NBA Pick: Enraged Spurs Looking to Take Advantage of the Series Against Clippers in Game 5

David Lawrence

Monday, April 27, 2015 12:58 PM GMT

Monday, Apr. 27, 2015 12:58 PM GMT

The Spurs were caught off guard by the Clippers, who bounced back in Game 4 of this first-round series on Sunday. Can the Spurs cash in on the NBA odds & again steal homecourt advantage in Game 5?

The San Antonio Spurs Can Win Because…
Their problems are very fixable. San Antonio is getting good shots again and again. The Spurs are going up against a Clipper team that is giving good effort, but San Antonio is still creating the kinds of shots it wants to get. Patty Mills, Tony Parker, Tim Duncan, Manu Ginobili – they all missed very makeable shots in Game 4. The Spurs are going to tell themselves that they just have to finish plays, and that if they do so, they’ll be in good shape. This might seem like arrogance, but it’s not a misreading of what this team must clean up.

The other big thing the Spurs have to do is avoid fouling the Clippers when they’re in the penalty. San Antonio fouled Chris Paul multiple times in the third quarter of Game 4 shortly after taking a small lead. Paul is an excellent free throw shooter, and he wound up making all eight of the free throws he attempted in this game, all of which were in the second half. If the Spurs can make this basic change in how they play, they’re not going to give up as many easy points to the Clippers. They should then be able to win this game. Tony Parker, who looked terrible in Games 1 and 2, looked a lot faster in Game 4, closer to the kind of player who makes the Spurs’ offense so good. If he can continue to improve, the Spurs should like where they stand. This team just has to make some basic reactions in order to fare better.

 

The Los Angeles Clippers Can Win Because…
They proved a lot to themselves in Game 4. They showed toughness. They showed the ability to win a huge playoff game on the road. They showed that their bench could play well and not be blown apart by the Spurs’ depth and versatility. Austin Rivers came up huge for the Clippers, scoring 16 points and being just what this team needed in its most important game of the whole  NBA season. In Game 2, San Antonio’s Patty Mills – who plays great offense and bad defense – scored 18 points. In Game 4, Rivers basically did for the Clippers what Mills had done for the Spurs in Game 2. If the Clippers can continue to get great bench play form Rivers and teammate Jamal Crawford (15 points in Game 4), they will neutralize the Spurs’ depth, and so as long as Blake Griffin and Chris Paul perform up to standards, a solid bench contribution will keep the Clippers a step ahead of the Spurs’ defense. Los Angeles hit 53.6 percent of its shots in Game 4. Just 48 to 50 percent in Game 5 would still put the Clippers in good position now at home and as a 2-point favorite on the NBA odds board.

 

Outlook
The Spurs are going to be angry after losing in Game 4, and it’s hard to see Austin Rivers playing nearly as well as he did in Game 4. This is an even series, and this feels like a close game, but the Spurs are still the team that has more scoring options and more depth. Give San Antonio a slight edge and take them with your NBA picks.

Free NBA Pick: San Antonio +2 at 5Dimes

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