There is only one first-round NBA playoff series that is not 2-0 through two games and it’s the best series from the round. The Los Angeles Clippers and San Antonio Spurs are tied at one game apiece. Game 3 represents an early point in the series, so who will cash on the NBA betting lines?
The Los Angeles Clippers Can Win Because…
Tony Parker of the San Antonio Spurs is hurting. He left the game with tightness in his calf in the fourth quarter. He has been physically hampered for much of the season, and he didn’t hit a single field goal in Game 2, going 0 for 6. He scored one point. The Spurs got away with him being a no-show, but they’re not going to be able to keep cheating fate like that. The Spurs have consistently depended on Parker to run their offense. They need Parker’s mid-range game, enough to keep defenses off balance. San Antonio won once with Parker scoring one point, but how much longer can that continue? Bettors have to have a belief that Parker is going to do well if they’re going to continue to bet on the Spurs in this series. With only one day off between Games 2 and 3, and with Game 2 having been a very late-night game going into overtime, Parker really won’t have much time to regain health before Game 3.
Manu Ginobili went 2 of 6 in Game 2 as well. He and Parker are both feeling their ages, even if Tim Duncan isn’t. The Spurs can’t rely on Patty Mills to bail them out again. How is San Antonio going to get any offense from its backcourt? That’s a real problem for the Spurs, one they might not be able to overcome. The three-point shooting in this series has been poor, just 8 of 25 in Game 2, despite the win. The Spurs’ guards just aren’t playing well enough to win this series.
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The San Antonio Spurs Can Win Because…
They're playing an opponent which is not getting much from its bench. San Antonio won Game 2 with its bench, outscoring the Clippers by a whopping 48-17 margin. It is easy to further reduce the bench situation to a matter of three players. The Clippers had just one bench player do much of anything in Game 2, as Jamal Crawford scored 11 points. However, he did so by hitting only 4 of 13 shots. The Spurs got four players to score at least nine points, and were able to get a combined 30 points from Boris Diaw and Patty Mills. Four of the Clippers’ five starters played at least 43 minutes in Game 2, and that’s probably not sustainable through the rest of the series. However, if the bench continues to stink, the Clippers and coach Doc Rivers won’t have many options, and they’ll get worn down by the deeper Spurs.
The Spurs’ bench is a big advantage and playing at home should help San Antonio. However, without a healthy Parker, the Spurs become dangerously thin on the perimeter and Los Angeles should get a good game out of Chris Paul here. Take the Clippers with your NBA pick here in a close one.
NBA Pick: Clippers at Bovada