Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, May 14, 2014 at 7:00 AM
The San Antonio Spurs will likely wrap up their second round series with the Portland Trailblazers Wednesday Night. They lead 3-1, and are 8-point favorites at a site where they’ve already won by 24 and 17 points. They’re also well-rested, as none of their starters played more than 27 minutes this past Monday. Once the Spurs fell behind in the third quarter, Coach Gregg Popovich called it a night and saved everyone’s energy for their return to the Alamo.
Let’s assume the Spurs are going to advance. Even if they were to get stunned on their home floor Wednesday, nobody’s every blown a 3-0 series lead in NBA history. It’s unlikely to happen here given the much more experienced, much BETTER team is ahead. Can the Spurs go the distance? Can San Antonio go back and claim the championship trophy that they dropped in the final moments of Game Six against Miami last year?
IN SAN ANTONIO’S FAVOR
Better Defensively than Given Credit For
They didn’t exactly sparkle through the Dallas series, when they ran into a very smart head coach who wasn’t afraid to throw curveballs at them for two weeks. Since surviving that, it’s been a cakewalk coaching wise. Portland has no curveballs to throw. And, whoever’s up in the next round probably won’t either. Based on the final 30 seconds of Game Four between Oklahoma City and the LA Clippers, you wonder if either of the head coaches knows the basics of clock management at all!
The Spurs won’t have as big an edge in experience moving forward as they do vs. Portland. But, it will be break-even or better for the team…and an edge for “the big three” veterans that determine the mood of the team (Tim Duncan, Tony Parker, and Manu Ginobili).
Everything listed above will either be a slight or big advantage for San Antonio in any remaining matchup. Now, the bad news…
POTENTAL ISSUES FOR SAN ANTONIO
Lack of Physicality
Occasional Passivity on Defense
The Tendency for Ginobili to Disappear
While the defense is better than its given credit for, the Spurs tend to disappear for stretches at bad times. You saw that in the Dallas series. You saw that in the relative no-show this past Monday Night. They don’t force a lot of turnovers unless the opponent is reckless. This isn’t a team that can “win with defense” so to speak. But, nobody left in the NBA brackets is that way either unless Indiana finds it’s early season form. San Antonio will have to have more “good” stretches than their opponents on that side of the floor to go the distance.
The biggest issue within the current brackets is physicality. Whoever the Spurs face in the Western finals will have athletic superstars. And, LeBron James will probably be waiting once again in the championship round. San Antonio is far from a pushover. But, they won’t have the “best athlete” on the floor in any remaining series.
Back to tonight…
Las Vegas Line: San Antonio by 8, total of 208.5
JIM HURLEY has a strong idea about how this game is going to play out. And, that side or total release will be part of an NBA PARLAY that also features Game Five of Brooklyn/Miami. Will both of last year’s conference champions finish their second rounds this evening? The man with the answers is just a few clicks away!
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