Golden State at San Antonio
Time: 8 PM CT (ESPN)
Spread: GSW -11
Odds c/o 5dimes
The San Antonio Spurs kept it close for a little over two-quarters of Saturday night’s Game 3 loss, but eventually, the Golden State Warriors proved to be too much, taking a 3-0 lead as the Dubs look to close it out with a sweep tonight. Of course, given that the Spurs have played most of this series without its leading scorer and best player in Kawhi Leonard, the outcome could not be any more expected. To be sure, the Spurs are a superb team, but removing any team’s No. 1 option against the Warriors is more than crippling. Golden State enters as 11-point favorites in tonight’s game, and the Spurs may simply roll over and die.
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Gregg Popovich is the one factor that cannot be ignored by the Warriors. He has been able to keep the Spurs as competitive as possible without Leonard, but overall the talent differential simply cannot be overcome against a Dubs team that features two former MVP winners and two other legitimate All-Stars in Klay Thompson and Draymond Green. Thompson has struggled most of the 2017 postseason, however, and the aforementioned MVP winners, Stephen Curry and Kevin Durant, have both been respectively brilliant. ‘
Durant had a team-high 33 points in Game 3, and Curry chipped in 21 more, along with six steals as the Spurs turned it over 15 times in the game. San Antonio played a sound offensive game, though, shooting 47.3 percent from the field and managing to stay in the game if not for a poor second quarter that saw their four-point lead turn into a nine-point deficit by halftime. It will take a resounding brilliance over 48 minutes for the Spurs to pull an improbable victory, and even that may be without much meaning given that Leonard is not expected to return this postseason.
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All in all, it has to sting as disappointing for a Spurs team that won 61 regular season games and was expected to at least pose a threat to the reigning Western Conference Champs. But at this point, it would be unsurprising to see Mike Brown empty the Warriors bench and give the reserves even more minutes than what they saw in Game 3. Andre Iguodala, Patrick McCaw, Shawn Livingston, Ian Clark and David West all saw double-digit minutes, and that easily could be the case again. The Warriors shot 54.8 percent from the floor in Game 3, nut the bench was solid in its own right, shooting a collective 10 of 20 (50 percent).
Golden State also was effective with the triple in connecting on 11 of 27 (40.7 percent) and there was scarcely a fault to be found other than the fact that the Spurs did get off to a hot start which led to the Dubs trailing by four points after the first quarter. However, it will take more than a hot start and some good ball by LaMarcus Aldridge to overcome such a stacked Warriors club. Aldridge did show signs of life in Game 3, connecting on 7 of 17 from the field to finish with 18 points, but the Spurs truthfully need that figure to be up over 30 points to even have a chance with Durant’s antics on the other end.
If nothing else this game can serve as something of a tune up for the Warriors before facing an equally hot Cleveland Cavaliers team in the NBA Finals. Cleveland did fall in Game 2 to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals, but it still seems a foregone conclusion that there will be a repeat of Dubs-Cavs in the NBA Finals, and Golden State needs all parties on for that one–including the struggling Thompson, who has yet to really establish his groove and momentum in this year’s postseason.