The 2018 NBA Playoffs is set to begin on Saturday and one of its most interesting matchups is the Western Conference meeting between the No. 2 seed and defending champion Golden State Warriors and the No. 7 seed and five-time NBA champions San Antonio Spurs. Fox Sports‘ Colin Cowherd predicted in a recent episode of The Herd that the Warriors would win the series in six games.
Both teams are undermanned going into the series as Golden State will continue to miss the services of two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry while San Antonio is without their best player, former NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, who is still rehabbing his quadriceps injury.
The Warriors have won the season series, 3-1, with the Spurs playing all four of those games without Leonard. The only time San Antonio pulled off a victory was in their second meeting last month, when Curry, Klay Thompson, and Kevin Durant were all sidelined for Golden State. Draymond Green only suited up in the first half during that game because of a pelvic injury, resulting in an 89-75 loss for the champs and their lowest point total in four years with Steve Kerr as head coach.
Golden State had a 4-6 record in their last 10 games in the regular season while San Antonio had an even 5-5 slate.
Predicted Starting Lineup
According to the NBA’s official website, the projected starters for both squads are the following:
Warriors: Quinn Cook (PG), Klay Thompson (SG), Kevin Durant (SF), Draymond Green (PF), and Zaza Pachulia (C).
Spurs: Dejounte Murray (PG), Patty Mills (SG), Danny Green (SF), LaMarcus Aldridge (PF), and Pau Gasol (C).
Cowherd predicted that Golden State would outlast San Antonio in an “uncomfortable six games.” He said that the Warriors have won eight of their last nine games versus the Spurs, with the single loss only because Kerr’s side did not have their four best players for most of the game.
However, the host noted that the 2017-2018 season is probably Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich’s “best coaching job” as he led a struggling squad to the playoffs. Leonard has only played nine games during the whole season, while former main men Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili are both battling it out with Father Time. Their best player, LaMarcus Aldridge, is a good medium-range jump shooter at best, which would not be enough to overcome the defending champions in a seven-game series.
Finally, Cowherd opined that the Warriors are “not as good without Steph” and “the games will be closer,” but Durant will be Golden State’s X-factor in the clutch that would ultimately bring them to victory.