The popular narrative throughout the season was that any one of six teams could represent the ultra-talented Western Conference in the
But with the playoffs set to begin Saturday, oddsmakers are focusing on two teams in the West:
And the second pick? The ageless wonders and defending champion
The Spurs rediscovered their magic in the last two months and seem ready to defend their crown after winning 21 of their last 25 games. Spurs Coach
San Antonio's 11-game winning streak, though, was snapped in the regular-season finale at New Orleans and that left the Spurs as the sixth seed, so they face the No. 3-seeded
Meanwhile, the Warriors emerged as the most exciting and entertaining team in the NBA, thanks to the talented "Splash Brothers," their All-Star guards
Golden State lost just two games at raucous Oracle Arena during a franchise-best season, going 39-2. Guess who pinned one of those losses on the Warriors at home?
Yes, the Spurs.
The Warriors are loaded with talent, starting with MVP candidate Curry, Thompson, defensive player of the year candidate
And that's why the Warriors are a betting favorite to win the franchise's first NBA championship since 1975.
The Clippers are a capable team with its core group of Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, DeAndre Jordan,
They have one of the league's best in-game coaches in
Houston, the No. 2 seed, faces the seventh-seeded
And keep in mind that Dallas was the only team to extend San Antonio to seven games in last year's playoffs.
Memphis can grind any team down with its big-man tandem of
Portland is the fourth seed because it won the Northwest Division, but will open at Memphis because the
New Orleans reached the playoffs on the back of young superstar
But the Spurs continue to be driven this season, after being obsessed with beating Miami in the 2014 NBA Finals, following an excruciating Game 7 loss to the Heat in the 2013 Finals.
"The Spurs are the best team in the NBA, as far as I'm concerned," Rivers said. "They are the last team to win the title. And until someone beats them, no matter what all our records are, they're the best. They've been the benchmark and I think all of us know that."