Game 3 of the Western Conference finals shifts to San Antonio Saturday night (9 p.m. ET), where the Spurs hope to find any kind of spark after going down 2-0 to the Warriors. Superstar Kawhi Leonard is questionable. Betting preview and pick this way.
Kawhi Leonard was present at the Spurs practice facility Thursday but did not take part in drills. Instead, team trainers continued to treat his injured left ankle, sustained in the third quarter of the Western Conference finals opener. The Spurs list Leonard as questionable for Game 3, but the reality is the NBA MVP candidate will likely miss the matchup and rest of the series. The injury is the same one Leonard suffered in the second round versus the Rockets, and the repetitive cycle suggests a longer time on the shelf for proper healing. If Leonard does tough it out, he will not be close to 100 percent.
Head coach Gregg Popovich has yet to find a way to limit the damage with Leonard on the sidelines. The Warriors routed San Antonio 136-100 in Game 2. Since Leonard went out with the injury, the Spurs are shooting 37 percent from the floor. Golden State, meanwhile, upped its field percentage to 57, outscoring the Spurs by a whopping 61 points in a little more than five quarters.
Golden State is on a tear, undefeated in the 2017 postseason. The Warriors have won 13 straight playoff games versus Western Conference opponents. They are 9-4 ATS, outscoring foes by 14.9 points per game. The Dubs have tipped off the underdog once in this stretch, and have covered the number in all seven contests with a single-digit line. Five of them tipped off on the road. Golden State opened as 6-point favorites for Game 3.
How do top seeds perform in Game 3 of the conference championship after taking a 2-0 series lead? Not so hot. Since 2002, they are 1-6 SU and ATS. Last year’s Cleveland Cavilers are the only team in this span to go off chalk (-5.5), losing 99-84 at Toronto. In 2015, the Warriors routed the Rockets 115-80 to notch the only victory. That contest went off a pick ‘em.
The Warriors are 9-0 SU and 8-1 ATS in the Steph Curry era when tipping off road favorites of 5 points or more in the playoffs. The Dubs are covering by 7.8 points per contest. The OVER is also a healthy 7-2, soaring above a 210.1 average total by 11.7 points per game. Golden State has surpassed 108 points in all but one contest. With Leonard out, there’s little the Spurs can do to keep up. Warriors -6 is the NBA pick.