The San Antonio Spurs are getting less attention this year than ever before. With “super” teams forming all over the NBA, the lowly old Spurs just continue to win and are one of the few teams that will have a chance to beat the Golden State Warriors.

You wouldn’t know this if you listened to any source of sports media in the country, but the Spurs are still a huge threat. Currently, the team sits at 34-20 and are third in the Western Conference. This is five games back of the Houston Rockets who everyone seems to think has the only chance against the Warriors.

It is true that the Rockets have a shot at beating the Warriors, but the Spurs present a much more serious threat and this is why:

  1. Coaching

If you just look at the roster, you aren’t understanding what it really takes to win games against the Warriors. Coach Popovich had a strategy last year that clearly bothered the Warriors in the playoffs. Let’s not forget that, prior to the Kawhi Leonard injury, the Spurs were ahead by 20 in the first game of their series with the Warriors. Now, I’m not saying that was going to continue, but it showed that the Spurs could pose a threat to the invincible Warriors.

Popovich has always been able to construct a game plan to combat whatever challenges were in front of him. From the early days against the Los Angeles Lakers to the years against Lebron James and the Miami Heat, he has always figured out a way to win. Now, facing his biggest challenge ever, I expect him to prepare something special for the playoffs.

  1. Kawhi Leonard Injury

This year’s Spurs are 34-20 without their best player for pretty much the whole year. LaMarcus Aldridge has stepped up, and the team has been solid because of it, but with Kawhi the Spurs are a different team. In the five games where he has played 25 or more minutes, the Spurs have only lost once.

  1. Style of play

The problem with the Rockets is that they play too similar a style of basketball to the Warriors. Both teams want to run, shoot quick, and run some more.

Last year, the Cleveland Cavaliers tried to play that same way and it didn’t work out well. This confirmed my belief that no one can beat the Warriors at their own game. So, you need to play a different style of game, to beat them in the playoffs.

This is something the Spurs will be able to do. With the players on their roster, if they tried to play that brand of basketball they would be run out of the gym. Popovich and the rest of the team knows this and they will make the Warriors play at a slower pace and take tougher shots.

The Golden State Warriors are one of the greatest teams the NBA has ever seen, but don’t be surprised if you see them in a dog fight with the San Antonio Spurs in June.

This article first appeared on isportsweb.com and was syndicated with permission.

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