Warriors and Spurs begin first-round series

The Golden State Warriors open their title defense on Saturday afternoon against the San Antonio Spurs in Game 1 of their first-round NBA playoff series. It is a rematch of last year’s Western Conference Finals, but has a much different feel to it.

For one, the Spurs haven’t really been the Spurs this season, dropping to the seventh seed out west, and with 47 victories snapping their phenomenal streak of 18 years with at least 50 wins. Kawhi Leonard hasn’t played since January 13, suffering a quadriceps injury. San Antonio was 29-15 after that game, but just 18-20 afterward.

Leonard may or may not play this series — he was officially ruled out for Game 1 — but nearly everything about his injury has been odd. From our own Tom Ziller:

But this situation is so unbelievably weird that you never know what twist could come. Is there a bigger X-factor in the entire league right now? Imagine the look on the Warriors’ faces if he’s back for Game 1.

Golden State limped the finish as well, just 7-10 down the stretch to finish with only 58 wins, which is still excellent but off their average of 69 wins in the previous three seasons.

Steph Curry played just once in those final 17 games, suffering an MCL sprain that will likely keep him out until the second round.

The Warriors won three of the four regular season meetings between these two teams, with the Spurs lone win coming in their last meeting, an 89-75 win in San Antonio in a game played without Kevin Durant, who averaged 28 points on 60% shooting in last year’s conference finals sweep.

Warriors vs. Spurs Game 1 info

Location: Oracle Arena, Oakland, Calif.

Game time: 3 p.m. ET

TV: ABC

Announcers: Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy, Mark Jackson

Online streaming: Watch ESPN

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