It can be hard to predict how Saturday night's Warriors – Spurs game is going to go down. On one hand, Golden State holds a 2 game lead over San Antonio for the top seed in the Western Conference (and home court throughout the playoffs). Then again, neither team may want to tip their hand this late in the season before the Western Conference Finals matchup that is all but a formality at this point.
This uncertainty can be great for bettors – or it can be a nightmare. You can evaluate all the trends and statistics that you want only to have them thrown out the window when Gregg Popovich decides to bench his entire starting lineup or Golden State feels its the perfect time to run the offense through Zaza Paculia.
This is the second of three regular season matchups between these Western Conference powerhouses but the first since Golden State's Kevin Durant has been injured. The Warriors were obviously a good enough team without Durant to set the NBA regular season win record a year ago but they dropped the first two after KD got hurt (@Washington, @Chicago).
The Spurs have taken over the guard from Golden State as the hottest team in the NBA. They rattled off a 7 game win streak and won 9 out of 10 the last two weeks. As imagined, the Spurs are equally good at home and on the road but they sport a 21-6 record at the AT&T Center. 8 of Golden State's 11 losses, however, have come away from the Bay Area.
In that previous matchup, this season the Spurs continued to do what Cleveland did in last year's NBA Finals spoiling a GSW victory tour with a 129-100 season-opening victory over Golden State. Kawhi Leonard's 35 points spoiled the 82-0 Golden State season right out of the chute.
The Spurs should be nestled in comfortably at home, at least compared to the Warriors. Saturday's game will be the 5th of the week for Golden State and their 4th on the road. San Antonio has a tough tilt Thursday in Oklahoma City but has Friday off. The Warriors, on the other hand, are playing the second leg of a back-to-back after a road game in Minnesota on Friday.
Usually, it's the Spurs and Popovich who get complacent in these situations but conditions are right for Golden State to be the ones to pack it in for this matchup. Spurs are the pick.