson, Kevin Durant’s length inside being 7 feet tall with a 7’5 wingspan, and let’s not forget McGee and Iguodola off the bench.

The Warriors have pretty legit chance close this series fast if they play their brand of basketball and can successful shut down 3 of the Spurs offensive weapons: Kawhi Leonard, Lamarcus Aldridge in the post, Manu Ginobili was a threat in himself.

Last series in game 6 Johnathan Simmons became a serious offensive threat but can he keep it up? He was never a threat so was his performance just adrenaline or skill? Many questions are to be answered for this series but the biggest one is… can the Warriors advance?

Game 1 3:30pm on ABC – Sunday

Game 2 9:00pm on ESPN – Tuesday

Game 3 9:00pm on ESPN – Saturday May 20th Warriors @ Spurs

Game 4 9:00pm on ESPN – Monday May 22nd Warriors @Spurs

Game 5 9:00pm on ESPN – Wednesday May 24th Spurs @ Warriors *if necessary

Game 6 9:00pm on ESPN – Friday May 26th Warriors @ Spurs *if necessary

Game 7 9:00pm on ESPN – Sunday May 28th Spurs @ Warriors *if necessary

About Jhalil Matthews

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