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NBA playoffs preview: Spurs vs. Warriors

A look at the Western Conference semifinal series between San Antonio and Golden State.

May 06, 2013|By Ben Bolch, Los Angeles Times
  • Cory Joseph and the Spurs will try to slow down Warriors sharpshooting guard Stephen Curry when their playoff series starts Monday in San Antonio.
Cory Joseph and the Spurs will try to slow down Warriors sharpshooting guard… (D. Ross Cameron / McClatchy-Tribune )

Western Conference semifinal

No. 2 San Antonio vs. No. 6 Golden State

Season series: Tied, 2-2.

Key stat: Stephen Curry averaged 28 points per game in Golden State's victories over Denver in the first round and 17 points in the Warriors' losses.

Outlook: San Antonio will have had more than a week's rest by the opening tip of this series, which always comes in handy when you have a roster with players in their 30s nursing sore shins, ankles and necks. Spurs forward Boris Diaw is expected to play for the first time since having a synovial cyst removed from his lower spinal cord on April 12. The Spurs could also get back forward Tiago Splitter, who severely sprained his left ankle in Game 3 of the team's first-round sweep of the Lakers. The injury news isn't as good for Golden State. Forward David Lee is expected to play sparingly in the series after suffering a torn hip flexor in Game 1 of the Warriors' first-round series against Denver. Harrison Barnes and Andrew Bogut admirably filled in for Lee against the Nuggets but will have a tougher challenge trying to stop Tim Duncan, the ageless Spurs forward who outplayed younger counterparts Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol in the first round. But San Antonio's improved defense will be put to the test by a prolific Golden State offense that averaged 107.1 points per game against the Nuggets. The Warriors are seeking their first trip to the conference finals since 1976.

Prediction: Young and athletic doesn't always beat (relatively) old and slow. Spurs in six.

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