With the Spurs’ huge 39-point win over the Rockets on Thursday night, they advance to the Western Conference finals against the Warriors. It will be a far more difficult matchup than the one they faced against the Rockets with Golden State being the No. 1 seed in the West.
On Thursday’s episode of “Undisputed,” Skip Bayless and Shannon Sharpe made their predictions for this meeting of powerhouses.
It will come down to Kawhi Leonard's health
“Obviously, James Harden doesn’t play for the Golden State Warriors, so I cannot bank on James Harden going farther south than Galveston and allowing Jonathan Simmons and Dejounte Murray to take over games. Obviously, for Game 1, this is going to come down to, ‘Is Kawhi Leonard 100 percent? Seventy-five percent? Or is he 10 percent with a bad knee and a bad ankle?’ I don’t know, please tell me because I can only guess."
Shannon Sharpe: "He can be 1,000 percent and they’ll still get smoked."
Skip Bayless: "I can only proceed as if he’ll be 98.7 percent and that that will be enough. I’m the first to remind myself on March 29, a really bad thing happened to my Spurs. Golden State went into San Antonio with my Spurs at full strength and Golden State, without Kevin Durant, and did a 110-98 number on my Spurs. It was a wipeout, a blowout, a humiliation night for my Spurs.”
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Spurs in seven games
“I’m going to stand by what I’ve been saying all year long on this show: I don’t trust Kevin Durant to blend into the late-game chemistry when they’re pressed late in games. So far, Portland was not able to push Golden State into a late-game, clutch-time situation. Obviously, Utah was not capable of pushing Golden State late in games. My spurs are capable of hanging in and hanging on to make four of these games close games. I won’t be surprised if Game 1 is a blowout because [the Warriors] are 10-point favorites, so maybe they’ll win by 25 and you’ll come in pumping your fists.
“I wasn’t sure how this team was going to be post-Tim Duncan. And this team grew on me all year long. I just like what it’s made of. I like the will and I like the skill. There’s some grit and guts to this team featuring Patty Mills and Manu Ginobli, that I love.
"And I think it’s going to shine through against Golden State. So im going to say that the Spurs are going to win this in seven games because if LeBron can win a Game 7 in Oakland, I believe my Spurs can win one this year. And if they do, LeBron James is in trouble because I will guarantee you my Spurs will beat LeBron in the Finals if they can get through Golden State.”
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The Warriors are far deeper than the Rockets
“The Dubs have two players better than James Harden. They got two players in Draymond (Green) and Klay (Thompson) that are better than everybody else on the Rockets team. It’s one thing to have to worry about James Harden because you know if you can slow him down, you can slow [the Rockets] down.
‘OK, hold KD to 20 and watch Steph go for 30. OK, hold KD and Steph to 20 and watch Klay go for 35, Draymond get a triple-double.’ There’s too much firepower.
"I’m not worried about what Ryan Anderson I might get – I might get 19 or I might get like last night, I get nothing. I might get Eric Gordon who makes five 3s, or Eric Gordon where he scores six points.
"When I watch the Dubs, I already know somebody is going to have 30. Steph or KD are going to have 30. Klay’s going to give me 20. Draymond’s going to be real close to a triple-double if he doesn’t get one."
Warriors will win in five or six
“Skip, [the Warriors will win] in five. You’re winning one game. And you better win Game 3, or you’re getting swept. … I want to change my pick, I want to go to six games. Mike Brown is the coach. Dubs in six.
"Do you actually think that Kawhi Leonard could go to Oracle and win a Game 7? You must think he’s LeBron.
Skip: “I think he’s better than LeBron, and he’s about to show you.”