Spurs to Give Classic Performance in Key Spot Thursday vs. Warriors

spurs warriors

Doug Upstone

Wednesday, April 18, 2018 5:27 PM UTC

Wednesday, Apr. 18, 2018 5:27 PM UTC

With its back against the wall but at least back home, San Antonio needs a brilliant effort against Golden State in Game 3 to narrow the gap in their opening-round series.

NBA Thursday:Warriors (17-19-1 ATS as road faves) vs. Spurs (3-2 ATS as home dogs)Free NBA Pick: Spurs +3Best Line Offered: JustBet

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No NBA team is happier to be back home than San Antonio. The Spurs have lost 10 straight away games (1-9 ATS) and are 1-14 SU in the road black uniforms since February 7. After Gregg Popovich said his team played like a "deer in headlights" in Game 1 of their series with Golden State, after Game 2 he complimented them in saying they "executed the game plan wonderfully" despite losing 116-101. What can San Antonio do to get back in the series?

Oddsmakers are at least giving the Spurs the benefit of the doubt that they can compete in Game 3 on Thursday night, making them just 3-point home underdogs on the NBA odds board. Here is a look at what both squads will be trying to accomplish.

San Antonio Has To Find Answers in Basics

Like all sports, sometimes basketball can be broken down into simple terms. Here is a comparison of how the Spurs have shot the ball in their past four games and the points they averaged, versus their season average:

Points and Shooting Percentage, L4 Games: 97.2 and 40.7%

Points and Shooting Percentage, Season: 102.6 and 46.6%

Next, here is how San Antonio has done defensively in the same stats over their past trio of tilts:

Points and Shooting Percentage Allowed, L3 Games: 117 and 55.3%

Points and Shooting Percentage, Season: 100.2 and 45.5%

It is not always fair taking a snapshot of a team when they have results over a short period of time, good or bad. Nonetheless, this is how the Spurs have performed in part of the postseason and in their attempt to secure seeding.

These numbers cannot continue, and LaMarcus Aldridge needs more help when double-teamed than having teammates making 4 of 28 three-point attempts like in Game 2.

On defense, San Antonio has to play tighter coverage and not let the Warriors pass the ball around how they want, which has led to 25-for-53 shooting for Golden State from behind the arc.

Golden State Has To Prepare For Wave of Emotion

Having won the NBA championship in two of the past three years, it's not like Golden State doesn't know they are going to get their opponents' best effort, especially when they are on the road. Yet, as Steve Kerr would attest, because of injuries and attitude, this year's team has not always been mentally prepared. That would be Kerr's biggest concern after two relatively easy victories.

The best way to avoid this is to convince his team to keep playing defense like they have in the series and shut down the San Antonio offense. If they can continue to make the Spurs shooters tentative, they can win and cover for backers in our NBA picks.

What to Expect for Outcome

This is not a championship-caliber Spurs team -- far from it -- but it is a team with tremendous pride. I think there is a very good chance this will be San Antonio's best showing of the series. They are 18-5 ATS at home after three straight games where they made 42 percent or less of their shots, and Golden State is 3-11 ATS after two or more home wins this season. The call is a two-point game either way.

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