It's time to find out if the Golden State Warriors are a legitimate contenders or a young squad that has bitten off more than it can chew. Mark Jackson's team opens the conference semifinals against the San Antonio Spurs on Monday night and with that, here are the questions we'll be searching for answers to in Game 1.
Which team wins the three-point shooting battle?
Golden State's three-point shooting hasn't taken a backseat in the playoffs. Like the regular season, the Warriors are shooting 40 percent as a team to lead all playoff squads, and how well San Antonio can contain the shots with the length of Kawhi Leonard, Danny Green and even Tony Parker will be key. In short, what are the Spurs willing to give up if they commit to doing everything in their power to run the shooters off the three-point line.
The Spurs are third in three-point accuracy, which is also reflective of the regular season. San Antonio, however, is taking four less three-pointers per game in the postseason as it was during the year and are third-to-last in attempts -- perhaps it was because they could get easier buckets in a sweep against the Lakers.
Will Curry out-duel Parker?
Tony Parker has been a darkhorse MVP candidate for the past few seasons, but it's Stephen Curry who arguably has been the MVP of the playoffs. He putting up 24.3 points and 9.3 assists per game while shooting 47 percent overall and 44 percent from behind the three-point arc. Parker will have his own say in the series by probing and prodding the Warriors' defense, using his quickness to attack once he finds a weakness.
But this matchup has just as much to do with the men on the bench in the suits. How Mark Jackson and Gregg Popovich decide to defend the opposing point guard will go a long way in this series, and Game 1 will provide the first glance at what each team is hoping to take away from the other.
Do the fledgling Warriors have a fighting chance?
Win or lose, the feel of the game will give young Golden State a chance to assess how close it might be to the NBA's elite. As is the case for any major underdog, it'll at least go far in instilling confidence in the Warriors should they be able to compete. But if San Antonio can turn Game 1 into a laugher, Gregg Popovich's team will be in dandy shape.
And sure, the Warriors grew up against the Nuggets in the first round. Proving they look like the same grizzled team against one that actually is in the Spurs will say a lot about their chances.
Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
Odds: San Antonio opened as eight-point favorites.