Game One of the Warriors and Spurs showed us a few things. First, that the Warriors are not invincible and that a good defensive team who can contest their shots, control tempo by taking good shots on the other end, and mix in a little cold shooting luck from the Dubs, can beat them. Even in Golden State.
But, sadly for fans of competitive basketball, it also showed us how vital Kawhi Leonard is to this series. He is the heart and soul of the most efficient defense in the NBA and he has become easily the Spurs best offensive player as well. His leaving of the game with an injury was the exact moment the 18-0 run started for the Warriors that propelled them back in to the game; a game that eventually ended as one of the largest second half comeback victories in NBA Playoff history.
For all the drama and theatrics, the Warriors held serve in Game One and are now 14-point favorites against the Kawhi-less Spurs in Game Two.
Can this thing even be a contest? Houston learned a thing or two about underestimating the Spurs without their star. Could the Warriors be seduced into the same trap tonight???
Today’s NBA Pick:
San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors -14
I don’t think San Antonio can win this game. But I also think they won’t be as inept without Kawhi as they looked Sunday because they have had two day with Coach Pop to regroup and refocus (as well as devise a brand new game plan). Could this be the night that the coaching mismatch finally pays some dividends for the Spurs against the Warriors who are without Steve Kerr? If anyone in the NBA can pull a rabbit out a seemingly empty hat, it is Coach Pop.
But it won’t be easy. The Spurs are already at a slight talent deficit in this series and are already attempting to do the unthinkable; dethrone the team with the best three-year record in NBA history. Game One was impressive and horrifying at the same time when taken in totality. But I’m clinging to the “impressive” part in backing the Spurs. I just can’t lay 14 points in an NBA game between two teams as good as these.
Can the Spurs win? Unlikely. There is a reason the Warriors are all the way to -2200 to win the series; and unprecedented number for a team playing a 60-win team with just a 1-0 lead. They are the clearly better team. But I have paid twice in a row for underestimating the Spurs and am not getting burnt a third time. I’ll take the fat pile of points and assume Pop can drum up something to keep this game interesting tonight.
Today’s NBA Pick: SAN ANTONIO SPURS +14