The Golden State Warriors have advanced to the Western Conference Semi-Finals and their reward for defeating the Denver Nuggets is the San Antonio Spurs.
With San Antonio having a week off to prepare and rest for the upcoming round, they'll need a specific game plan and adjustments when they face the Warriors. Game 1 will be this Monday in San Antonio where the Warriors have lost 29-games in a row.
San Antonio will have to make adjustments against Golden State, who play a completely different style of basketball compared to the Spurs' first round foes in the Los Angeles Lakers. These are the 3 keys to the Spurs winning the second round and eliminating the Warriors.
Make the Warriors a 2-point team
With David Lee's injury and the Warriors moving Harrison Barnes as the starting power forward, Golden State's 3-point shooting has made them a dangerous playoff opponent. Barnes' play at the 4 position helps spread the floor for the team and forces opponents to make a decision to play up on him and contest the shot or play back because of his athleticism. He's also helped his teammates get good looks from beyond the arc too with these percentages so far this postseason.
Harrison Barnes 46%
Stephen Curry 42%
Klay Thompson 41%
Jarrett Jack 33%
These shooters are going to play a huge role for the Warriors if they choose to advance. San Antonio's defense and adjustments against their 3-point shooting will be key for the Spurs to advance to the Western Conference Finals.
Switching The Defense
The San Antonio Spurs have been known to switch their players on defense in the past, especially with Spurs' legend Bruce Bowen when he was on the team. This series shouldn't be any different in that the Spurs should try to get a huge advantage by giving the Warriors an unexpected look from their defense. With the Warriors starting two point guards in Stephen Curry and Jarrett Jack, don't be surprised to see Spurs coach Gregg Popovich put a taller and longer defender on Stephen Curry while moving Tony Parker to guarding Jarrett Jack.
With Danny Green or Kawhi Leonard (or both throughout the game) moving over to guard the sharpshooting Stephen Curry on the defensive end, this may force the Warriors to depend on their other players and also will have to likely create for themselves. This is likely to get Golden State in a rut during the game since they're used to the offense going through Curry and his shots opening up the paint for them.
With everyone keeping on their man and defending the pick and roll with longer athletic players, the Spurs will force the Warriors to rely mostly on mid range jumpers or contested layups. The switching on defense may also cause the Warriors to play a totally different scheme on the offensive end where a player who's not used to posting up will try it and will be forced to adjust to a new style of play during critical moments.
This is the one key the Spurs hold over the Warriors that Golden State can't match.
The Spurs used their veteran experience to close out the Lakers as fast as they could in the last round and also played a huge part in how they kept Los Angeles uneasy throughout the series with their balanced attack. The Spurs should have an easier time with their experience this round, especially with how the Warriors' inexperience showed against the Denver Nuggets.
In the last 6 minutes of the fourth quarter during Game 6, the Warriors couldn't play defense or even inbound the ball for a few plays. These mental mistakes were done against an inexperienced and young Denver Nuggets team that couldn't take advantage, but the crafty veteran San Antonio Spurs won't be making the same mistakes. The Spurs' veteran leadership also will help them dictate how the game will go and how both teams will play.
The Spurs have the luxury of playing a fast high scoring game like the Warriors and a slower paced game centered around Tim Duncan. If the Spurs are up, they may want to run against the Warriors and keep building up the lead by continually scoring. If the Warriors are looking to have the upper hand in a fast paced game, San Antonio may want to slow it down by throwing the ball in the paint to Tim Duncan and getting their short big man rotation in foul trouble.
What do you think Spurs fans? Are there other keys for the series in the Spurs' favor against the Warriors?
No doubt in open court Curry can kill opponents. This is true with Thompson. But the Spurs have the material and speed to counter both Curry and Thompson. Bogut is a lumbering giant I admit, but TD is faster and deadlier in the perimeter not to say that he can hold his own against big men. With their resident pf/c David Lee not 100% healthy, the GSW has a problem. They can rely only on Ezeli and Landry. What post a problem to the Spurs would be Jack snd Green who can penetrate the defenses of the Spurs. Barnes is good, but is young. He will welt under the pressure of playing against experienced players. I think the Spurs will sweep the Warriors, or at most they will go down at 4 to 1. GO SPURS GO!
We should be able to sweep this team, or at least beat them in 5. Come on now, how young is this team? They didn't beat some veteran team in the first round, they beat a young Denver team who also doesn't have one of their stars in Danilo Gallinari. It pisses me off that so many people (mostly Warriors fans) are calling Steph Curry the greatest player right now. Seriously, I hate Miami but Lebron James still has that title by a LONGSHOT. All Curry can really do is shoot jumpers and threes, THAT'S IT. I watched every game of the GState/Denver series and pretty much all I saw from the Warriors were A LOT of shot jacking, no one can deny that. Rarely did they put the ball down low in the post and let their big men go one on one, it was all bring it up, pass it around a few times, and shoot it. Seriously, that was their game plan like 90% of the time. Yes, a lot of those shots went in, but Golden State LIVES and DIES by jumpers. People keep praising Curry on his shooting but fail to acknowledge he's not that good of a defender. His defense is mediocre at best, something Tony Parker will gladly exploit. They have very little to no post dominance. Andrew Bogut has played well, but anyone who watched the series knows Bogut never got most of his points from posting up another player and dominating down low to score. Most of his points came off assists from fast breaks, getting wide open layups/ dunks due to blown defensive assignments by Denver, or simple put backs. But come on, ANDREW BOGUT is all of a sudden LEGIT? His 14 points yesterday is a CAREER HIGH in the playoffs. That's a dominant big man???? Our front court held its own against a front court consisting of Pau Gasol and Dwight freakin Howard, why should we be scared of ANDREW BOGUT, a small Carl Landry, and a banged up David Lee?? And if Harrison Barnes is playing power forward, then that's just even better for us. Tiago Splitter can take him down low. If Tim Duncan ends up on Barnes, well then Barnes better get ready for the ultimate abuse he will endure. If Tim Duncan can drop 26 while being guarded by Gasol and Howard, Barnes, Bogut, or Landry is child's play. Seriously, Warriors say they have Thompson? We have Kawhi Leonard, who has given KEVIN DURANT problems in recent matches. You say you have Jarrett Jack? We have a now healthy Manu Ginobili. Golden State takes an incredible amount of jumpers and don't pay much attention to defense, AT ALL. The reason Denver only scored 88 points yesterday was because they were jacking up shots and missing most of them! Denver jacked up 98 shots and only made 34!! We should beat this team, ESPECIALLY down low in the post where we have a significant advantage. Mark Jackson is about to go up against a coach with 4 rings. If the spurs just FOCUS, we will be breaking out the brooms once again.
All the Spurs need to do is show up to the game, i don't mean in the sense of show up as in bring their A game...they just need to show up to the game period. It's the warriors, That is a Go directly to the WCF series...lol.
@ChrisCano I know right? You have Warriors fans on such a high right now, some of them are believing they will make it to the Finals!!!!! If we show Golden State respect, as in actually take them seriously, then we will be putting our brooms to use once again. Seriously, a young and inexperienced team that loves to SHOT JACK their way to victories is going to beat us? LFMAO, I may give them one game, but that's as far as I can go.
@ajd21 That series was a joke and the Nuggets looked lost on D, they lost Curry on many of those 3's he hit. That wont happen against the spurs we know how at play D top to bottom...SWEEP...GO SPURS GO!