Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, April 27, 2014 at 7:00 PM
It was one of the few first round series that was supposed to be easy. The San Antonio Spurs swept the Dallas Mavericks in the regular season, and seemingly had everything lined up for a great postseason run. The defending Western champs were healthy, fresh, and arguably slightly better than last season because they’ve developed more bench weaponry to go along with the old guard of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili.
And, Dallas had the worst defense in the Western brackets! The only shot for the Mavericks was to hope that Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis shot lights out four times in seven against an opponent that was taking them too lightly.
Well, the Spurs definitely were suffering from overconfidence given their 0-3 performance against market expectations. They had to rally from way behind to win the first game at home. They fell even further behind in a stunning blowout loss at home in Game Two. And, Game Three was a nailbiter where they failed to establish the kind of dominance you expect to see when a #1 seed just lost a home game to a #8.
THE SERIES SO FAR
Game One: San Antonio (-9) beat Dallas 90-85
Game Two: Dallas (+8) beat San Antonio 113-92
Game Three: Dallas (+3.5) beat San Antonio 109-108
Yes, Dallas was a bit lucky to hit a buzzer shot to win Saturday (Vinsanity!). If you take that bucket out, Dallas was still almost 35 points better than expectations. The Spurs now know they have to go at least six games if they’re going to advance. A seventh game isn’t out of the question given how well Dallas is playing. And, a series upset could easily happen if the Spurs can’t find a way to express the talent superiority that seemed so clear in the regular season.
SERIES STRENGTHS FOR DALLAS
Inside Scoring (52% and 56% inside the arc in wins)
Forcing Turnovers (22 and 14 takeaways in wins)
3-Point Shooting (.386 in wins on 17 of 44, equal to 58% on two’s)
No Fear From Veterans!
Probably the biggest strength for Dallas is that they had no fear of the Spurs. They took it right to them in the opener before gagging a late lead. They learned from that and have been money when the next two games were being decided. Defense is still an issue in terms of guarding the basket. Forcing turnovers has helped alleviate that.
SERIES STRENGTHS FOR SAN ANTONIO
Inside Scoring (50%, 50% and 56% on two-point shots)
Contained Nowitzki and Ellis in First Two Games
Not Much Else!
It’s been shocking to see this well-oiled machine sputter so often in this series. There are still flashes of greatness. And, you can see consistent success on inside shooting. But, this is nowhere near vintage San Antonio basketball. Ball movement has been a problem (which shows up in the turnover category). Three-point shooting disappeared in Games One (3 of 17) and Three (6 of 18). Their strengths “on paper” entering the series haven’t been showing up on the floor for the most part.
Game Four Vegas Line: San Antonio by 4, total of 203.5
The market is anticipating betting interest on the superior seed in the must-win situation. That line of Spurs -4 can only be justified in that light because they haven’t established that level of play yet. They only won by 5 at home in their victory! A line of Spurs -4 in Dallas equates to about -7 or -8 on a neutral court, and -10 to -12 in the River City. San Antonio was only -9 and -8 in the first two games by the Alamo.
Has the market overreacted? Or, will San Antonio finally rise up and show us peak performance? JIM HURLEY has some very strong ideas about that. Spurs/Mavericks is likely to be part of a Monday Night PLAYOFF PARLAY that could also include Miami/Charlotte and Atlanta/Indiana. You can purchase this BASKETBALL BLOCKBUSTER during the day Monday with your credit card right here at the website. It’s a busy day in baseball too!
If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155. Be sure to check on special combination packages that include this Saturday’s KENTUCKY DERBY and the rest of horse racing’s TRIPLE CROWN!
Back with you Tuesday to look at Game Five of the Memphis/Oklahoma City series that’s currently knotted at two games apiece. We’ll let the drama unfolding through the week determine each night’s preview beyond that.
It’s a must-win Monday for the San Antonio Spurs. Every day is MUST WIN and WILL WIN with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!