Monday Night Hoops

The Thunderblog’s basketball corner gives three quick hits about both the Association and the Road to March, aka NBA & NCAAB. Just enough to get you through your next basketball-related conversation this week.

 

National Collegiate Athletic Association Basketball

Since most of this post will be taken up by the NBA, college will only get a quick blurb. Finally SMU lost to my hometown Temple Owls and we no longer have an undefeated team in the NCAA. I was wishing SMU would run the table and end up at #1 because they are ineligible for postseason play and can’t go Dancing due to multiple NCAA violations. That would have made for great headlines. You have to follow the rules now Mustangs.

National Basketball Association

Game of the year, maybe even the greatest game in NBA regular season history, tonight as the Spurs visit the Warriors tonight at 10:30pm. With a combined 10 total losses, these two teams have a 87% chance to win the NBA title this year via Vegas and quite frankly after what the Cavs and LeBron have done since firing their head coach (really? really?!?!) that percentage should only grow. The question is who is a better team? Remember that tonight Tim Duncan will not play so this game, while important, isn’t a true test. So lets break it down:

Golden State Warriors vs San Antonio Spurs

PG – Steph Curry vs Tony Parker

As good as Tony Parker is and probably a Hall of Famer, Curry is the best player on the planet averaging over 30 points per game and has scored more 3-pointers than some entire NBA teams! Advantage – Warriors

SG – Klay Thompson vs Danny Green

I am a huge fan of Danny Green, one of the best 3 & D players in the league. A great role player but he is still outdone by the 2nd Splash Brother. Thompson has hit the second most 3 pointers this season after his teammate Curry. Advantage – Warriors

SF – Harrison Barnes vs Kawhi Leonard

Barnes has been injured most of the season but it wouldn’t matter anyway. Leonard is the Lebron-killer and the best wing defender in the league. He should be considered second only to Curry in NBA Hierarchy but when you play for the Spurs it’s team first. But don’t forget just how good Leonard is and how much better he will continue to get. All-World player who may be the difference. Advantage – Spurs

PF – Draymond Green vs LaMarcus Aldridge

Without a doubt the hardest decision on this list. Partially because Green plays all over the court as a power forward, center, and even small forward at times. His versatility is hard to capture with statistics but all you have to do is watch him play to see why he is the second most valuable Warrior. Aldridge on the other hand spent the beginning of the season learning to play with the Spurs. He is a more traditional power forward like his front court mate Tim Duncan. Aldridge has superb post skills and a stellar mid range game that fits with any team but makes the Spurs just that much better. All that being said, this matchup is too close to call. Advantage – Draw

C – Andrew Bogut vs Tim Duncan

Bogut seriously looks like his knees are going to give out at anytime. A starter in name only, he is a rim enforcer and a pack-line defender. Do we really need to discuss the Big Fundamental? A timeless throwback who simply does his job better than the rest, its a shame Duncan isn’t playing tonight. All young kids (and most adults) should watch Tim and try to emulate him. Advantage – Spurs

Sixth Man – Andre Iguodala vs Manu Ginobili

5 years ago, maybe even 2 years ago, this wouldn’t even be a discussion as Manu was a cerebral scorer who created art on the court. But now his body continues to betray him and his minutes are limited. Iguodala on the other hand is a suedo-starter with lockdown defender skills and highlight-reel dunks. Health wins out. Advantage – Warriors

Head Coach – Steve Kerr vs Greg Popovich 

Steve Kerr may or may not be a great coach, its too early to tell. For Popovich, the question is only will he go down as the greatest of all time. Advantage – Spurs

So what’s the final conclusion? How about, when healthy, these two teams are dead even. It’s the matchup of the year with old-school, team ball versus new-school swagger from deep. But the edge goes to the best player in the game. Until someone shows he can be stopped, his endless range maximum efficiency, and flawless scoring will lead the Warriors to the back-to-back titles.

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