Editorial by Graydon Fox
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On Saturday, April 14th, the #7 seed San Antonio Spurs will take on the #2 seed Golden State Warriors in the first game of their Western Conference Playoff Series.
“The Crowd” is projecting a final score of Warriors 111.5 – Spurs 105.5 with an over/under of 217.0.
Statistical Breakdown (2017-18 season):
Point differential: Warriors +6.0 (3rd) > Spurs +2.9 (8th)
Points per game: Warriors 113.5 (1st) > Spurs 102.7 (27th)
Points allowed per game: Spurs 99.8 (1st) > Warriors 107.5 (18th)
Field Goal Percentage Offense: Warriors 50.3% (1st) > Spurs 45.7% (16th)
Three Point Percentage: Warriors 39.1% (1st) > Spurs 35.2% (25th)
Field Goal Percentage Defense: Warriors 44.7% (3rd) > Spurs 45.3% (8th)
Turnovers committed per game: Spurs 12.7 (4th) > Warriors 15.0 (26th)
Turnovers forced per game: Spurs 13.6 (14th) > Warriors 13.5 (19th)
Rebounds per game: Spurs 44.2 (11th) > Warriors 43.5 (17th)
Assists per game: Warriors 29.3 (1st) > Spurs 22.8 (15th)
Golden State struggled down the stretch going (10-10) in March and April to finish out the season. The Warriors are top heavy and much of their poor play had to do with injuries to every one of their star players. Golden State will be without Stephen Curry (26.4 PPG and 6.1 APG) for the entire series against San Antonio. Still Golden State has three All-Stars in Kevin Durant (26.4 PPG, 6.8 RPG, and 5.4 APG), Klay Thompson (20.0 PPG), and Draymond Green (11.0 PPG, 7.6 RPG, and 7.3 APG). The Warriors unstoppable offense led the league in scoring, assists, and three-point percentage. Quinn Cook (9.5 PPG) has done a nice job filling in for Curry but comes nowhere close to replicating his productivity. The once vaunted Warriors bench ranks 23rd in scoring (33.0 PPG) and has really fallen off with the declining play of Andre Iguodala and Shaun Livingston. Golden State has championship pedigree and one of the best coaches in the NBA in Steve Kerr but will Curry’s injury be too much to overcome? The Warriors average 113.9 points per game (1st) and allow 107.5 (18th).
San Antonio finished the season going just (5-5) in their final ten games. The Spurs have been without their star Kawhi Leonard (16.2 PPG) for all but seven games this season and his status for the playoffs is questionable. With a healthy Leonard and a banged-up Curry, the Spurs would have a real shot to dethrone the Warriors but it seems doubtful Kawhi will return. Greg Popovich has once again proven why he is the best coach in the NBA guiding his team to a (47-35) with the least talented team he’s had in years. San Antonio’s stingy defense led the league in fewest points allowed but they really struggled to score the ball. The Spurs do have a healthy all-star in LaMarcus Aldridge (23.1 PPG and 8.5 RPG) who is easily having his best season since his Portland days. The Spurs have a strong collection of veteran role players but they lack players who can create offense. The Spurs did rank 4th in the league in bench scoring (41.8 PPG). The Spurs average 102.7 points per game (27th) and allow 99.8 (1st).
Golden State is (29-12) at home this season while San Antonio is (14-27) on the road. The Warriors are (3-1) against the Spurs this season winning both games at Oracle. The X-factor in this series is if Kawhi Leonard can return healthy but he has given zero indication that he plans on playing. Curry’s injury certainly weakens a juggernaut Warriors team but they have more than enough offense to overpower a Spurs team that can’t score.
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