NBA: 4 Teams That Could Beat the Warriors in the Playoffs

Jason Miller/Getty Images

Jason Miller/Getty Images

With the Golden State Warriors currently sitting at 53-5, a serious must be considered: Can anyone beat this team in the playoffs? While there’s still a strong chance that this Warriors team could break the current 72-win record held by the Chicago Bulls, that’s a whole different argument. For now, let’s discuss a few teams that may be able to defeat the Warriors and the ridiculously talented Stephen Curry in the postseason. Let’s start with the most popular choice, even if there’s reason to believe they won’t be able to get the job done.

Cleveland Cavaliers

Many people aren’t completely sold on the Cavaliers right now. They may have LeBron James, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Love, and they’re 41-15 right now, but we’ve seen those three players have some issues clicking at times. Despite the semi-dysfunction between these three players, the Cavaliers have been strong coming out of the All-Star break. On top of that, they have an impressive 24-5 home record, which is nice to see.

The problem? Their 17-10 record on the road, as they’d play the Warriors with Golden State holding home court in the playoffs. Let’s be honest, the real reason why the Cavaliers are even on this list is one man, and it’s James. He’s ridiculously talented and can put this team on his back whenever he’s called upon.

Oklahoma City Thunder

We probably won’t forget this for a very long time. Fortunately, the Thunder probably won’t either. With a combination of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant, if there’s any team who has the firepower to keep up with Curry and the Warriors, it’s the Thunder. Sure, this team has kinks to work out, and at this moment are 41-18, but this rivalry is developing quickly. Plus, Westbrook versus Curry on the biggest stage of all? Sounds epic. To clarify, choosing the Thunder to beat the Warriors in a seven-game series is a long shot, but they’re one of the most likely candidates to do it.

Los Angeles Clippers

Harry How/Getty Images

Harry How/Getty Images

The Clippers and Warriors have put together a nice rivalry recently, and while the Clippers haven’t knocked off the Warriors in 2016 yet, seeing them play in the postseason would be pretty incredible. Imagine a healthy Blake Griffin combined with Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, as well as sharpshooters J.J. Redick and Jamal Crawford? We’re on board for a playoff series that features that team against Curry, Klay Thompson, Draymond Green, Harrison Barnes, and the rest of the Warriors.

Golden State absolutely has LA’s number right now, but could that change if the two met in the postseason? That’s completely up in the air, but the Clippers are 38-20 and have been playing without Griffin, making their ability to remain in the top four of the tough Western Conference even more impressive. Don’t sleep on the Clippers, but as good as they are, they aren’t the top choice to take down the Warriors.

San Antonio Spurs

While these four teams aren’t ranked in a specific order, the Spurs would probably sit just ahead of the Thunder in terms of teams that could take down the Warriors in a series. Not only do the Spurs have one of the best coaches in NBA history in Gregg Popovich, but they also have a 50-9 record thus far, which is largely overlooked due to Golden State’s success. San Antonio is not only 28-0 at home, but they’re 22-9 on the road as well, showing that they could potentially be the team to get the job done.

The Spurs not only have experience (Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili), but they have strong shooters in Danny Green and Patty Mills, as well as a budding star in Kawhi Leonard. Let’s not forget about free agent acquisition, LaMarcus Aldridge, who could make life tough for the Warriors’ front line. We predict that the Spurs square off against the Warriors in the Western Conference Finals this season, which could be one of the best seven games we’ve seen in quite a while.

Follow Jeff Smith on Twitter @JSM8ith

Statistics courtesy of ESPN.com and Basketball-Reference.com.

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