For the second year in a row, the Golden State Warriors and San Antonio Spurs will meet in the NBA playoffs. Only this time around, instead of a trip to the finals, it’s a spot in the second round that’s at stake.
All games in this series will be broadcast on either ABC or TNT (full schedule). If you don’t have cable or can’t get to a TV, you can watch all of the games live on your computer, phone or streaming device by signing up for one of the following cable-free, live-TV streaming services:
Hulu With Live TV: In addition to a Netflix-like on-demand streaming library, Hulu now also offers a bundle of live TV channels, including both ABC (live in select markets) and TNT. You can sign up right here, and you can then watch a live stream of the games on your computer via the Hulu website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Hulu app.
DirecTV Now: ABC (live in select markets) and TNT are both included in all four of DirecTV Now’s channel packages. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial no matter what package you choose, and you can then watch the games live on your computer via the DirecTV Now website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the DirecTV Now app.
Sling TV: ABC (live in select markets) and TNT are included in the “Sling Orange” channel package. You can sign up for a free 7-day trial, and you can then watch the games live on your computer via the Sling TV website, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the Sling TV app.
WatchESPN: You can also watch games that are broadcast on ABC on your computer via ESPN.com, or on your phone, tablet or streaming device via the WatchESPN app. While games on ESPN and ESPN2 require you to sign in to a TV provider, ABC games can be watched for free without cable if you have a participating internet service provider (ISP). Even if you don’t, you can still sign in with your Hulu, DirecTV Now or Sling TV credentials to watch on the ESPN platforms.
If someone told you at the beginning of the season that the Warriors and Spurs were going to meet in the playoffs, it would have been a believable statement–only you would have thought it’d be in the Western Conference finals or semifinals. Not the first round.
But the Spurs, playing without superstar Kawhi Leonard for the majority of the season, finished with their worst record of the Gregg Popovich era–the fact that 47-35 is the worst record of the Pop era is absurd, by the way–and will now have to face the defending champs in the opening round of the postseason.
Of course, the defending champs won’t really be the defending champs this series, as star point guard Steph Curry, who suffered a Grade 2 MCL sprain back in March, is expected to miss at least the first round of the playoffs. That’s concerning considering the Warriors went 41-10 in games with Curry and just 17-14–including losses in 10 of their last 17–without him. With him on the court, the Dubs score 120.4 points per 100 possessions with a plus-14.7 net rating. With him off the court, they score just 106.1 points per 100 possessions with a mere plus-2.9 net rating.
For the first time in seemingly years, the Dubs seem vulnerable going into a playoff series.
All that said, the Warriors got what appears to be a favorable matchup. They beat the Spurs by 37 combined points in the first two meetings of the season (both with Curry), beat them by three in a game Curry played just two minutes because of an ankle injury, and then lost by 14 a few weeks ago, but that was without Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson.
Now, Durant, Thompson and Draymond Green are all back healthy, and while the Warriors aren’t nearly as dangerous without Curry, they are still nevertheless dangerous. But while they are expected to ultimately advance over the team they swept in the West finals a year ago, it may not be quite as easy this time around.