San Antonio Spurs VS Houston Rockets – NBA Playoffs Second Round
The big Texas matchup is now set for the second round of the NBA Playoffs in the Western Conference. There is no question that this might be the most entertaining and competitive matchup in the second round. The second and third seed in the west must meet each other and the winner gets to play the Golden State Warriors. If the winner of this show down is not already tired by the end of the series, they will be when they see Golden State afterwards because in my opinion they are already a guarantee to make it to the next round. I think most would agree on this.
Let’s start by talking about the San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs are the most successful franchise in the last 20 years for the NBA. They have won five championships under Greg Popovich since 1999. They have made the playoffs for 20 years straight starting back in 1998. This blows all of the current teams out of the water with the next closest being the Atlanta Hawks with 10 years. It’s never a doubt that the Spurs will be competitive and it’s always never a doubt that they will somehow find a way to win and usually have one of the top records in the Western Conference. It helps their case this year to be the second seed in the west with a record of 61-21. They also have one of the leading MVP candidates this year who will most likely finish 3rd place in Kawhi Leonard. If all of this is not enough on the Spurs then let me remind you that they also have 4 veterans in Tony Parker, Manu Ginobli, LaMarcus Aldridge and Patty Mils. This makes for perfect team chemistry to surround their best player Kawhi Leonard with experienced veterans who know how to win.
Now let’s talk about the Houston Rockets. The first thing that should come to mind is James Harden. The argument between MVP this year is between him and Russell Westbrook and some would say it’s still up in air. James Harden has a ridiculous stat line this year of 29 points per game, 8 rebounds per game and 11 assist per game. The Rockets also lead the league in three-point field goals made and taken. This is an important thing to notice because of the way the game is played and transitioning now. Being a good three-point shooting team is key. Another thing to note about this team is that they are under a new Head Coach with Mike D’Antoni.
This makes it impressive that they could grab the 3rd seed in the Western Conference after losing Dwight Howard in the off season and have a coach that is new to Houston. With all of this said, I think it’s important to note that the Houston Rockets have been to the conference finals before where they met the Golden State Warriors back in 2015. This isn’t foreign land for them and I don’t think they will back down from a chance to beat their Texas rival.
This is where I make my prediction. I believe the San Antonio Spurs will win this series in seven games. They won the season series 3-1 so I think they will have the mental edge and that will help them throughout this series. I can’t be confident enough to say they will win in six because I refuse to believe that a player as talented as James Harden will back down without a tough fight, especially in a year where he has put up MVP numbers and is still trying to prove he deserves it over Russell Westbrook. We need to also keep in mind that Kawhi Leonard has to carry more weight than he did last year for the Spurs with their veterans getting older. In the end, I think the Rockets three point shooting mixed with James Hardens play making and their fast-paced play will push this to seven games. However, the Spurs experience and defense I believe will be enough to lock down a game seven win and advance to the conference finals.
There you have it. I predict the Spurs will move on to the Western Conference finals to most likely play the Golden State Warriors which would be the matchup I think any NBA fan would have wanted. If there is anyone team who even has a relative chance to lockdown the Warriors, it would be the Spurs because they have done it in the past. Only time will tell but I stand firm with my prediction and I hope that after reading this you would agree as well.