Some order restored. Some chaos introduced.
It was an interesting night in the NBA playoffs as two road teams erased the memory of home-game stinkers as Toronto and Oklahoma City went on the road and grabbed easy double-digit road wins to reestablish home court advantage and take firm control of the series. But not so fast for the Golden State Warriors. Sure, Steph rested and it STILL took a last second basket by James Harden to cap off a monster performance to steal a home court win. But it was a loss nonetheless, and now introduces the real need to get Steph back for Game Four to put this series to bed before things get REAL interesting in Round Two.
A few have gone as far as to suggest that the Spurs are now the NBA Title favorite. I am still sticking with Golden State, but should Steph’s ankle prove more problematic, San Antonio looks like a lot more viable option. They opened the postseason as 4/1 to win the title. After Steph’s ankle, that number is as low as +300 or +325.
Let’s see if we can start the weekend off right and put last week’s miserable NBA run in the rear view mirror…
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Today’s Free Pick:
San Antonio Spurs -10.5 at Memphis Grizzlies
This postseason has largely belonged to the favorites. In the West, only two underdogs have covered in a game (last night’s Rockets win and the obvious Game Two for Dallas at OKC). These series have been dominated by the better team, which isn’t a stunner given the GULF between the top four teams and everyone else. But still the MARGINS have been a little eye-opening. With favorites 8-2 ATS in the West, it is hard to be scared off by just about any number that gets thrown out tonight in Memphis. Sure, the series have shifted to the Grizz’s home floor, but they just don’t have the bodies or talent to give San Antonio any real contest.
The first two games have been non-games; San Antonio has won by a combined 200-142 and it feels like they’ve been a little generous in letting Memphis hang around as much as they have. They are struggling to score 70 points a night, and even at home, it is hard to see them getting much over 80 against the Spurs stingy defense.
San Antonio is keen to put this series to bed early, and go get rested up for an intriguing series against Oklahoma City. Look for them to come out strong tonight, bury the Grizzlies melting spirit, and dominate this game throughout.
I’ll lay the 10.5 and would probably consider going as high as 16 or 17. This series is NO CONTEST. Computer simulations have this as a 109-76 Spurs win. I don’t think it gets QUITE that ugly tonight, but it won’t be competitive.