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Any Reason Not to Bet On The Warriors in Game 4?
The Warriors will cover on route to a sweep
By Liam Davis
All odds brought to you by Topbet.
San Antonio Spurs (+12) vs. Golden State Warriors (-12)
Despite a time-defying performance from Manu Ginobili, another solid outing from Jonathon Simmons, better ball movement and a collective defensive effort from every perimeter pest, the San Antonio Spurs still couldn't muster a victory against the Golden State Warriors in Game 3.
Without oversimplifying it, this is the problem.
That's about as good as the Spurs can play without Kawhi Leonard. Yes, yes, yes. They can shoot better than 5-of-21 from three-point range, probably. And LaMarcus Aldridge isn't going to fumble the ball a million times or whiff on a bajillion rotations. But the Spurs held a six-point lead in Game 3. That's about as good as it gets against the Warriors period, let alone with your best player.
Reinforcements aren't on the way, either. Leonard is "likely out" of Game 4, according to Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich. Tony Parker, as we know, remains out as well. But David Lee is also expected to be out with a left knee injury.
This seems negligible on the surface. Lee is over the hill, and he's not going to give you much defense off screens. But he does provide quality minutes. Prior to going down in Game 3, he scored four points immediately off the bench and worked his butt off on the glass. The Spurs need that.
Mostly, though, they need to deploy lineups they know won't shy away from the moment. That's beyond difficult now, with three of your veterans on the shelf. Having Kyle Anderson, Jonathon Simmons and Dejounte Murray on the floor in a Western Conference Finals game is surreal, something Popovich wouldn't ever do outside garbage time. All of those guys, however, must play meaningful minutes, because the Spurs are that depleted.
There's always the chance that Leonard makes a surprise comeback. He is listed as doubtful at this writing. That's not good, but it's better than unequivocally out.
Still, the Spurs know better. Leonard will only be 26 when next season tips off. He has a lot more battles left to fight. Throwing him into a series you trail 3-0 just to be more competitive doesn't make much sense. If the Spurs somehow win Game 4 without him, then we can talk about Leonard returning.
Of course, they're not going to win. The Warriors have too many weapons, as we saw in Game 3. If Stephen Curry isn't bombing atomically, Kevin Durant is hanging 33 points on an unfathomable 11-of-19 shooting. If Draymond Green isn't making his presence felt, outside screens, on the offensive end, it's because Klay Thompson has regained some of his mojo.
Keeping pace with the Warriors was always going to be a challenge for the Spurs. Without Leonard, they have no chance. And as such, given the state of San Antonio's roster, we have no choice. Golden State is the pick.
The Pick: Golden State Warriors (-12)
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