The San Antonio Spurs might not be in huge trouble but the first two weeks of the season have been discouraging. Can the Spurs right themselves in time to defeat the Golden State Warriors?
The San Antonio Spurs Can Win Because…
Their opponent is due for a comedown, and the Spurs themselves are due for a course correction in a positive direction. San Antonio is just not hitting shots so far this season. The Spurs came into a Monday night game with the Los Angeles Clippers, averaging just under 93 points per game. The Spurs were so outrageously good on offense last season, so their meager scoring average is something that, one would figure, is going to rise to the mean as the season continues. San Antonio is going to figure things out and players are going to find their shooting strokes. This team has established way too high a standard to not rebound from a poor start to its season. Moreover, it’s not as though Tony Parker – 55 percent field goals – or Manu Ginobili (38.5 percent on three-pointers) are playing poorly. It’s the young guys who are holding the team back so far and that’s likely to change. Golden State, at 5-1 after six games, is one of the five best teams in the NBA in several statistical categories. That feels like the product of a very small sample size, something that’s going to regress as the season develops.
The Golden State Warrios Can Win Because…
They are performing well by almost all statistical measurements. Golden State enters this game with the third-best scoring offense in the league with 105.2 points per contest. The Warriors are fourth in the NBA with an average of 23.3 assists per game, a reflection of the fact that the ball is going through the hoop. When open men hit shots, assist totals rise, and when shots are missed, the assist numbers go down. Golden State is hitting from the perimeter, thanks to the so-named “Splash Brothers,” Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, who are both hitting over 40 percent of their three-point shots. Curry is averaging 27.7 points per game, and Thompson is doing extraordinarily well for a second option on offense, averaging 23.8 points per game. These totals might not be very sustainable, but Golden State is certainly playing very good basketball right now, and it’s going to be hard for San Antonio to pull the Warriors out of rhythm.
What adds to Golden State’s resume at the moment is that the Warriors are playing really good defense. They’re allowing an average of only 94.8 points per game, fifth-best in the NBA. With Golden State’s potency on offense, that level of defensive efficiency is going to get the Warriors to win a lot of games if this team can keep it up over 82 contests through the middle of April.
San Antonio is also just not playing or shooting well enough to win right now. Heading into a Monday night game against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Spurs were hitting only 31.5 percent of their threes, an alarmingly bad conversion rate; making them the underdogs in our NBA betting odds. Kawhi Leonard’s three-point shot is just not there this season. Leonard is hitting only 11 percent of his threes (heading into the Clipper game and not including stats from that contest).
The Spurs should get better as the season continues, but right now, they’re so lacking in offensive production that Golden State’s athleticism should probably be able to contain San Antonio. It’s weird to say this, but the Spurs look nothing like the team that won the Western Conference last two seasons. Take Golden State here with your NBA picks.
Free NBA Pick: Golden State