SAN ANTONIO -- Beware the grinning coach who brings cheery players into Tim Duncan's house and giggles at the thought of taking down the mighty Spurs.

Hey Mark Jackson, think the guys are feeling any pressure right now?

"The Spurs?" the Warriors coach answered with a meaningful chuckle.

No, your team.

"Naw, there's no pressure," Jackson said before the Warriors practice at the AT&T Center on Sunday. "We're playing with house money. I mean, this is fun.

"I showed the guys the board yesterday before practice. You've got OKC playing Memphis and the Spurs playing ... the Golden State Warriors?"

With Game 1 set for Monday, and the Spurs stacked with multiple future Hall of Famers, this is the obvious and logical motivational move.

The Warriors survived a hammer-and-tong struggle against a Denver team they considered their equal, and now the Spurs are a big step up the ladder.

So Jackson is playing down the Warriors' reputation and gushing about Duncan, Gregg Popovich, Tony Parker and probably the Spurs ball boys if he could get their names.

If anyone should be feeling pressure, Jackson is implying, it should be the Spurs, not his guys.

And yet, you know what? The Warriors have what it takes to beat the Spurs -- the right star player, the right chemistry, just the right level of calm cockiness.

But it won't be in these playoffs.

Give the Warriors and Stephen Curry another year to grow and one more good player and they'll have exactly what it takes to trip up Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili.

But the Nuggets were the ideal matchup because they had nobody to match Curry and because they were emotional and undisciplined.

The Spurs have their Big Three and they have the discipline to cash in on every opportunity.

"The Nuggets -- up and down, random, unpredictable often," Jackson said. "With this (Spurs) team, they execute you to death, they move the ball, they share the ball, they trust one another."

In the last series, the Warriors frustrated Denver by slowing down the pace, but also had weird terrible moments of their own.

Against Denver, with all that going on, the Warriors' big Curry-fueled scoring bursts were enough.

"Polar opposite," Andrew Bogut said, comparing Denver and the Spurs.

"With San Antonio, you've got to grind that and just grind and grind... They're not affected by physicality or whatever it is. They've seen everything."

So yes, with Curry at full flight, Bogut banging with Duncan in the middle, and Harrison Barnes, Klay Thompson and Jarrett Jack going toe-to-toe with their San Antonio counterparts, the Warriors have a lot of ways to hurt San Antonio.

But the Spurs won't break down and give Curry open looks when he gets red-hot, as Denver did.

And the Warriors will be challenged to stop Duncan; they'll be challenged to stop Parker; they'll be challenged to stop Ginobili.

And they'll be challenged not to over-play any of them, because that frees up the Spurs' collection of willing and able 3-point shooters.

"I think that's the tough part about defending them -- you have to defend everybody on the court," Jack said. "Everybody on the court is a live option."

When the Spurs lose, it's usually to a team that physically overwhelms them -- Memphis two seasons ago and Oklahoma City last year.

The Warriors won't physically overwhelm San Antonio. Not this season.

Not with Curry just starting his playoff legend and still limping, Bogut also gritting through ankle pain, David Lee a huge injury question mark and three rookies in the rotation.

By next year -- if the Warriors are healthier and have added one more athletic wing player -- I think they probably will be ready to topple San Antonio or possibly anybody.

Not this time, not quite yet, even with all the house money they have accumulated this postseason and all the pressure they want to put on the Spurs.

Prediction: San Antonio in five games.

Read Tim Kawakami's Talking Points blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/kawakami. Contact him at tkawakami@mercurynews.com.

Monday's game
Game 1: Warriors at San Antonio, 6:30 p.m. TNT
INSIDE
Center Andrew Bogut is making up for lost time. Page 5
Warriors-Spurs on Sunday deemed worthy of a major network. Page 5


ONLINE EXTRA
For more on the Warriors, go to WWW.mercurynews.com/warriors
Read Marcus Thompson's "Inside the Warriors" blog at WWW.ibabuzz.com/warriors