The Warriors dropped their third game of the season last night, losing a surprising contest to the Nuggets, though it was a little less surprising with the late day announcement that Draymond Green was going to be “resting.” Not “hurt.” “Resting.”
Thanks Dubs. I took the loss along with the Warriors as I went with the team covering 75% of its road games visiting a team covering 30% of its home games, and a team that was seemingly at full strength before the late day announcement.
I’m not whining. Well, yeah, I guess I am whining a little bit. More just venting some frustration with the ever-growing trend of randomly sitting out superstars in the midst of this grindhouse of an NBA schedule. As always, it is worth a quick look at the daily ticker to see if any key players are getting some “rest” despite the occasionally late notice and vagaries leading up to tip time.
Ok, time for me to change my diaper and get back to business. There are just six games on the typically light Thursday NBA slate, but as usual, there are a few good ones, highlighted by the fantastic must-watch trip of the Cavaliers to San Antonio. Let’s hope both teams dress their full complement of stars.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Cleveland Cavaliers at San Antonio Spurs -5.5
The last time the Spurs lost at home, it was to these Cleveland Cavaliers.
Of course, that was in the 2014-2015 season. Since then, the Spurs have been perfect, starting this season with 22 straight home wins and closing in on the Western Conference record of 26 straight. And they aren’t just winning, they are demolishing teams. They have a +16.1 ppg differential at home, which would be second in NBA history only to the historic 73-9 Chicago Bulls. Overall, they are 14.1, which WOULD be the best ever. Here’s some more gaudy numbers: The Spurs 93.5 points per 100 possessions would be the best since the Spurs recorded a 91.5 mark in 2003.
It is entirely possible while the world fawned at the feet of Steph and the Dubs, that the Spurs might actually be a BETTER team.
As staggering as that sounds, they can make another bold stake to that claim tonight by handling the Cavaliers.
Cleveland is similarly red-hot, winning eight straight and looking every bit the title contender since Kyrie Irving has begun to get healthy and in game-shape and form. The All Star point guard struggled a bit after returning but is fresh of a season-high scoring night in Dallas and is facing the team he notched a career-high 57 points against last season. I expect him to play well tonight, but also for the Spurs to be acutely aware of that performance from the prior season.
Right now, as great as Cleveland is and is becoming, no one save the Warriors (and that will be seen shortly – and wonderfully) is on the plane of the Spurs right now. Add in the fact that this is the fourth straight road game for Cleveland and it doesn’t bode well for the road upset. Prior to their road win 128-125 last season on Kyrie’s 57 points, they had lost four straight against the Spurs. I expect San Antonio to ratchet it up tonight and defend their home court and home winning streak. I’ll lay the 5.5 begrudgingly. I expect the Cavs to compete, but in the end, the Spurs to be just too efficient on both ends of the court to combat on their fourth road game in a week. Cleveland is just 1-5 ATS in their last six road games. San Antonio is 9-2 ATS in their last 11 at home.