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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, April 27, 2015 at 7:00 PM

This past Friday night…in fourth quarter of Game Three in the back-and-forth Western Conference series featuring the San Antonio Spurs and the Los Angeles Clippers…it was starting to look like the Texans were in complete control.

*They were on their way to a blowout win and a 2-1 series advantage

*They possessed home court advantage in the series thanks to an earlier road win

*The offense was clicking (finally)

*The defense was imposing its will

*The “bench” advantage seemed to be paying off even more dramatically

How were the Clippers going to rally from 2-1 down when THEY were the team most likely to fade during the course of a long series? Too many thought that the series was already over after the Spurs finished off that 100-73 rout.

The Clippers sure didn’t think that…and rallied for a very impressive win Sunday by the Alamo. Now, we’re back to 2-2 in the series…home court belongs to the Clippers again…and it became clear that the LA bench has a chance to influence a game’s outcome just by making some plays here and there. Can they do that twice in the last three games?

Let’s crunch the numbers from Game Four for some more context…

 

GAME FOUR STATS

LA Clippers 114, San Antonio 105

Shooting Pct: Clippers 54%, San Antonio 44%

Three-Pointers: Clippers 5/18, San Antonio 6/25

Free Throws: Clippers 19/26, San Antonio 25/35

Rebounds: Clippers 43, San Antonio 44

Turnovers: Clippers 9, San Antonio 8

Vegas Line: San Antonio by 6, total of 202.5

A lot going on there. Let’s start with San Antonio’s three-point shooting. As we mentioned with Atlanta recently…the team just isn’t all that scary when the treys aren’t falling. San Antonio can’t dominate elite teams UNLESS they’re getting the job done from long range. They did that repeatedly last summer, which is why they marched to another league championship. They’d better start making some treys or their goal of repeating will fail before the weekend.

The second thing that jumps out is the high shooting percentage for the Clippers. They really attacked the basket aggressively. Bench guards Austin Rivers and Jamaal Crawford were a combined 13 of 18 on two-point shots. The Spurs didn’t respect the LAC bench, and learned a painful lesson as a result.

It’s also worth noting the low turnover counts. Chris Paul led the Clippers offense to a huge day while not making any mistakes. Near perfection (only two giveaways from Paul in 38 minutes) when it was needed most. If you watched the game…you know the Clippers were the better team on that day. Now, they only have to do that twice in three outings to advance. And, that can be done exclusively on their HOME court from this point forward. They can win Tuesday at home…take a relative rest break Thursday on the road…then come back at full intensity Saturday to try and seal the deal.

Obviously San Antonio isn’t going to just roll over. Let’s see what the market says about Tuesday’s Game Five…

Las Vegas Line: LA Clippers by 2, total of 205.5

That’s actually a show of respect for the hosts. The Clippers were closer to -1 in their earlier home games. The market no longer senses an inevitability about the Spurs…and is no longer as down on the LAC bench. That total scooting back up is a sign of respect for LAC’s offense as well. This “best-of-three” is going to be something!

You can purchase the final word for Tuesday (the best from this game, plus Game Five of Dallas/Houston and some great baseball) right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions about extended service, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours. Be sure to ask about combination packages that include the rest of the NBA Playoffs, Major League Baseball, and the upcoming Triple Crown horse races!

Basketball coverage continues every day that there’s at least one game! We’ll be back Wednesday for Game Five of the Brooklyn/Atlanta series. On Thursday, it’s back to San Antonio for Game six of Clippers/Spurs (reviewing key notes from the Game Five boxscore along with market developments). We’ll have a fuller sense of the weekend slate the next time we’re together here in the NOTEBOOK.

The defending World Champs appear to be in serious trouble. But, the WORLD CHAMPION OF SPORTS HANDICAPPING is always in command. Be sure you hook up with JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK for some BIG, JUICY WINNERS!

 

Be sure to follow:

Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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