With Blake Griffin‘s buzzer-beating three-pointer the other night in Portland, we suffered our first loss in four plays to start the NBA season. The Clippers outplayed the Blazers, though so there isn’t much for me to whine about. We’re going to right back to a familiar well on Sunday afternoon for a game between the Spurs and Pacers.
This game is a 4:30 tip amid the NFL on Sunday afternoon so I didn’t leave as much time ahead of this play as I typically try to.
The Spurs are currently on a road trip of the East Coast, having gone 1–1 down in Florida before finishing with Indy today and the Celtics tomorrow on a quick turnaround. San Antonio beat Miami without any problem last week but ran into the juggernaut that is the Orlando Magic on Friday night.
Elias dug up a stat that the Spurs’ 27-point loss was the second biggest loss in the Popovich era to a team that finished with a winning percentage less than 40 the year before. Now, that’s a bit of a loaded fact but it’s probably more significant to the Magic, that they must be a whole lot better than they were last season. The Spurs were 4–0 prior to the beatdown that, by the way, could have been a lot worse. Orlando had a lead in the mid-30s for a lot of the second half.
That game is dead and gone, as far as the Spurs are concerned. Now the focus is on Indiana, who infamously traded Kawhi Leonard to San Antonio for George Hill on draft night six years ago. Leonard still won’t suit up as he continues to rehab his bad wheel but the Spurs are still heavy road favorites and I am with the number the oddsmakers have set.
My angle in this one is the over. The Pacers keep pushing the rock, despite being an inferior opponent against about 20 teams in the NBA, the Spurs very much included. San Antonio doesn’t look to run but the Spurs are happy to oblige where they can get easy buckets, which is exactly what I see happening against the Pacers.
Indiana has given up a minimum of 114 points in all five of its games this season in an attempt to average 110. The Spurs know they will gain an infinitesimal advantage with every possession that goes by in this game, which will accumulate to a wide margin of victory the longer they run with the Pacers. I expect Pop to use at least 10 deep to keep everybody fresh and able to run wild with Indiana in a game that goes way over.
Free Pick: Over 204
Indiana Pacers • San Antonio Spurs