Head to Head: Spurs lead series 2-1 25/10/16: Spurs 129 @ Warriors 100 11/3/17: Warriors 85 @ Spurs 107 29/3/17: Warriors 100 @ Spurs 98 What you need to know Let's face it, if you don't know everything there is to know about the Dubs and the Spurs by now then either you've been living under a rock, or Draymond recently kicked you in the head. The regular season between these two won't tell us much, especially given one of the games was the equivalent of a reserves match. The two teams have essentially split most of their recent games, but they haven't met in the playoff since 2013. Back then the old guard Spurs beat the nascent Warriors in a hard fought series. Given that names like Duncan, Diaw, Barnes, Bogut, Jack, Landry were prevalent then, that's about as far as we're going to analyse that series for now. It was that long ago that Tracy McGrady was still playing (remember that?) and Mark Jackson had coaching credibility. Stats stuff * These are the two top rated defensive teams in the league... go figure. * The Spurs are a good rebounding team, the Dubs give up second chances most generously. * Both teams are elite when it comes to perimeter shooting, although the Dubs will fire more often. * Interestingly these are also the top two shot blocking teams in the league, despite neither boasting a supreme swatter (unless you count Javale) * Pace will be interesting in this series - the Warriors will want to play quicker. * Neither team really lives at the free throw line, pull ups and step backs will be the order of the day. Key areas Grumpy Old Men - given his long history with Steve Kerr, Pop has generally been on his best behaviour during Spurs/Dubs games - it has given games between these two an unusually friendly facade. With Mike Brown presumably on the Warriors bench however, Pop will be free to return to his usual irascible self. This can only be a good thing. Patty Thrills - the Spurs seemed to have good chemistry in the games in which Mills started against the Rockets, and his shooting seemed to give LMA in particular extra space to work in. If he can survive chasing Steph around a million screens, the starting job is his to lose. Break Glass in Emergency - it's fair to say the Warriors bench hasn't really been needed thus far during walkovers against Portland and Utah. They probably will in this series though - the good news is that the likes of Igoudala, West and Livingston have been here before. The Big Question Does Pau Gasol have a place in this series, or it time for Pop to release the Simmons? Although his performance against the Rockets was eye-catching, the reality is that Jonathan Simmons has been doing work all season. Facing a team with Klay Thompson and Andre Igoudala at the wings, he seems a natural to figure prominently. Gasol on the other hand... he might play opposite Zaza Pachulia, but beyond that it's tough to see where he fits here. If the Spurs want to mirror the Dubs, they'll likely have Aldridge on Draymond and let Kawhi and Durant battle it out at the nominal four spot. When it comes to reserve minutes, Lee vs West (battle of the exes) and McGee vs Dedmon seem the most likely match-ups, yet Gasol is still too productive to eschew completely. How and when Pop uses him will be fascinating. Prediction The Dubs have breezed through a shootout in round 1 and a mismatch of styles in round 2, while the Spurs have slugged it out against the ever-feisty Grizzlies and hyper-charged Rockets. There's a chance that the Dubs might be a little rusty, which means the Spurs should circle Game 1 as an opportunity. On the other hand the Warriors are rested and at near enough full strength against an opponent that having to adapt on the fly after losing their starting point guard. The Dubs are a tough nut to crack at the best of times without the added benefit of extra rest and better health. Unless Aldridge goes ham, it's tough to see the Spurs matching the Warriors for firepower over the course of a series. Just give 'em a good series, that's all we (and LeBron) ask Pop.