How did the San Antonio Spurs perform against the four playoff teams that remain for the conference finals?
The San Antonio Spurs saw their postseason end nearly three weeks ago, when the Golden State Warriors wiped them out in five games. A turn-back-the-clock performance from Manu Ginobili in Game 4 propelled the Spurs to a win, to keep this series alive for another day.
After a swift conference semifinal, just four teams remain in the postseason: the Warriors, Houston Rockets, Boston Celtics and Cleveland Cavaliers. The Rockets and Warriors will battle in the West, while the Cavaliers and Celtics are set to battle in the East.
Aside from Golden State, the Spurs faced the other three teams in the regular season. How did they perform against the elite? Let’s take a look:
The Spurs faced the Celtics twice, finishing with a 1-1 record. Both matchups happened with Kyrie Irving, who will miss the entire postseason due to a knee injury, in the lineup.
Boston took the first matchup, 108-94 in October. San Antonio edged out a 105-102 win in December, so the Celtics that were seen in the first part of the season hardly look the same in the playoffs.
The Spurs found success against the Cavaliers in both matchups, defeating them by double digits to achieve a 2-0 mark. The first showdown was against the pre-NBA Trade Deadline Cavs, who were gutted in a handful of transactions.
It was a rough ride against the Rockets this season. The Spurs were pummeled in the first three matchups, failing to match the scoring pace that James Harden, Chris Paul and others brought to the table.
The Silver and Black managed a win in the fourth and final matchup of the season, but that happened without Paul and the team shot just 33.8 percent from the field. Either way, it was a mostly one-sided series in the regular season that went 3-1, in Houston’s favor.
Golden State Warriors
Golden State found little trouble with the San Antonio Spurs, winning the first three games of this series. However, no Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson (Draymond Green was hurt in the middle of the game) in the fourth matchup saw San Antonio take advantage of this and win.
However, as noted, once the playoffs arrived, it was a different story. Curry did not play due to a knee injury, but the defending champions still had their way and won their first-round series, 4-1. The combined record is 7-2.