Warriors vs. Spurs: What to Expect


The Golden State Warriors will host the San Antonio Spurs in what is a highly anticipated matchup of two historically great teams. What can we expect to see tonight at Oracle Arena?

Honestly, I have no idea.

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This is Gregg Popovich we’re talking about. He’s the mastermind behind the mythical war machine known as the San Antonio Spurs. Pop is arguably the greatest coach in the history in the sport. Over the years, he’s developed his style, growing the Spurs from the slow, defensive David Robinson-led teams to the fast-paced, equally as offensively dynamic incarnation of the team.

There have been two constants during Popvich’s three decade dominance: Tim Duncan and unpredictability.

Duncan, the greatest power forward to step on a court, is the definition of consistency. He’s always effective in whatever role his coach needs him to be in. He has been a dominant post scorer just as well as an elite defender. Even now, in his age 39 season, Duncan has been the best defender in the game, anchoring the league’s top defense.

So, of course, after not playing since Friday, Popovich will rest Duncan in a game that will surely have the attention of the whole league. Because that’s what Pop does best.

Everyone knows that Popovich likes to put the reigning Defensive Player of the Year, Kahwi Leonard, on the reigning Most Valuable Player, Stephen Curry. The length, quickness, and instincts have bothered the crafty point guard before. But will we see it tonight? Probably at some point. But no one knows when.

And that’s why we should all expect the unexpected.

Because on the other bench is Golden State Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr, who will be coaching just his second game this season. Kerr has clearly taken a page or two out of the Hall of Fame coach’s book. He’s resting players in their mid-20s to keep them fresh for the postseason. He shares a similar wit and the teams are run similarly.

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These two teams look like their headed towards and epic Western Conference Finals showdown. They’re both playing basketball at historic levels, San Antonio with it’s stifling defense and Golden State with it’s high-powered offense. Both of these coaches and teams understand that despite being a game that basketball fans are salivating over, it’s just a regular season game. They know that it’s a marathon and not a sprint.

So expect some high quality basketball because these teams don’t know how to play anything else. With players like Leonard and Tony Parker going head to head with equally as fiery competitors like Curry and Draymond Green, it’ll be fun. Neither side will want to lose, of course, but if they do it won’t be the end of the world. In fact, Pop and Kerr are on such different wavelengths that they might almost prefer to lose if home court advantage wasn’t so important and tightly contested.

Don’t expect this to be a real preview of a playoff series. Neither side will show their hand this early into the season. Pop has made a living off providing minimal information and coming up with creative ways to destroy opponents. In just one short year, Kerr also has figured out that bending the truth can help his cause.

Enjoy the fun basketball, but realize that this is only the beginning. And that’s exciting.