The San Antonio Spurs have been a staple in the NBA playoffs under Gregg Popovich and they’ll again find themselves competing for an NBA title in the 2013 postseason.
Thanks to Tony Parker and Tim Duncan (what else is new?), the Spurs are yet again one of the Western Conference’s best squads, currently owning the second seed in the West and trailing the Oklahoma City Thunder by just a half-game for the No. 1 seed.
If San Antonio finishes the regular season as the No. 2 seed, it’s likely that it’ll face either the Houston Rockets or Golden State Warriors in the first round of the playoffs. The Rockets currently own the No. 7 seed—which would make them the Spurs’ opponent if the season ended today—but the Warriors have just a half-game lead over Houston with three games remaining.
While the battle of Texas teams would be an intriguing first-round matchup for the NBA, I think Golden State would be the most dangerous matchup for the Spurs.
San Antonio was 3-1 vs. Houston during the regular season, sporting an average margin of victory of 12 points and losing by just one point to the Rockets on March 24. I think Tony Parker has the edge over Jeremy Lin at the point, which would be the ultimate deciding factor in this matchup.
The Rockets are an extremely young team, and with the amount of veterans and experience the Spurs boast, this would be a fairly easy matchup for the Spurs.
The Warriors, on the other hand, would pose a much bigger threat to San Antonio’s title hopes if the two teams met in the first round.
San Antonio is 2-1 against Golden State this season, with one game remaining on Monday, April 15, and have an average margin of victory over the Warriors of 9.5 points. In the Spurs’ one loss to the Warriors this season—a 107-101 overtime thriller—all five San Antonio starters scored in double figures and saw Manu Ginobili come off the bench and score 18 points, but it wasn’t enough.
Steph Curry has emerged as one of the best shooters in the NBA—the best, according to former shooting great Reggie Miller—leading the league with 261 3-pointers made and boasting the third-highest percentage from beyond the arc (.453). If you saw the clinic Curry put on against the New York Knicks when he went 11-for-13 from 3-point range, then you know what the 25-year-old shooter is capable of.
As for David Lee, he leads the NBA in double-doubles with 54, averaging 18.5 points and 11.2 rebounds per game. The 6’9” power forward is the type of player who can get physical with Duncan in the paint on both offense and defense and we all know Duncan’s game is built on fundamentals and finesse, not banging bodies in the paint.
Ultimately, I believe the Warriors create the biggest problem for San Antonio as far as first round matchups go.
No matter who the Spurs get in the first round, I like them to advance and continue contending for their fifth championship.
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