NBA Western Conference Playoff Odds: L.A. Clippers at San Antonio Spurs—Game 3

Tim Duncan had 28 points and 11 rebounds in game 2
Tim Duncan had 28 points and 11 rebounds in game 2

L.A. Clippers at San Antonio
Time: 8:30 PM CST
Spread: SAS -4.5
M/L: SAS -190; LAC +165
O/U: 203

Betting odds c/o Bovada

The San Antonio Spurs needed overtime to assert its hand in the Best of 7 series with a Game 2 win that took the form of a 10-point win in the extra period. Tim Duncan accepted blame that it ever came down to overtime, but the veteran came through despite his own assessments and the Spurs tied the series 1-1.  It’s hard to place much of that on the 38-year old legend, given his 28 points and 11 rebounds in another dominant performance in his storied NBA career.

NBA oddsmakers are expecting Duncan and the Spurs to carry that momentum through into a home victory.

With the series shifting back to San Antonio, the Spurs are 4.5 point favorites in NBA live odds. The total is set at 203, and for an explanation of how to bet those odds see our NBA odds explained.

Manu Ginobili knows that there has been a Jekkyl/Hide situation affecting his team all season. He commented that “seeing the team play like this today was very important. Hopefully we bring the same sense of urgency (in game 3)…” That sense of urgency has to be there because if its not it could result in the defending champs going down in the first round.

The regular season was very uncharacteristically average for the Spurs, and to be a No. 6 seed must be humbling after dominating the regular season in 2013-14.

This series is the only one that is tied 1-1 after two games and Doc Rivers sees a good bit of entertainment in that, commenting that it is going to be “one helluva series.” The Clippers respect San Antonio enough not to let loose in this game. Jamal Crawford said of the Spurs experience that “they are battle tested” going on to cite that Patty Mills picked up the slack when Tony Parker went down with an Achilles injury.

Danny Green also filled in well for the fouled-out Manu Ginobili. The Spurs familiarity with the system and depth leads to just about any unit doing well on the court, which can’t even be said for other teams with great benches. With Parker and Ginobili going out, one got a glimpse of how little it will matter as the talents turn over in this organization. Parker is a few years away from degeneration age, but he’s readily replaced with Mills, who can be a very big threat.

More respect is afforded to Mills within players circles, because the pure basketball skills he possesses are readily apparent to other players. He had 18 points on 5 of 9 shooting while posting a plus-5 differential, the second best of any reserve (Matt Bonner’s plus-8 in five minutes aren’t a significant sample size though really).

The Spurs’ Boris Diaw had a very solid game and helped San Antonio sneak out to a 5-point lead at the half. Diaw hit 3 of 4 from the floor in the first quarter as the Spurs went up four, and he was very active in the fourth quarter, going 2 of 5 from the field with four shots in the paint. Diaw is an integral part of the Spurs’ symphony, and he keeps the offense flowing with great high post passing. San Antonio can thrive just with Diaw and Duncan moving the ball, and the Spurs had 26 assists on its 42 field goals in the game. San Antonio also only had nine turnovers in 53 minutes of basketball, while the Clips had 11, five of which came from Blake Griffin.

While the Clippers may have only been credited with that many turnovers, the number of bad shots forced due to play-disruption resulted in the Clippers shooting just 42 percent from the field. San Antonio can put the lid on the basket as well as any team in the league, and the Spurs showed that it is defense that can win this series for them. Both teams are capable of scoring en masse, but it will be the team that defends most intensely which is likely to take this series. At this point, it is a lot easier to imagine the Spurs doing that, and the fact that NBA oddsmakers favor San Antonio to go up 2-1 supports it.

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