May 5, 2017
There is one pick tonight.
Take San Antonio Spurs +5 spread (buy the half point) against Houston Rockets for 3% of the bankroll.
After losing the series opener in blowout fashion at home and surrendering home court advantage, San Antonio managed to even up the series with an emphatic 121-96 blowout of their own in Game 2. The Spurs now have a chance to regain the advantage as the venue shifts to Houston for Game 3.
The Spurs managed to bounce back from their Game 1 blowout with a solid all-around effort, however it did come at a price as they lost starting point guard, Tony Parker, for the remainder of the playoffs to a leg injury. In Game 2, San Antonio shot 54.5 percent from the floor in that contest and was 9 of 24 from three-point range while dominating the glass by a 47-32 margin. Kawhi Leonard led five Spurs in double figures with 34 points in the victory and will certainly be looked at to once again carry the team in Game 3.
The loss of Parker can certainly be considered a blow to the Spurs, given the fact that they will now be without a veteran leader manning the point. That being said, there is no question that Parker is well past his prime and is not the player that he once was. He has been regressing for years and the fact that the point will now be run by both Patty Mills and Dejounte Murray, could be a spark to an already dangerous offense. Mills has proven capable at running the point and is quicker, a better shooter and a better defender than Parker is. Mills could be (arguably) considered an upgrade at the point guard position when looking at overall skills at this point in Parker's career.
Dejounte Murray is also slated to see increased minutes tonight as Mills' backup. Even though he is just a rookie, Murray has shown a tremendous upside and could prove to be an X-factor when he takes the floor. Both players could be considered an X-factor in the rotation as Houston will now have two players who, for the most part, have sat on the sidelines this season who now finally have their chance to shine and that could be a dangerous thing for the Houston defenders.
A lot of things went right for the Rockets in Game 1 and we expected a regression in Game 2, and that is exactly what happened. Houston was competitive for the first three quarters of the contest, but went cold from the field and were blown out 33-13 in the final quarter. Houston has proven to be a capable team offensively, especially on their home court so we expect to see an increased effort on the defensive side for the Spurs and their efforts in the fourth quarter of Game 2 should carry over into this contest.
We saw blowouts in both Game 1 and 2, however we expect to see a much closer contest in Game 3. Both coaches know each others’ tendencies well enough by now to be able to game plan and neutralize what the other is looking to do on the court. We wouldn't be surprised to see this be a back and forth contest that is decided in the final few possessions. The Spurs are a veteran team and know what it takes to win on the road in the playoffs. With Tony Parker sitting out, we expect the rest of the team to rally around each other and rise up in the absence of their veteran leader. We wouldn't be surprised if the Spurs managed to win this game outright, but even if they fall short, 5 points is simply too much to give a veteran coach like Gregg Popovich who should have come up with a game plan good enough to at least keep things close. The points have value in this contest.
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