The San Antonio Spurs are heating up for the playoffs – where they could end up meeting the Memphis Grizzlies again. For now, we’ll have to do with Sunday’s matchup, where the NBA odds are tilted toward the Spurs.
Jason’s record as of Mar. 27: 61-58-5 ATS, 6-11 Totals, plus-2.15 units ML
So here we are with the defending champion San Antonio Spurs playing like wildfire as we approach the 2015 NBA playoffs. Is anyone surprised? Well, believe it or not, the Spurs haven’t always timed things perfectly with their run-good. But they’re certainly on a roll this year, going 12-3 SU and 11-4 ATS in their last 15 games. Nobody will to want to face these guys in the postseason.
Except for the Memphis Grizzlies, perhaps. Memphis isn’t on the same torrid pace as the defending champs; after a promising 3-0 SU and ATS streak, the Grizz have dropped back-to-back games. However, Memphis has had some success against the Spurs, both this season and in past playoff encounters. Let’s see what happens this Sunday (7:00 p.m. ET) when they butt heads again with San Antonio laying 7.5 points at home on the NBA odds board.
If it seemed strange to see San Antonio stuck in seventh place in the Western Conference standings all year long, no worries: The Spurs are now in sixth place as we go to press at 46-26 SU and 34-36-2 ATS. Friday’s 94-76 romp over the Dallas Mavericks (+8.5 away) leaves their Texas rivals in seventh and threatening to fall even further.
It wasn’t all molasses and cow’s cheeks for the Spurs. They nearly coughed up a 21-point lead before righting the ship and beating the basketball odds. Otherwise, it was just another typical game in San Antonio. Five different players scored in double figures, led by Boris Diaw (12.6 PER, plus-0.1 BPM) with 19 points off the bench. The Spurs dished out 28 assists to just 15 for Dallas; all five starters contributed at least three helpers.
This is what can happen when you’ve got a full roster at your disposal. It’s a rare thing, especially with some of these elder statesmen, but the Spurs have nearly all their players available right now. The lone exception is center Aron Baynes (14.5 PER, minus-2.1 BPM), who’s sat three games with a sprained ankle, and even he is considered probable to play Sunday.
Tony’s Fried Hamstrings
The Grizzlies (50-23 SU, 34-37-2 ATS) have already played the Spurs twice this year, going 2-1 SU and ATS. They’ve also split a pair of postseason series over the past six years, since Zach Randolph (19.7 PER, plus-1.2 BPM) joined Marc Gasol (21.7 PER, plus-4.5 BPM) in the Land of Ribs and Slaw. But to be fair, both Memphis wins over San Antonio this year came back in December, when the Grizz were healthy and the Spurs weren’t.
After encountering some poor health of their own, the Grizzlies used their Potions of Healing and got back to 100-percent capacity – for about 24 hours. Then Tony Allen (14.7 PER, plus-3.2 BPM) suffered a strained left hamstring in Friday’s painful 107-84 loss to the Golden State Warriors (–3.5 away). Allen is considered questionable to face the Spurs; he’s been having trouble with his hamstring lately, so it might be a good idea to let him recuperate for the playoffs.
Except that would leave Memphis without its best defender (plus-3.6 DBPM). Allen has been promoting himself for a place on the NBA All-Defensive first team, and it’s hard to argue. The Defensive Real Plus-Minus numbers over at ESPN have Allen listed second in the league at plus-5.12, behind only Golden State’s Andrew Bogut at plus-5.77. In theory, if the betting market paid proper attention to these things, the basketball odds for Sunday’s matchup would be on hold until we knew more about Allen’s status. We’ll take advantage by following the Spurs for our NBA picks – provided Allen doesn’t play.
Free NBA Pick: Take the Spurs (if Allen sits out)