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Gamethread: Watching and waiting for the next Warriors opponent

Tied at 2-2, the Rockets and Spurs series may hinge on tonight’s results

NBA: Playoffs-Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz Chris Nicoll-USA TODAY Sports

Once again, the Warriors have taken care of business early and swept their opponent into the offseason. And once again, we all now get to sit and watch as two teams duke it out in a grueling battle to see who gets the honor of facing this Warriors juggernaut next.

No they aren’t, Mo.

But the Rockets and Spurs are!

Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs

5:00 PM


This has been a pretty weird series, in the words of Spurs blogger JR Wilco:

After Game 1, it was hard for me to envision SA stopping HOU. Then they did it twice, and I expected them to do it twice more. But now that they didn’t keep doing what I thought made them successful in Game 3, now it’s hard to see them executing a game plan that ends in a win.

The Rockets lost their best center in Nene to a left adductor tear early in game 4. What you would expect to be a blow to the Rockets ended up actually helping their cause when coach Mike D’Antoni doubled down on his normal coaching strategy: “half the defense, TWICE the offense.” With Ryan Anderson slotted in at the five, and surrounded by guys who can beat their man off the dribble, the elderly Spurs were easily exploitable. Look for more of this, as the Rockets indicated they will be starting Eric Gordon in a three-guard lineup tonight.

Pau Gasol is a million years old (and hasn’t been quick in just about as long), LMA is struggling to play through some sort of knee issue, and the only other “big” available is David Lee. Lee is the only player remotely close to being able to cover players on the perimeter but his lack of rim protection doesn’t do anything to alleviate the impact of the Rocket’s dribble penetration.

Is it a structural flaw? Maybe, maybe not.

But in a game of matchups, it looks like the Spurs big men are the odd ones out here. For all of us watching from home, it just means a faster game with lots of small ball. If Pop can comfortably abandon his bigs (and I think he will), I still like the Spurs smallball squad over the Rockets.’ It sure would be nice if they had Tony Parker available...

Prediction: Spurs by 9 in a back and forth affair.

We NEED this series to go to seven games. If the Spurs-Rockets wrap up in game 6, then that would mean that our next series would open on Mother’s day, at 12:30 in the afternoon - which would compete with Easter Sunday for worst possible day to watch an NBA game in the middle of the day. Also, don’t forget to do something nice for the mothers in your life. Even a simple gesture like a card can make a world of difference!

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