Golden State at San Antonio
Time: 8:30 PM CT (TNT)
Spread: GSW -3
Odds c/o 5dimes
For one half, it appeared as though the San Antonio Spurs, and coach Gregg Popovich specifically, had solved the mystery of Golden State. The Spurs slowed the first half of Game 2 into a grind-it-out affair, and it looked as though it was really going to work for a severely outmatched Spurs team.
San Antonio led the Warriors by a count of 53-47 at the half, but that six-point lead turned into a double-digit loss as the Dubs came out firing and scoring in typical fashion while amassing an insurmountable 69 points in the second half of the game.
Kevin Durant went nuts in the third quarter and finished with 32 points, while Klay Thompson put up 31 of his own, and the Warriors showed that even without Stephen Curry there is plenty of talent available to easily dispose of a Kawhi Leonard-less Spurs club. Game 3 has the Warriors listed as just 3-point favorites, and that is likely due to the fact that the Spurs guards can more easily control the tempo without the raucous backing of Oracle Arena fans.
If San Antonio sneaks a game in this series, tonight is the night to do it. Further complementing the notion that tonight is a lower scoring game is the 206 point line set by NBA oddsmakers on the point total. The game tips off at 8:30 PM (CT) on TNT, and will conclude the trifecta of playoff action available to NBA fans tonight.
One big change for the Spurs in its improved showing in Game 2 was just exactly what this writer said needed to happen: LaMarcus Aldridge went back to Portland style play. The power forward shot 11 of 21, hitting his patented mid-range jumper smoothly while also grabbing 12 boards and dishing out three assists. He finished -8 for his 37 minutes of court time, but he looked so at home during the slow pace of the first half. Patty Mills contributed 21 points, and Pau Gasol was especially good in the first half too.
Sure, it is just 24 minutes of Spurs basketball, but it did help to show just how good San Antonio can be while it is playing its own game. Moreover, the Spurs had just nine turnovers in Game 3, which kept San Antonio in the game during its dry spells as it shot just 41 percent from the field. Additionally, Golden State held a +4 advantage on the glass, largely due to a strong team effort— no Warrior had more than seven rebounds individually!
Golden State really just executed Game 3 pretty much to perfection after the intermission took away San Antonio’s steam. Durant got 19 field goal attempts and Thompson had 20, which is pretty requisite while the team is without two-time MVP Curry. Draymond Green was still something of a non-factor offensively, but that is to ignore his six assists in lieu of his 2 of 9 shooting. His impact will always be felt because even during offensive slumps, Green’s intangibles remain on display and his man-to-man defense rarely suffers during a “bad game.”
The prediction here is that the Warriors do have a “bad game” and still win, by the slimmest of margins, potentially involving an Overtime period or two. San Antonio can keep this close it showed during Game 2, despite still losing by double-figures. That is the only takeaway to be made because it is exceedingly unlikely a team with such mediocre offensive weapons minus Leonard manages to beat a team led by the best scoring swingman of all time, in Durant (Sure, argue away). Warriors take a 3-0 edge tonight on the shoulders of the “Slim Reaper.”