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Spurs Get First Crack at 'Superteam' Warriors


PhilBoxing.com




Folsom, California - For the first time in almost 20 years, the San Antonio Spurs will open the season without Tim Duncan. The Golden State Warriors, on the other hand, have added another arsenal to its already deadly combination of stars in former league MVP Kevin Durant. The Spurs and Warriors are the league's top two teams of the past regular season - the Spurs finishing with a franchise best 67-15 win-loss record and the Warriors with a magical run of 73 wins and only 9 losses that ended anticlimactically, bowing to eventual champions Cleveland Cavaliers after giving up a 3-1 advantage in the 2016 NBA Finals last June.

The Spurs and the Warriors will faceoff on NBA opening night this Tuesday, October 25, 2016 at the Oracle Arena in Oakland, California, home of the Warriors, with tip-off set at 10:30 PM ET (Wednesday, October 26, 2016 at about 10 Philippine Time).

The Warriors will parade four all-stars in reigning back-to-back MVP Steph Curry, reigning All-Star 3-point shootout champion Klay Thompson, arguably the leagues most versatile bigman in Draymond Green, and former league MVP Kevin Durant. On the flipside, the Spurs will showcase three all-stars and probably the league's best frontcourt composed of the reigning back-to-back Defensive Player of the Year Kawhi Leonard, backed up by crafty and sweet-shooting big men in LaMarcus Aldridge and new recruit Pau Gasol.

The Warriors love to rain it down from deep, banking on the sniping capabilities of the splash brothers Steph and Klay. Now they add another 'splasher' in Durant. On paper, it is going to be a defensive nightmare for opposing teams. The Spurs have two of the best perimeter defenders in the league on its roster, but only one will get to see the court Tuesday night. Kawhi Leonard will certainly have his large hands full without 'bruise brother' Danny Green, who will miss 3 weeks of game action with a quad strain.

These are two of the most disciplined teams in the league. Coached by two of the Coach-of-the-Year awardees of the past 3 years in Gregg Popovich for the Spurs (2013-14) and Steve Kerr for the Warriors(2015-16), both teams are expected to maximize their strengths at every opportunity and try to force each other to adjust. Kerr will most certainly bank on the shooting prowess of his troops, while Popovich will probably dump the ball down low as often as possible, like they did when they became one of only 9 teams to beat the Warriors last season. A shootout will definitely favor the Warriors and the Spurs will improve their chances if they control the pace and make it a low-scoring game.

Apart from the blockbuster addition of Durant, the Warriors have also added big men Zaza Pachulia, JaVale McGee, and curiously, David West, who played for the Spurs last season. They will also have another 7-footer in 30th overall rookie pick Damian Jones out of Vanderbilt and 6'7" point guard and 38th overall pick Patrick McCaw out of UNLV in tow.

On the other hand, the Spurs have added big men Dewayne Dedmon and former Warrior player David Lee, along with Gasol, to try to fill the large shoes left by Tim Duncan. Four rookies will also try to bolster the Spurs bench this season, including 29th overall pick Dejounte Murray, who most NBA General Managers consider as the biggest steal of this year's rookie draft. But much buzz has been generated by the 6'10" sweet-shooting and athletic wingman Davis Bertans out of Latvia, who is expected to instantly become part of Popovich's regular rotation this season, owing to his impressive performance on both sides of the court in the preseason games. Also forming part of the Spurs rookie invasion is undrafted rookie guard Bryn Forbes out of Michigan State and another guard in Nicolas Laprovittola out of Argentina.

This game might just be a preview of this upcoming season's Conference Finals. Too much anticipation is in the air. The wait is almost over. The NBA is definitely back!

Comments are highly appreciated. You may send them to reylanloberternos@yahoo.com.ph and you may follow me on twitter @reylan_l


Click here to view a list of other articles written by Reylan Loberternos.


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