Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, May 8, 2013 at 7:00 AM
Our first look at the Golden State/San Antonio series here in the NOTEBOOK gives us a chance to review one of the best playoff games in recent memory. Golden State pretty much had things wrapped up with a 16-point lead and only four minutes to go. But, their own decision that it was wrapped up caused a catastrophic chain of events that led to stunning loss.
*Klay Thompson fouled out because he saw no need for defensive caution when leading by so many points. That proved to be a killer because Seth Curry eventually lost his shooting legs because he had to play 58 minutes!
*Jarrett Jack took the initiative to try and lead Golden State’s offense down the stretch, which just led to terrible passes and poor shot choices. Without Thompson, the Spurs defense was able to focus on the most obvious scoring threats…and those guys were tired!
*Panic set in teamwide, just as it had done in a virtually identical situation against Denver last week. The only difference here was that San Antonio is better than Denver, and therefore better able to score in a comeback…and the game was on the road instead of at home. The gods of basketball don’t let you choke on the road and get away with it! Ask Memphis.
Golden State should be leading 1-0, with the confidence of a giant killer that’s suddenly feeling its oats. Instead, the Warriors trail 1-0, with the realization that they have no idea what composure is late in close games…and that their coach doesn’t know how to pace his players for a strong finish. How could Mark Jackson let a guy with bad ankles play 58 minutes?!
That sets up Wednesday’s second game…
GOLDEN STATE at SAN ANTONIO
Vegas Line: San Antonio by 7.5, total of 204.5
San Antonio Leads 1-0
The market has moved down, FINALLY recognizing that Golden State isn’t some sort of postseason pretender that’s supposed to be getting 8.5 to 9 points whenever they take the floor on the road. The Warriors lost at Denver by margins of 2 and 7 points, while winning by 15. They were up 16 here with four minutes to go before losing by a bucket in double overtime. Maybe that’s four road performances that were “over their heads.” Since the average result was a Golden State victory of a point…the market may not be done moving.
The total moved up a bit from the close of Game One, as the opener landed on 206 at the end of regulation even while slowing down in the fourth quarter. These teams usually like to play fast. But, the stars on both may prefer slowing things down to pace themselves for the long haul. If this series plays out like the first game did…we may be here a while!
JIM HURLEY has been going through his NBA history books to evaluate what happens to series underdogs when they lose a heartbreaker in the opener. Monday Night’s Memphis/Oklahoma City game will provide a new example from that sampling as well. Maybe Golden State will still be recovering from the punch to the gut, unable to respond until Game Three. Maybe the market is so overpriced against the Warriors that backing them as a dog is still the way to go.
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Back with you Thursday with a special baseball update. The NBA will be taking a night off until resuming its schedule Friday Night with the same four teams that play Wednesday (note that Indiana-New York and Memphis-Oklahoma City are off until Saturday!). We’ll go back to daily basketball coverage in the NOTEBOOK on Friday. BEST BET WINNERS in basketball AND baseball are always available right here from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!