The San Antonio Spurs didn’t stand much of a chance to stop the juggernaut that is the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference Finals.
That was apparent before the series even started. And once MVP candidate Kawhi Leonard went down in the second half of Game 1, it was magnified even further. San Antonio would go on to lose all four games in the series by a combined 64 points.
Even following the Warriors’ blowout win in Game 4, one thing became readily apparent. Despite everything that unfolded surrounding multiple seemingly dirty plays in the series, the two teams have a ton of respect for one another.
This was evident when Warriors players were seen on the court applauding Spurs wing Manu Ginobili in what could very well have been his final NBA game.
It was taken to a whole new level when Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich lobbed praise the Warriors’ way following the four-game sweep.
We can now add future Hall of Fame forward Pau Gasol to the list. Following his team’s exit in the Western Conference Finals, Gasol threw a ton of praise the Warriors’ way.
“They’re in a groove,” Gasol said, via the San Jose Mercury News. “They know what it takes to win and obviously they’ve been champions, they’ve established records that have never been set before and they’re on a path to get another championship. In all my years in the league, they’re playing at the highest level right now.”
Gasol isn’t necessarily wrong here. Golden State won an NBA record 12 consecutive games en route to its third NBA Finals appearance. During that span, the two-time defending Western Conference Champions defeated their opponents by an average of nearly 17 points per game.
This came on the heels of a 67-win regular season, which itself followed an NBA-record 73-9 mark in 2015-16. Needless to say, Golden State heads into the Finals as odds-on favorites to win the title, no matter who it takes on.