The San Antonio Spurs were taken down again at home by the Los Angeles Clippers, who fought off elimination in Game 6 of this first-round Western Conference series on Thursday night in San Antonio.
The San Antonio Spurs Can Win Because…
They played a terrible game in Game 6, and still came close to winning, close enough that they were down by only three points in the last minute and had a chance to tie. Tonight they're listed on the NBA odds as short underdogs.
There simply weren’t many players who played well in Game 6 for San Antonio. Marco Belinelli and Boris Diaw combined for 40 points on 15 of 24 shooting from the field, 8 of 15 from three-point range. The rest of the Spurs? A total of 56 points on 24 of 59 shooting, 4 of 13 from three-point land. Tim Duncan shot over 50 percent, but he took only nine shots and finished with a quiet 12 points. Kawhi Leonard also scored 12, and he missed 12 of his 15 field goals. Tiago Splitter hit just 3 of 8 free throws. The Spurs, other than Splitter, earned just 13 free throws all game. Tony Parker hit just 4 of 12 shots. Danny Green continued to struggle, hitting just 1 of 5 threes. Manu Ginobili played just 14 minutes and was ineffective when on the court, racking up a plus-minus of minus-4. Barely anyone on this team played well, and yet Game 6 was close all the way.
If San Antonio can get three additional players to play really well in Game 7 – Duncan and Leonard plus anyone else from the bench who struggled in Game 6 – the Spurs should be in very good shape. They will also benefit from Glen Davis injuring himself in Game 6, which will shorten the Clippers’ already weak bench and force Spencer Hawes into the game. The Spurs should be able to do really well when Hawes is on the floor.
The Los Angeles Clippers Can Win Because…
They keep bouncing back and fighting off adversity. The Clippers weren’t facing elimination in Game 4, but they were playing a game they essentially had to win if they wanted to have a good chance of winning the series and prolonging their season. They won that. In Game 6, the Clippers directly faced elimination. The Spurs had a second chance to put the boot on the throat by winning at home. The Clippers wouldn’t let them do that.
Blake Griffin and Chris Paul keep stepping up in this series. They have been the two best players in the series, better than anyone on the Spurs – including Tim Duncan and Kawhi Leonard. In the second half of Game 6, Paul and Griffin were sensational. Paul destroyed the Spurs after halftime, scoring 15 points, dishing out seven assists, hitting 50 percent of his field goals, and committing zero turnovers. Griffin was as good, scoring 18 points in the second half and continuing to attack the glass. With Paul and Griffin playing at this level, the Clippers can withstand their lack of depth. As long as certain Spurs such as Danny Green and Tony Parker fail to score as well as they can, Los Angeles has the advantage.
It’s just hard to envision the Spurs winning three times on the Clippers home court. We’ve seen the Clippers grow in front of our eyes and they’ll seize the moment in Game 7 – even without Glen Davis. Take the Clippers with your NBA picks.
NBA Pick: Clippers -2 at GT Bets