SAN ANTONIO -- When the Warriors take the floor Monday for Game 4 of the Western Conference Finals, they’ll be staring not only into the faces of the San Antonio Spurs but also at the prospect of history.
With a 3-0 series lead, the Warriors will attempt to become the first team in NBA history to begin a postseason with 12 wins in a row and three consecutive four-game sweeps.
A victory also would send the Warriors to the NBA Finals for the third time in as many seasons.
The Spurs, reeling with the loss of All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard, are trying to avoid being swept for the first time since 2010.
Warriors by 11.5
MATCHUP TO WATCH:
JaVale McGee & Co. vs. LaMarcus Aldridge: McGee roasted Aldridge and anyone else the Spurs put in the paint in the first half of Game 3. Aldridge put up little defense and didn’t hurt the Warriors on offense. From McGee to David West to Draymond Green to Kevin Durant, the Warriors never let Aldridge get comfortable on the block. Forcing him to shoot jumpers is the plan, and it has been working. If Aldridge can’t deliver a monster game, the Spurs are done.
Warriors: F Andre Iguodala (L knee soreness) is listed as probable but expected to play. C Zaza Pachulia (R heel contusion) was listed as questionable and ruled out 90 minutes before tip-off. F Kevon Looney (L hip strain) is listed as doubtful.
Spurs: F Kawhi Leonard (L ankle sprain) was listed as doubtful and officially ruled out by Gregg Popovich less than two hours before tip-off. G Tony Parker (L quadriceps tendon rupture) is listed as out.
ROAD TO THE CONFERENCE FINALS:
The Warriors finished the regular season with a 67-15 record to earn the No. 1 overall seed in the postseason. They swept four games from Portland in the first round, and then swept four games from Utah in the conference semifinals.
The Spurs (61-21) earned the No. 2 overall seed. They defeated Memphis in six games in the first round, and then defeated Houston in six games in the conference semifinals.
Prior to winning the first three games of the series, the Warriors lost two of three to San Antonio in the regular season. In the three seasons since Steve Kerr took over as coach, the Warriors are 8-5 against the Spurs, postseason included. The teams last met in the playoffs in the 2012-13 conference semifinals, with San Antonio winning in six games.
THREE THINGS TO WATCH:
THE START: In each of the first two Game 4s this postseason, the Warriors have opened up double-digit leads within five minutes and led by no fewer than 22 points after one quarter. The exhibited a merciless closeout mentality. They will try to do the same here. Will the Spurs allow it?
THE GRIME GAME: With each team accusing the other of dirty play, it’ll be interesting to see how players conduct themselves in a potential closeout game. The Spurs want to extend the series in hopes of getting Leonard back. The Warriors want to end it and tend to their various aches and pains. Will the team keep it clean?
STEPH STALKING KOBE: Stephen Curry enters the game with 290 made 3-pointers in playoff games, ranking sixth on the all-time list. He needs three more triples to surpass Lakers legend Kobe Bryant (292) and move into fifth place.