San Antonio plays host to a Utah team that just picked up
its first victory. The Jazz avoided a 0-3 start on Friday by beating the
Philadelphia 76ers 102-99 at home.
Picking up the start in place of Al Jefferson, who's dealing
with an ankle injury, Derrick Favors made the most of his extended minutes. He
logged a team-high 20 points and 11 rebounds in the win.
His frontcourt partner, Paul Millsap, was productive as
well, recording a 14 point/14 rebound performance. Devin Harris, Gordan
Hayward, and C.J. Miles all finished with at least 10 points too.
The Spurs' start has been the exact opposite of Utah's. They
opened with two double-digit wins (over the Memphis Grizzlies and L.A.
Clippers) but then lost by 20 points to the Houston Rockets on Thursday.
Practically out of hand by halftime – the Rockets held an
18-point lead at that point – coach Gregg Popovich opted to give his bench some
extra court time. Tim Duncan played only 16 minutes and neither Manu Ginobili
or Tony Parker logged more than 27 minutes of action.
DeJuan Blair was the only San Antonio starter to show up,
ending with team-highs of 22 points and 12 rebounds. But the Spurs could not
survive a horrible shooting night in which they made only 37.6 percent from the
floor, including hitting only 2-of-17 from three.
The Spurs must find their scoring touch again this weekend,
up against a Utah squad that's eclipsed the century mark in two of their first
Spurs striving to bounce back after dud
Evidently, sportsbooks are banking on that happening as San
Antonio is favored by a staggering 13.5 points at time of writing in the NBA
odds. The total can be found anywhere from 194.5 to 195.
This may seem like a crazy high line at first glance, but if
any team can score such a huge margin of victory, it's the Spurs. Their two
wins came by an average margin of 19 points and those weren't exactly against
scrub teams either.
San Antonio dispatched Memphis by 13 in their home opener
and then murdered the Clippers by 25 two days later, easily covering both
spreads in the process.
The Jazz are also expected to be missing Al Jefferson again
for Saturday. Though they did just fine without him on Friday, Utah could
really use all the big bodies they have given that Tim Duncan, DeJuan Blair,
and Tiago Splitter will be patrolling the post for San Antonio.
At the two guard spots, you have to give the edge to the
Spurs again, and it really isn't even close.
Devin Harris is nowhere near the playmaker Deron Williams
was in Utah, while Raja Bell provides the Jazz with virtually zero offensive
presence. Compare that duo to Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili and it's no
This is my ballsiest play of the season so far, but I still
feel confident in it hitting. The rested Spurs are in a good spot here to beat
up on a Jazz team that played in a nail-biter last night before immediately
having to board a plane to Texas afterwards
I'm liking the chances of Popovich's troops taking care of
business on Saturday. Dare to join me in Chalkville, USA?
NBA Picks: San Antonio Spurs -13.5