The Inevitable Western Conference Finals Outcome
Unfortunate injuries and amazing ability to create scoring chances by the Warriors has put the Spurs in a place they don’t want to be.
With the Spurs being in a 2–0 hole after game two of the Western Conference Finals it’s appearing that many of people’s thoughts are coming true whether they like it or not- The Golden State Warriors are going to move on to the NBA Finals. An unfortunate aggravated injury to Kawhi Leonard (not to mention Tony Parker being out) and the Warriors impeccable ability to create scoring chances has put the San Antonio Spurs in a sticky spot.
Warriors Abilities Possibly too Good to Stop
The Warriors players abilities to flip a switch and have an amazing game one day and then an average game the next puts them above all. Steph Curry put up 40 points, 7 rebounds, 3 steals and 3 assists in game one and then 29 points, 3 steals, 7 rebounds, 7 assists in game two. The latter not as good, but still something many teams wish they had players doing every game. To add to that, so far the adding of veteran star Kevin Durant during free agency is proving great for the Warriors. KD has averaged 23.8 points, 7 rebounds, and 3.6 assists per game let alone excellent 30+ point games throughout the playoffs. Not to mention Draymond Green providing quality defense with 8.9 rebounds, 2 steals and 2 blocks per game. This is all previously known that the Warriors typically have a good starting crew and that the Warriors typically have a lot going for them. In recent years their bench is one of those things. Whether small or big, the Warriors have consistently had players who can step up each and every game, especially key playoff games (I.e. Patrick McCaw, Shaun Livingston, Ian Clark, all of which put up 10 or more points in game 2 and have held their own throughout the playoffs). Unfortunately or fortunately depending on who you are going for, the Warriors are showing no signs of slowing down.
Credit: Yahoo Sports
Spurs show Promise, but Setbacks are Adding Challenge
Now the Spurs are in no way a bad team and everybody knows that. Their bench is almost as good, and at times can be just as good as the Warriors and their usual starters all have a good amount of experience. With people like rookie Dejounte Murray, and Jonathon Simmons stepping up and showing they can be fairly high caliber players and to an extent be key pieces in helping the Spurs at least try to contend. Also with LaMarcus Aldridge averaging 17 points and 7 rebounds per game and Pau Gasol averaging 6.9 points and 6.8 rebounds per game adds quality in the front-court. Truly, in the end of the “Spurs contending” conversations the arguments of the terribly timed injury to Tony Parker and the aggravation of Kawhi Leonard’s ankle injury are always going to come up. When you take into account Leonard’s top notch defense, and ability to hit great shots whether they are needed or not, it does show that the Spurs are losing a pivotal piece of their team on both sides of the court. Tony Parker was also a key piece to the offense, averaging 15.9 PPG before he went down, and providing the veteran experience when needed, something that every team needs and the Spurs are no newcomers to having veteran experience. It is a tough spot to be in against such a great team, but anything can happen when the great Gregg Popovich is your coach.
The Inevitable Outcome
In the end I want to say the Spurs can pull it off and win the series. I do believe this is possible but it involves top caliber play by all players on the Spurs every game at least while Leonard is out. The Spurs’ chances to win the series are higher if Kawhi Leonard can comeback in the next game or two and not have any major problems with his ankle. However I think we are going to see the Warriors in the NBA Finals for the third straight year. The Warriors are playing at a level that at times has proved unstoppable. The creation of what seems like endless scoring chances and quality of play on the defensive end only leads you to know the Warriors are bound to go to the finals whether you want them to or not.
(Stats via ESPN and Basketball-reference.com)