San Antonio Spurs' Jonathon Simmons (17) drives to the basket as Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant (35) defends during the first half of Game 2 of the NBA basketball Western Conference finals, Tuesday, May 16, 2017, in Oakland, Calif. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
After beating the San Antonio Spurs twice at home, I’m not convinced that the Golden State Warriors are in for a sweep.
In game one, it was evident that the injury of Kahwi Leonard was a game-changer, a huge break the Warriors needed to eventually steal the first game.
Intentional? Doesn’t matter.
In the NBA, and in every pro-league around the world, players get injured at the worst of times. And most of these injuries are the type that blindside the player, their coach, and the franchise. Usually, stories of successful teams revolve on how resilient they are. In case of the Spurs, this will be put to the test.
But let’s go back to the Warriors. Their resiliency was evident in game one, coming back from 25-down. We cannot discredit the capability of the Spurs because they are such a unique and solid team. It’s been said that they rely too heavily on Kawhi Leonard, but this can’t be true, not after they closed out the Houston Rockets without him. They never did rely on David Robinson alone, nor Tim Duncan, not even Manu Ginobili or Tony Parker. By the same token, it was a total team effort led by Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant to pull off that Golden State rally
In Filipino, ‘tinrabaho.’
How so? The Spurs had a 14-0 run in the second quarter to balloon their lead to 25 at 44-19. Sometime after Kahwi’s injury, the Warriors had a 18-to-nothing blast to trim their deficit down to five, and it was a close game from then on. Draymond Green and Klay Thompson were non-factors, but Steph Curry and Kevin Durant combined for 74 out of the 115 points of their team to take the first game.
Perhaps that was the first real adversity of the Warriors in this year’s playoffs. Just like Cleveland, they never had a ‘true test’ and were on cruise control as they won the first eight games of their postseason campaign. Luckily for them, momentum stayed with them, helping them jump out to a big early lead to slay San Antonio in game two.
This will not be a walk in the park for the Dubs. Many fans are saying ‘sweep na yan!’ but I don’t think so. Give credit where credit is due. Pop has molded his organization ever since the 90’s and they won’t go down without a fight. After all, we might see Kahwi in Game 3 on Sunday (PHL time) after he has rested for a couple of days. Pop’s team is just so dangerous. They won’t win solely because of LaMarcus Aldrige and Pau Gasol, but also because of gems like Jonathon Simmons, Kyle Anderson and Dejounte Murray. Honestly, Warriors fans should be just as afraid of them as the rest of their normal starting unit. Clearly, this will be a test of character too for the Spurs, as they need to have ‘perfect games’ to get back in the series.
But since the Warriors have the upper hand, they have the momentum and confidence. I believe, we can expect them to at least take a game on the road, whether it’s Game 3, 4 or 6.
The actual result is still up in the air, but for sure, it’s going to be a close fight until the end.
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