The Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs are both having historic seasons and are on a remarkable pace of wins since the beginning of the season. For the first time this season, we’re going to see how they matchup next to each other.
The Spurs will be playing without Duncan, but in their 13 game win-streak, he missed out on four of these games. Rest or minor injury, it doesn’t matter. When you’re this old (in basketball terms), everyday on the basketball court is something of a miracle. The Spurs will counter that by giving Boris Diaw and David West more minutes, which means another chance for the Spurs to prove that they have the best bench in the NBA, and maybe it can dent the Warriors incredibly difficult to breach armor.
The Warriors might not be on such a long streak (only three consecutive wins), but in a season of 40-4 so far, it feels like one long half a season of almost unstoppable winning. Their last three wins seem to be something of a proving point for them after questions were raised following their two losses in three games, unthinkable considering how good they’ve been up to this point. They’ve won all three games while scoring 122 points or more in each of them, while beating both the Chicago Bulls and Cleveland Cavaliers by more than 30 points on the road.
There’s not a shred of doubt these are the best teams in the NBA, with the numbers to back them up, not just the records. If you put their losses combined, they still have less than the East- best Cavaliers. The Warriors lead the NBA in offensive efficiency with 112.7 points per 100 possessions, while the Spurs are third with 108.8 points per 100 possessions. The rankings are switched when it comes to their defensive efficiency: The Spurs lead the NBA by giving up just 93.5 points per 100 possessions while the Warriors come third, holding teams to 99 points per 100 possessions. Do the math, and you’ll see the Spurs have the better net rating.
Tim Duncan has missed seven games this season, all wins for the Spurs. However, their opponents were a notch or two below what the Warriors present. The wins came against the Suns, Nuggets, Wizards, 76ers and Timberwolves. It doesn’t say anything about what the Spurs are going to look like in their first game against the Warriors this season, like whatever happens in this game says nothing about what happens when the Spurs and Warriors (if they do meet) clash in the playoffs.
So how does the first meeting end? It’ll be interesting to see which players the Spurs throw at Curry, or will it just be Tony Parker, and how Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green disrupt their passing. On the other end, the Spurs might force Andrew Bogut off the court with the lineups they’ll use, although that might be a good thing for the Warriors, “forcing” them into their deadly lineup that Draymond Green functions as the ‘5’ in.
In short, the two best teams in the NBA might give us a glimpse of the projected conference finals, even if it’ll be missing one if it’s most important components. Great basketball and a lot of points are probably going to be the result. And the score? It doesn’t matter as much as the level of basketball we’re going to see, probably the best the NBA has to offer us right now.