National Basketball Association title favourites? It's not the Warriors or the Cavs right now

Jo Caldwell
April 15, 2018

The 2018 NBA Playoffs tip-off today with Game 1 between the defending champion Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs. However, the circumstances of their playoff series could not be more different.

Think back to 2016, when they had just capped off a historic 73-9 season, or to previous year, when the most significant question entering the playoffs was whether they would lose a single game (they went 16-1 en route to the championship). The team lost star Kyrie Irving to a knee injury for the season, including the playoffs, and have gone 8-6 in his absence, outscoring opponents by just 1.2 net points per 100 possessions. The Warriors have gone 7-10 since their March 8th victory over San Antonio, and Stephen Curry is not expected to play in the first round.

The Spurs are 0-7 ATS in their last 7 road games, 1-4 ATS in their last 5 vs.

The contract included a player opt-out provision after the 2017-18 season, and it appears Durant will exercise his option.

The Rockets lead the league in net rating (plus-8.8) and have one of the most efficient offences in NBA history, scoring 115.2 points per 100 possessions per Basketball Reference.

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The Warriors have won the season series, 3-1, with the Spurs playing all four of those games without Leonard.

"We've got to be way better if we're going to do what we want to do in the postseason", Durant said after the Warriors fell to Utah by 40 points in their regular-season finale Tuesday. If he can be the 17 point scorer he has been, the Warriors should be just fine with the combined efforts of Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green.

"They feed off that, because a bad turnover, even offensive rebounds for them, turns into open threes", Ginobili said.

In the end, the Pelicans fell victim to the San Antonio Spurs, and the Minnesota Timberwolves triumphed over the Denver Nuggets. The Spurs are without Kawhi Leonard, who has been out for all but nine games in the season.

Dejounte Murray is quickly becoming one of the league's best guard defenders, an honor that Danny Green has held for years.

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Gregg Popovich will look to LaMarcus Aldridge instead but, even without Steph Curry in the opposing line-up, Kevin Durant might be a player too much for the San Antonio to handle. Numerous sharpest cappers in the sports gambling industry who write for SBR Picks have debated this topic, but I'm not sure if there is enough talent in San Antonio to muster another dynasty in the making.

Kerr's son, Nick, is on the Spurs staff and the team jokingly voted him out of the film room Friday for fear of him sharing Spurs secrets with the enemy.

It's as far-fetched and insane as it sounds, and it's a real possibility Kawhi may not even return for the Spurs playoff run this post-season, rendering the entire theory pointless. The Spurs are 16 in the league by shooting 45.7 percent from the field.

The big question here is whether the Bucks with Giannis Antetokounmpo have enough for a Celtics team without Kyrie Iriving and Marcus Smart? The Warriors are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 Saturday games, 0-5 ATS in their last 5 home games and 6-15 ATS in their last 21 games overall. The Warriors' championship hopes will increase if and when Curry returns to the lineup.

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However, Moseni has also claimed that 45 Taliban were also killed and eight members of the Afghan security forces were wounded. The casualty figures are impossible to independently verify because of the remoteness of the area.

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