The favorites (if you consider the Pacers and Grizz the favorites, which Vegas currently does) all reared up and took Game Three of their series, thereby re-wresting home court advantage and putting themselves in a great statistical place as far the odds of winning the series.
Today, our plucky underdog Warriors, who are currently 7-2 ATS in the Playoffs, will try to salvage Game Four at home and ensure this series will be a long and contentious one. Lose today, and you can all but toe-tag the fun and gun gang from the Bay.
The bigger question that “can the Warriors even the series” is, “can Steph go at 100%?” The answer is probably “no”, but just how limited will the sprained ankle render him? Can he still get open today? We know he can get a shot off at any time, but in order to do so with any effectiveness, he is going to need to catch the ball somewhere within 25 feet of the bucket. Will his injured ankle allow him to get enough separation from Danny Green, or Tony Parker or Kwahi Leonard? We shall see… Tony Parker is also nursing a hurt calf, but he is expected to play with little ill-effects.
Let’s break down today’s critical Game Four for the Warriors in today’s free NBA Pick.
San Antonio Spurs -2.5 at Golden State Warriors (Total: 197)
It is easy to write of the Warriors at this point. Three days ago, pundits were loudly proclaiming them not just the series victor, but “clearly” the better team. What a difference a Game Three can make, huh? Now the Warriors are two and a half point underdogs at HOME and a large part of that are injury concerns. Obviously David Lee has been rendered nearly moot since his injury in Game One of the Nuggets series. Now scoring sensation Steph Curry is nursing a sprained ankle and there are some serious questions to his effectiveness today.
I am going to trust modern medicine and adrenaline and go on the record early and say that Steph will be fine today and will play well. I also expect Klay Thompson to bounce back in a big way this afternoon. He was terrible in Game Three. This is a jump-shooting team and when your two best jump shooters go a combined 12 for 37, you aren’t going to win many games.
On the Spurs side, Tony Parker had easily his best game of the series, and Timmy Duncan was HUGE with 23 points and 10 rebounds. They had their best games while the Warriors big guns had their worst games. And there you have it – a completely different result. That’s playoff basketball in a nutshell.
Just as it was an over-reaction to call the series over in the Warriors direction after Game Two, it is a similar over-reaction to proclaim the series over for San Antonio now. We have a long way to go, and I suspect things will be all knotted up at the end of today. Golden State played poorly in Game Three, but were the better team in the first two games of the series and possess one of the best home court advantages in the NBA. I like them riding the home crowd and some better shooting to a big win today.
Free Pick: Golden State Warriors +2.5