San Antonio at L.A. Clippers
Time: 9:30 PM CST
Spread: LAC -2
Betting odds c/o Bovada
The San Antonio Spurs didn’t get the start to its postseason that a defending champ would like, falling on the road to the higher seeded Los Angeles Clippers in a game that wasn’t even that close, with Chris Paul and company winning 107-92.
Despite that blowout, oddsmakers are confident Gregg Popovich and the Spurs will rebound, setting the line just 2-points in favor of the hosting Clippers in NBA live odds. The total is set high at 207, given that game 1 resulted in a total of just 199. For an explanation of how to bet these odds, see our NBA odds explained.
Paul showed why he is determined to bring a championship to the Clippers organization, which has never won one. In 37 minutes of play, he hit 13 of 20 from the floor en route to 32 points and a plus-20 differential while on the court. He had just six assists and turned it over three times, but he was playing the role of a scorer in a vaunted matchup with former Finals MVP Tony Parker. He all but shut down TP, limiting him to just 10 points and one assist in 28 minutes of play. Cory Joseph and Patty Mills combined for 22 minutes and 11 points, but Paul’s defense and scoring was on point all night.
That bodes extremely well for the Clippers, given the Spurs ability to defend the interior. The Clippers outscored San Antonio 46-40 in the paint and 23-12 in fast break points, building a 20-point lead behind the transition play of Paul and Blake Griffin. Griffin finished with 23 points on 9 of 20 shooting, which helped compensate for an off night by J.J. Redick (4 of 13).
Jamal Crawford stepped up for the occasion to as a former Sixth Man of the Year award winner. “J-Crossover” had a number of jaw dropping plays and finished with 17 points while hitting 7 of 10 from the floor. When the Clips get both Paul and Crawford playing at the top of their games, the result is double-digit victories like Game 1.
San Antonio received an uncharacteristically quiet performance from future Hall of Famer Tim Duncan. The 38-year-old attempted 10 field goals, hitting four, to finish with a humble 11 points and 11 rebounds, while making a handful of nice passes which resulted in four assists. San Antonio did take care of the glass, holding a plus-3 advantage on the boards.
The Spurs mostly have to blame Parker and top reserve Manu Ginobili, who came in to fire just 3 of 10. Boris Diaw was wildly ineffective, as well, going 2 of 12 from the floor though he too had five assists. The Spurs finished with 25 assists, which is exceptionally high given that they were blown out. The offense was clicking, but it was the defense in this case that held San Antonio back. The Clippers went on far too many runs and the result eventually became a 20-point lead.
Typically the Spurs respond well to runs, but in Game 1 the shots that would have resulted in the comeback were rimming out, as the Spurs shot just 30.3 percent from three-point range, well below 36.7 percent mark during the season. That would have resulted in a couple more threes, which along with a better first quarter, would have had the Spurs in the game. San Antonio cannot afford to come out and fall behind 18-30 after one period again, because the Clippers are headed by Paul’s smart play and he knows how to keep a lead. The Spurs fought back in the second but still trailed by four at the half before the Clippers came out of the gates strong to build a big lead in the third quarter which it maintained and built in the fourth.
The Clippers were 30-11 at home this season, so the Spurs will need to be the road team they have been in the past and not the one of the ’14-15 season that was just 22-19. San Antonio needs to be San Antonio, in other words, to win this series, instead of the shadow of the team it has been through a 55-27 regular season and game 1 blowout loss.