Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, May 3, 2014 at 7:00 PM
With Houston’s dramatic (and heartbreaking) loss in Portland Friday Night, it’s now certain that only one team from Texas will survive the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs. The winner of Sunday’s seventh game between Dallas and San Antonio will move on to face the Trail Blazers in hopes of getting some Lone Star revenge.
Will defending Western champion San Antonio get stunned in the first round (again!). Or, is it time for their experience and maturity to shine through with the season on the line? Most of the Dallas players who won a league championship three seasons ago are gone. But, the head coach, and the star player Dirk Nowitzki are still there and have taught a new group of young stars how to shine under the spotlight.
Here’s what’s happened to this point in the battle…
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
Game Four: San Antonio (-4.5) beat Dallas 93-89
Game Five: San Antonio (-6.5) beat Dallas 109-93
Game Six: Dallas (+3) beat San Antonio 113-111
If you’re paying close attention, you’ll notice that Dallas covered all six games! There’s no evidence up there that San Antonio is the clearly superior team. In fact, Dallas has won scoreboard thus far because of that Game Two blowout.
History tends to favor home teams in seventh games. And, it’s possible that Dallas is about to run out of gas because they’ve been asking Nowitzki and Monta Ellis to carry so much of the offensive load. Even if they’re not shooting, they’re being aggressive decoys who try to get shots for their teammates. But, an easy Spurs win would be their first of the series. They haven’t established yet that they can coast.
SERIES STRENGTHS FOR DALLAS
Three-point production (11 more made treys thus far)
Turnover differential (+16 thus far, with 16 fewer giveaways than takeaways)
Showing no fear
Dallas is still the softer of the two teams physically (neither is a bully). But, they’re making up for that with smarts, execution, effort, and utterly no fear about playing the top seed in the West. This might as well have been a #4 vs. #5 matchup the way things have played out.
SERIES STRENGTHS FOR SAN ANTONIO
Getting to the free throw line (30 more attempts, 22 more makes)
Better two-point shooting (won the stat in 5 of 6 games, all but the blowout loss)
Clearly we have the Spurs getting the best of it inside the arc, while Dallas tries to make up for that with three-pointers and fewer turnovers. That’s the nature of the series because San Antonio hasn’t been able to get their normal three-point production on offense, but have done a decent job of at least slowing down Nowitzki and Ellis inside the arc. The most glaring thing above is that San Antonio really only has those things they can point to. Usually a #1 seed has a lot of strengths.
Game Seven Vegas Line: San Antonio by 6.5, total of 198.5
The Spurs are still getting market respect because of the regular season and the general history of home teams in seventh games. That isn’t a line that’s quite justified by any results we’ve seen so far. The Spurs three victories have come by 5, 4, and 6 points. San Antonio will have to play its best game of the series to cover. Dallas just has to play at its regular level to cover, but will have to kick things up a notch to get a road victory if they want to advance to face Portland.
JIM HURLEY is sad to see the first round come to an end. But, he’s excited about the elements of Sunday’s GAME SEVEN PARLAY and has already mapped out some early strategies for Round Two. You can always purchase game day releases right here at the website with your credit card. Take care of business Sunday morning before the first game starts. If you have any questions, call us in the office during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155.
Normally Sundays are reserved for baseball here in the NOTEBOOK. But, basketball had to get the nod today during this amazing GAME SEVEN WEEKEND. We’ll be back Monday with our next report. We’ll mostly be looking at nightly basketball as the thrills continue. Any nights off in the hoops will put us back on baseball until the schedule thins out. Remember that you can always purchase BIG JUICY WINNERS in basketball AND baseball right here online from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!