Golden State Warriors vs. San Antonio Spurs
Date and Time: Monday, May 22, 2017, 9 p.m. ET
Location: ATT Center, San Antonio, TX
Warriors vs. Spurs TV Coverage: ESPN
It wasn’t Steph Curry or Klay Thompson that did the damage in the first half of Saturday’s game. Kevin Durant and Draymond Green weren’t the culprits either. Rather it was JaVale McGee. And when McGee can set the tone, it’s just a matter of time before his mates start finding their range. You know the Spurs didn’t game plan for McGee and he made them pay. The veteran big man scored all 16 of his points in the first half and was the game’s leading scorer at the break.
Then Durant and Curry took over in the second half and the Spurs didn’t stand a chance. Golden State withstood an energetic first quarter by the Spurs, an expected occurrence given the circumstances. And when things quieted down, a 35-22 spurt in the second frame got the Dubs a lead they never relinquished. It was the Warriors 11th straight win to start this postseason with nine coming by double-digits. They covered the 9-point spread on Saturday and are 7-4 ATS despite facing a line of at least 8.5-points nine times.
This would have been a much better series had Tony Parker and Leonard been able to play. Unfortunately the Spurs caught the injury bug at the wrong time and all those games during the regular season when Gregg Popovich held his stars out for rest so they would be fresh come playoff time are for naught. And to make matters worse, the Spurs lost David Lee to an injury in the first half and any chance of getting back into this thing were erased.
The Spurs played hard but with key pieces missing, they are no match for the Warriors. Golden State’s defensive pressure has eliminated LaMarcus Aldridge, who once again struggled when blanketed by Green. Aldridge scored 18 points but needed 17 field goal attempts to get there. Things were so bad for the Spurs after Lee exited and Pau Gasol looked lost that seldom-used Davis Bertans saw his most action this postseason.
The Spurs are bringing a knife to a gun fight, and we all know that’s going to end poorly. Already without Parker, who saw his season end in the Rockets series, and playing a second consecutive game without Leonard, they saw Lee leave the floor after making a bucket and getting fouled by Green. The contact looked innocent enough, but Lee had to be led to the locker room in a wheel chair and his status for Game 4 is in doubt.
Aldridge, Gasol and Patty Mills, three players the Spurs need to perform at a higher level given the injury situation, haven’t done so. Aldridge looks lost on the floor without Leonard out there and Gasol’s better days are behind him. This series isn’t what it could have been and it took a huge swing in Golden State’s favor when Leonard went down. Given the dire situation, it’s unlikely we see Kawhi in Game 4 and that could spell the end for the Spurs.
Warriors vs. Spurs Free Picks
The Warriors have shown no mercy on their opponents this postseason and they’ve been particularly destructive in close-out games. The Dubs slaughtered Portland by 25 points in the opening round and hung a 26-point loss on the Jazz in the conference semifinal matchup. Two wins by a combined 51 points on the road is pretty impressive. And given the Spurs’ roster situation, this one can have a similar outcome.
Aldridge has been hounded by Green the entire series and without him picking up the slack, the Spurs have faltered. There have been too many scoreless droughts and that’s not going to get it done against the Dubs. I can’t see the Spurs pulling this one out minus three regular contributors and the rest of the club just isn’t ready to compete against a team that’s focused and playing superior basketball.
Warriors vs. Spurs ATS Pick: Give the points with Golden State at BookMaker.eu
Warriors vs. Spurs Score Prediction: Warriors 117 – Spurs 104