After fending off pesky Portland in back-to-back games, the Golden State Warriors, with a healthy and rejuvenated Steph Curry, once again look like clear favorites to win the NBA title.
The Warriors scored a combined 257 points in Game 4 and 5, with Curry netting a game-high 40 in Game 4 and Klay Thompson scoring a game-high 33 in Game 5. Now, it’s on to the Western Conference Finals and, most likely, the NBA Finals for Golden State.
Interestingly, the Warriors may avoid their biggest postseason threat – according to Justin Termine, anyway.
“I still think it’s San Antonio,” the Sirius XM NBA Radio host told John Jastremski, who was filling in as host of CBS Sports Radio’s After Hours with Amy Lawrence. “I’m still not fearful of Oklahoma City. I just am not a big fan of Oklahoma City. I think they’ve done it with (Kevin) Durant and (Russell) Westbrook getting hot in all of these games. Steven Adams has stepped up and done a nice job, but I still think the decision-making, the coaching, the defense overall of Oklahoma City makes them the easiest series here for them. I think San Antonio is the toughest.”
And no, Termine hasn’t forgotten about Cleveland. He’s just not sure what to make of the Cavs, who have blitzed through the first two rounds of the playoffs without much resistance.
“With Cleveland, I understand you got to be impressed with what they’ve done.” Termine said. “They’re 8-0. How many teams in history have started out 8-0? But I’m not sure how good they are or if it’s just bad teams that they’re facing.”
Cleveland dispatched Atlanta in the second round, winning the first two games of the series by a combined 36 points.
“Atlanta was mentally defeated from the very start,” Termine said,” and (the Cavs are) 11th defensively out of the 16 postseason teams. So think about that. As good as Cleveland has been, if you look at their defensive efficiency, they’re 11th out of the 16 teams. So they haven’t been that impressive on that end of the floor, whereas Golden State, even without Curry here for most of the postseason, (is) No. 2 in offense (and) No. 2 in defense against better competition, in my estimation. So I still think that Golden State wins. Toughest opponent: San Antonio. Weakest opponent: Oklahoma City. But Cleveland and San Antonio can still both beat Golden State if they get a couple of breaks.”
Thus, Termine believes the Warriors should be rooting for the Thunder to close out San Antonio in Game 6 on Thursday.
“If I’m Golden State, I’d rather face Oklahoma City because I’m counting on Oklahoma City here to do something stupid,” Termine said. “Now they’ve been good the last couple of games. Russell Westbrook’s decision-making has improved. But I’m going to go based off what I saw throughout the course of the regular season, and that’s a team that has struggled in the fourth quarter – again, even though they’ve actually done good and they’ve overcome two deficits in the fourth quarter here against San Antonio. But the defense hasn’t been good, the late-game offense hasn’t been good against good defenses – and Golden State certainly has a good defense – and I’d rather certainly, if I’m Steve Kerr, go up and try to match wits with Billy Donovan, as opposed to Gregg Popovich. So I think they’re still better off facing Oklahoma City in the Western Conference Finals as opposed to San Antonio.”