#723 Golden State Warriorsvs.#724 San Antonio Spurs
Saturday, May 5 2017, at 9:00pm EDT
Written by Chris Kubala
Golden State Warriors (10-0 SU, 6-4 ATS, 7-3 O/U) vs. San Antonio Spurs (7-6 SU, 7-6 ATS, 11-2 O/U)
NBA: Saturday, May 20, 2017, AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas, 9 pm ET
Line: Golden State -6; Over/Under: 212.5
It’s a critical Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals as the series shifts to the Lone Star State. The top-seeded Golden State Warriors are on the road as they face the second-seeded San Antonio Spurs Saturday night. Golden State took the first two games of the series at home, winning 113-111 in Game 1 and following that up with a 136-100 blowout win in Game 2. San Antonio holds a 106-57 advantage between the teams in the regular season, including two of three this season. The teams have split two previous playoff series with the Warriors holding a narrow 7-5 advantage in playoff victories between the teams.
Golden State had little problem dispatching the shorthanded Spurs in Game 2 of the series to take a 2-0 series advantage. The Warriors remained unbeaten in their first 10 postseason contests with the romp. Golden State jumped to a 17 point lead after the opening quarter and led by 28 at the half: by that point, the rout was on. The Warriors shot a blistering 56.2 percent from the field in the contest and drilled 18 of their 37 three point attempts. Golden State had 39 assists on 50 made field goals and forced 18 turnovers to overshadow 16 of their own. Stephen Curry had 29 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to lead seven Warriors in double figures in the win.
The Warriors come into this one #1 among postseason teams in scoring with 117.1 points per game. Golden State stands 2nd in rebounding with 45.4 per contest. The Warriors are first in the playoffs by dishing out 28 assists a night. Golden State is decent defensively as they are 3rd in scoring defense, allowing 100.1 points a night. Kevin Durant is the team’s second leading scorer this season, posting 23.8 points and seven rebounds per game. Stephen Curry adds a team high 28.6 points plus 5.8 assists while Klay Thompson contributes 14.6 points a night. Draymond Green is chipping in with 14.1 points, 8.9 rebounds, 7.1 assists, two steals and 2.3 blocks per game in the postseason. Zaza Pachulia, Andre Iguodala, David West and Shaun Livingston are key complementary pieces for the Warriors’ rotation. The Warriors are first in the playoffs, shooting 49.2 percent from the floor as a team. Golden State is 4th with 12 triples a night while the team stands tied for 3rd by sinking 39.1 percent of their attempts from beyond the arc.
San Antonio was without Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard in Game 2: the absence of both veterans proved costly as the team seemed rudderless. The Spurs don’t know Leonard’s status in this one but if there’s any way he can play, expect him on the floor. San Antonio was blown out in Game 2 as they never seemed in the game, trailing 33-16 after the opening quarter and seeing things snowball from there. The Spurs shot 37 percent from the floor and went 8 of 23 from beyond the arc while turning the ball over 18 times. San Antonio did manage to win the rebounding battle 49-40 on the strength of 22 offensive rebounds. Jonathon Simmons led the Spurs with 22 points: Davis Bertans, with 13 off the bench, was the only other player in double figures.
The Spurs are in the middle of the pack offensively in the playoffs, ranking 7th in scoring offense with 106.4 points per game. San Antonio comes in 3rd in rebounding with 44.5 boards a contest while the team is 8th in assists with 20.4 dimes per game. San Antonio is 7th in the league in scoring defense as they allow 103.4 points a game. Kawhi Leonard leads the team with 27.7 points, 7.7 rebounds and 1.67 steals per contest. LaMarcus Aldridge contributes 17 points plus 7.6 rebounds a night while Patty Mills chips in 10.3 points per game. Pau Gasol has stepped in and averaged 6.9 points and 6.8 rebounds in his first postseason with the team. Manu Ginobili, David Lee, Dewayne Dedmon, Jonathon Simmons (10.1 points), Tony Parker (15.9 points) and Danny Green all are looked at to contribute for coach Gregg Popovich’s team. With Parker out for the rest of the postseason, Mills will slide into the starting role and rookie Dejounte Murray is slotted as his backup. The Spurs are tied for 5th in the league by shooting 46.5 percent from the field. San Antonio is 10th in three point field goals per game with 8.9 per contest. The Spurs are currently 8th in the postseason by knocking down a solid 35.9 percent of their long range attempts.
San Antonio has its proverbial back up against the wall here as the chances of winning four straight against the Warriors should they fall behind 3-0 in the series are slim. The Spurs clearly missed Leonard in Game 2 and he needs to find a way to play here if at all possible, even if it’s a Willis Reed situation. San Antonio has to start fast and put the Warriors on their heels. The crowd has to stay in it and the Spurs have to get more from Gasol, Aldridge and company. San Antonio, with Popovich motivating them, gets a gritty win: take the points as well.
San Antonio was dreadful in Game 2: while some of that can be chalked up to the absence of Leonard, the fact remains you can’t play that poorly on both ends of the floor in the same game and hope to prevail. Aldridge and Gasol combined to do practically nothing on the offensive end: if you recall, Aldridge had a huge performance in Game 6 against the Rockets when Leonard sat out with the ankle injury. Golden State is showing their depth and talent pool is dangerous, especially when everyone is knocking down shots. It’s unlikely that they will shoot 56 percent from the floor again, especially on the road but they’re a dangerous team no matter how you slice it.
The over is 5-1 in the Warriors last 6 road games, 5-1 in their last 6 games following a ATS win, 5-1 in their last 6 when their opponent allows 100 points or more in their previous game and 4-1 in their last five overall. San Antonio has seen the over go 4-0 in their last 4 home games, 4-0 in their last 4 games following a straight up loss of more than 10 points, 10-1 in their last 11 when their opponent scores 100 points or more in their previous game and 8-1 in their last 9 after allowing 100 points or more in their previous game. After Game 2’s explosion of points even without Leonard, look for this one to go over as well.
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Christopher Kubala has been crunching stats and following sports for over 30 years. His in depth analysis and passion for sports have led him to writing books about sports, regularly being featured on sports talk radio and as the go-to person for any obscure trivia. He keeps an eye on transactions and statistics like a hawk, especially when it comes to football, both the NFL and college, the NHL, the NBA and college basketball and MLB.