Sun 21/05/2017 - 22:23 EDT

Stick a Fork in the San Antonio Spurs for Game 4

Stick a Fork in the San Antonio Spurs for Game 4

No NBA team has ever erased a 3-0 series deficit. And the San Antonio Spurs aren’t about to become the first. But can they at least cover the spread against the Golden State Warriors in Game 4? We turn to TopBet’s lines to find out.

Back the Warriors to cover again

All odds brought to you by Topbet

By Dan Favale

San Antonio Spurs (+12) vs. Golden State Warriors (-12)

Say this about the San Antonio Spurs' Game 3 performance against the Golden State Warriors: They tried. They really did. They fought and fought and fought, and even remained within striking distance for a good chunk of the night.

Ultimately, though, it wasn't enough. And without Kawhi Leonard, who missed Game 3 with an ankle injury he suffered midway through the third quarter of Game 1. Now, with the Spurs facing elimination, armed with no hope of making a comeback against perhaps the scariest team in NBA history, he's expected to miss Game 4. Head coach Gregg Popovich told reporters Leonard is "likely out" for Game 4, and with that prognosis, so, too are the Spurs themselves.

San Antonio's offense craters per 100 possessions whenever Leonard is on the bench. Yes, we've said this before, rendering it a broken record. But we have to beat this dead horse. They go from scoring like the Cleveland Cavaliers or the Warriors themselves with him, to getting buckets at a Philadelphia 76ers-esque rate without him. That matters, because it's insurmountable.

Sans Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge has become the focal point of the Spurs' offense, and it isn't pretty. He's either coaxed into tough shots or, more recently, struggling to even catch the ball. He can't attack off the bounce, which makes it harder for him to create high-quality looks for those around him, and he's not giving the Spurs anything on defense when he's asked to defend Draymond Green, switch onto Kevin Durant or even go toe-to-toe with the more explosive JaVale McGee.

At one time in Game 3, the Spurs led by six points. It was encouraging. But they couldn't maintain it. Their margin for error without Leonard is zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada. That's how it was with Leonard, and it remained a steep hill to climb. Without him, there's little reason to expect anything than another blowout.

oddsIndeed, the Spurs are at home. And we can never count out a Pop-coached team in what essentially amounts to a one-off battle. But the Warriors are just too overwhelming for that to matter.

We saw it in Game 3 alone. Stephen Curry has been sensational for much of the postseason, turning in one of the most efficient offensive performances in league history. He was having an off night on Saturday, as did Draymond Green, and yet the Warriors were still able to lean on Durant, who detonated for 33 points on a blistering 11-of-19 shooting, and Klay Thompson, who broke out of his playoffs-long slump with a 17-point outing.

There's just no around it. The Spurs are screwed. And while there's always the risk the Warriors will take their foot off the gas, the NBA Finals won't tip off until June 1. They will understand the value of fighting for almost two weeks of rest.

The Pick: Golden State Warriors (-12)

Category : News

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