Just eleven regular-season games remain for the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs, and they lead the NBA with the best records. The Warriors are the favorites to repeat as NBA champions this season, but do the Spurs have other plans?
Although the Warriors have been the most talked-about team this season, the Spurs only have four fewer wins than Golden State, with a record of 60-11. Not that the Warriors don’t deserve all the spotlight – they certainly do, since they are only eleven games away from topping the 1995-96 Chicago Bulls’ 72-10 record. Despite being one of the most experienced teams in the league, the Spurs have certainly been underestimated this season and deserve more recognition for their accomplishments.
Both teams have faced each other twice this season. In their first meeting on January 25, Golden State showed no bounds, dominating San Antonio with a 120-90 victory. In only 28 minutes of play, Stephen Curry scored a team-high 37 points while shooting 12-20 from the field.
Meanwhile, the Spurs struggled to overcome the Warriors’ defense. Golden State limited San Antonio to 41.9 percent shooting from the field, and dominated San Antonio on the boards with 45 rebounds compared to San Antonio’s 38. In the loss, Kawhi Leonard led San Antonio with only 16 points.
However, in their most recent meeting on March 19, the Spurs bounced back and limited the Warriors to only 25 percent shooting from long distance. San Antonio showed that they could make adjustments to the Warriors’ small ball, and they were able to come up with an 87-79 victory in Tim Duncan’s absence.
In a losing effort, Klay Thompson led the Warriors in scoring with just 15 points on 7-for-20 shooting from the field. Curry also struggled in shooting, finishing with only 14 points on 4-for-18 shooting from the field.
Of course, the regular season performance doesn’t necessarily predict the team’s outcome in playoffs. Golden State showed complete dominance in the two teams’ first meeting, while Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich was able to devise a way for the Spurs to overcome the Warriors’ style of play for the second meeting. The Warriors and Spurs will face each other two more times before the postseason, on April 7 in Oakland, and April 10 in San Antonio.
Both teams are likely going to meet in the Western Conference Finals. It will certainly be a thrill for fans to watch, and the series may even extend to the full seven games.
Who will come out on top in the West to earn a place in the NBA Finals – the Spurs or the Warriors? Only time will tell.