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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, November 10, 2014 at 7:00 PM

The San Antonio Spurs looked like they had evolved basketball to a whole new place in last season’s playoffs. They rolled through the West with only a few hiccups. Then, they embarrassed the Miami Heat in a one-side Finals so badly that LeBron James changed teams!

But, THIS season, the Spurs are struggling out of the gate with an old team that’s been hobbled by injuries and seemingly disinterested from bringing peak intensity. Meanwhile, the Golden State Warriors…under new head coach Steve Kerr…have been fantastic. Golden State was getting so much respect in the Vegas line after their first few games that they were basically being priced as “the champs of November.”

In terms of sports betting…San Antonio was no longer the best team in the NBA. It was now Golden State.

Those two teams square off Tuesday Night in a game you can watch on the NBA Network. Neither team may be at full strength given how coaches are pacing themselves and monitoring player injuries. It’s a back-to-back for the Spurs, who play in LA against the Clippers Monday Night. Who knows who Coach Pop will be sitting out?!

It’s a good chance to at least check in with these very important Western Conference teams for handicapping purposes here in the NOTEBOOK. Maybe you’ll find something that will help you pick a winner. You’ll certainly find information that will give you better context for these two teams. That’s very important in the case of Golden State, because the media has been missing a few key stories.

Here are JIM HURLEY’S key indicator stats for both teams through the weekend…


Offensive Efficiency

San Antonio:  96.9 per 100 possessions (ranked #24 in the NBA)

Golden State: 102.2 per 100 possessions (ranked #15 in the NBA)

Both teams are actually struggling on offense! Golden State is only league average once you adjust for possessions. You’ll see in a moment that the Warriors are playing at a breakneck pace. San Antonio’s “beautiful game” of ball movement from last year’s playoffs is completely missing in action. In terms of context, the Spurs have been awful. In terms of reality, the mainstream media has completely missed this part of the Golden State story!


Defensive Efficiency

San Antonio: 101.4 per 100 possessions (ranked #12 in the NBA)

Golden State: 91.5 per 100 possessions (ranked #1 in the NBA)

This is where Golden State really shines. They were a sleeper defensive team last year, and are even better with Andrew Bogut healthy (and David Lee too injured to be on the floor not guarding anybody!). The Warriors play a stifling defense in the halfcourt that gets hidden because of their very fast pace. You always hear us talking about how “defense wins championships.” Golden State is playing championship caliber defense so far. The Spurs are better here than on offense…but still not anywhere near where they need to be.


Pace Ranking

San Antonio: #17

Golden State: #1

Here we go. Golden State is the fastest team in the league…racing down floor hoping to put up a shot before the opposing defense gets set. That pace has caused a lot of turnovers…which is why this collection of sharpshooters isn’t converting well on a per-possession basis. San Antonio is roughly league average, and will be hoping to slow down the Warriors tonight so they can force some turnovers and stay in the game.


Against the Spread

San Antonio: 0-5 (pending late Monday finish at LA Clippers)

Golden State: 5-1

Talk about extremes! Golden State finally had an off-game the last time out. They caught the market napping at first, but still kept covering even after initial adjustments. San Antonio is showing the common tendency for a champion to come out flat early the next season because the juices aren’t flowing yet. The Seattle Seahawks have showed us that several times in the NFL in recent weeks.

As we write this, it’s tough to pin down a proper betting strategy because the starting lineups aren’t even known. As you move forward through the season with these teams…be sure you’re paying attention to San Antonio’s intensity…and Golden State’s stellar defense.

JIM HURLEY may or may not be releasing a pick in this game Tuesday. You can purchase the final word for the NBA in the hours leading up to first tip. There are six games on the slate (plus some MAC football)…and NETWORK clients only get the best options. Daily BEST BETS in all sports can be purchased right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours.

Another day of NBA in the NOTEBOOK tomorrow as we cover a special event South of the Border. Here’s the upcoming schedule.

Wednesday: NBA Preview…Houston vs. Minnesota from Mexico City on ESPN

Thursday: NFL Preview…Buffalo at Miami on the NFL Network

Friday: College Preview…Mississippi State at Alabama on CBS

Saturday: College Preview…Florida State at Miami in ABC

Sunday: NFL Preview…New England at Indianapolis on NBC

Monday: NFL Preview…Pittsburgh at Tennessee on ESPN

The winning never stops…so make sure you’re GETTING ALL THE MONEY with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!


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Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

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