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Game 4 preview: Warriors sweeping toward the Finals

With the Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard out, the Warriors have no excuses.

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs
Fo’, Fo’, Fo?
Troy Taormina-USA TODAY Sports

Golden State Warriors (1) at San Antonio Spurs (2)

Game 4 (Warriors lead 3-0)

Monday, May 22 @ 6:00 PM PST


Coming into this series, I made what I thought was a pretty bold prediction: a Warriors sweep. Well, unless something crazy happens in game 4, it looks like I will be correct — but it didn’t look anything at all like I expected it to.

Talent Imbalance

Already working with a razor-thin margin, the Spurs have been crushed by injuries and now it behooves the Warriors to finish the series in four. Obviously, Kawhi Leonard’s injury is the main storyline here — but the Spurs are also without their starting point guard (Tony Parker) and just lost a key reserve, David Lee (partially torn knee ligament that may require surgery). That’s three season-ending injuries to guys who averaged 33, 25 and 19 minutes per game in the regular season. It’s just too much to overcome. And the results so far have reflected that.

There’s only so much analysis you can do beyond this core reality. The Spurs have unearthed a gem in Jonathon Simmons (just in time for him to ratchet up the cost of his upcoming free agency) and Manu Ginobli is gamely pushing - as always - but it just isn’t enough. Patty Mills is shooting 5-24 from the floor in the series, and Lamarcus Aldridge has been contained by Draymond Green to the point where it’s causing grumblings about whether Aldridge has what it takes to be a part of the Spurs’ long-term plans.

Health and Safety

We’ve mostly tried to stay away from formally talking about the injury controversy this series around here. Nothing gets quite as contentious as two fan bases arguing amongst themselves about whether a player is dirty.

But there was this play in game three that fills me with rage. So yeah, Spurs fans, I said earlier that I understood your anger, but I think now I actually have a more visceral sense of the depths that your rage boils at. If Stephen Curry had gotten hurt by this play, it would be one of those pivot moments that you always remember. The type of thing that makes it feel like everything that comes after has swung out from that one moment.

But can we please choose compassion here? Think back to any angry conversations you’ve had about the Leonard injury. Spurs fans were mad, so it got us mad. Let’s try and be cool about the Dewayne Dedmon play. It happened. It BETTER not happen again, but there’s no need to try and convince others that they should be mad too.

Because nothing matters other than health. Watch this coach go through a brief moment of rage and come out the other side with compassion and depth:

TL;DR - PLEASE no injuries in game 4!! We have seen more than our fair share this series, and the reason it gets people so upset when the see something dirty is that it’s so unfair. To the fans, and the players. The internet went wild over this image of Kawhi Leonard watching game 3, but it mostly makes me sad and angry for the guy. What a rip off that we only got the briefest of glimpses at what his presence has meant to the series. Instead, we got a series defined by his absence. And that sucks.

Final Thoughts

Curry passed a Warriors legend in that last game. Another step up in the Warriors pantheon for Curry — who seems to have found himself another fan:

The Warriors have been playing brilliantly, but with the Cleveland Cavaliers next up on our dance card, look for the Warriors to try and tighten up a bit. Against a depleted team like the Spurs, we can get away with our lousy rebounding and sloppy turnovers. But against the Cavaliers, those are the kinds of critical flaws that can cost us a game or two — which could in turn mean the difference between a parade in Oakland or Cleveland in June.

I predict a shellacking in San Antonio. The Warriors know that they should easily beat what’s left of this Spurs roster and are going to come out with that killer instinct that can be so overwhelming. As long as the Warriors stay focused (as they very well should) this will be the last game of this series, with the Warriors holding a comfortable lead by the end of the first quarter and never relinquishing it.

Fo’ Fo’ Fo’

Let’s Go!

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