The San Antonio Spurs continue a season-high nine game road trip -- broken up by the All-Star Break -- on Monday night at Utah. San Antonio, loser of two straight, is a 5.5-point favorite on BetOnline NBA odds with a total of 188.
Not Much for Kanter
Utah made a big trade at the deadline and didn't seem to get very much in return for Turkish big man Enes Kanter, the former No. 3 overall pick in the draft. All Utah got was a protected 2017 first-round pick in 2017 from Oklahoma City (where Kanter landed) and a second-rounder from Detroit in the same year for Kanter and veteran reserve Steve Novak. It gave Utah some flexibility, but Kanter was only going to be a restricted free agent so it's not like the team didn't have any leverage. Utah wasn't worried about dealing him because it has emerging second-year center Rudy Gobert. He's fourth in the league in blocks at 2.22 per game and averaging 6.8 points and 7.3 rebounds in just 21.9 minutes a night. Expect more minutes going forward.
Utah (20-34) has played once since the All-Star Break ended, beating visiting Portland 92-76 on Friday in a modest upset. Gordon Hayward had 20 points, and Derrick Favors 16 points and nine boards. Those are Utah's two best players. Gobert started in Kanter's spot and had seven rebounds and five blocks in less than 24 minutes. The Jazz held the Blazers to just 33 second-half points, and the 76 were a season low for Portland. Jazz rookie Joe Ingles was back in the starting lineup after missing the final three games before the break with back spasms. He finished with eight points. Fellow rookie Rodney Hood played his first game since Jan. 18 due to injury and had six points in 10 minutes.
Utah is 29-24-1 against the NBA betting spread and 22-32 'over/under.'
No 50 This Season for Spurs?
San Antonio (34-21) has won at least 50 games every year since the 1999-2000 season, the longest streak in NBA history. That's obviously in jeopardy of ending. Right now the Spurs are just the No. 7 seed in the Western Conference but only three games out of the No. 3.
The Spurs haven't looked good out of the break, losing 119-115 at the L.A. Clippers on Thursday and then 110-99 on Friday at West No. 1 Golden State. The Spurs starting backcourt of Parker and Danny Green had just six points compared to 45 for Golden State's starting guards Steph Curry and Klay Thompson. Golden State hit 17 3-pointers, the most ever allowed under Gregg Popovich. The Warriors broke it open by outscoring the Spurs 27-13 in the third quarter. San Antonio was just 4-for-20 in the quarter. The Spurs are the seventh-worst team in the NBA in the third quarter this season in terms of being outscored by an average number of points. San Antonio is on the plus side in every other quarter, with the first (plus-2.6 points) being the best.
The Spurs are 23-30-2 against the spread this season and 24-31 'over/under.'
This is the last meeting of the season and the teams have split. On Dec. 9 in Salt Lake City, the Spurs were 9-point favorites on NBA betting odds but lost 100-96. Favors had 21 points and eight rebounds to lead Utah, while Hayward had 20 points and seven boards as the team ended a nine-game losing streak. Tim Duncan had 23 points and 13 rebounds, but the Spurs were without Parker and then Popovich was ejected in the third quarter. On Jan. 18 in San Antonio, the Spurs were 12-point favorites on sportsbooks and won 89-69. Kawhi Leonard had 12 points and nine rebounds despite a scary fall for the Spurs. Duncan, Parker and Manu Ginobili all played less than 24 minutes as the Spurs never trailed while holding Utah to a season low in points. Gobert had 13 points and 18 rebounds for Utah. The Jazz's last win in San Antonio was Jan. 20, 2010.
NBA Free Picks: I expect a much better Spurs team in this one after being embarrassed a bit Friday. Give the points and go 'under' with your NBA picks. It has hit in six of the past seven meetings at Utah. The Jazz are 1-7 ATS in their past eight playing on two days of rest.