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Spurs Face Must-Win Game 3
Golden State will cover in Game 3
By Liam Davis
All betting lines brought to you by Topbet.
It's a testament to the San Antonio Spurs' way that they aren't heavier underdogs in Game 3.
Kawhi Leonard's status remains up in the air after he missed Game 2. Many expect him to play, even if he's not 100 percent, but the Spurs won't jeopardize his future in any way to try winning a series they've already lost.
Yes, this one is done. Over. Kaput. Finished. The Spurs' best shot at beating the Golden State Warriors lied in Game 1 or 2. Leonard's injury ripped them out of contention in Game 1, and without him in Game 2, they were never competitive. The offense stalled, LaMarcus Aldridge was passive and lost at the same time, Jonathon Simmons was the only consistent scorer, and the Spurs ended up getting destroyed 136-100—the rare final score that's indicative of how truly lopsided the matchup became.
Sure, Leonard might return for Game 3. And that's not insignificant. The Spurs score like the best team in the league when he's on the floor, according to NBA.com. Their output, in fact, drops by 16.8 points per 100 possessions without him.
Take him from the lineup, and they're done. Put him back in, and they have a chance.
But what does that even mean at this point?
Stephen Curry is posting the highest postseason true shooting percentage of his career right now. Kevin Durant has been straight fire on both ends of the floor. If Draymond Green plays like he is now during the NBA Finals, he'll win the MVP award.
There is no coming back from this—not against a team like the Warriors. And it's not just that they added Durant to a 73-win core. That's part of it. Most of it, though, has to do with the learning experience from last year's Western Conference Finals and NBA Finals.
In the former, the Warriors fell down 3-1 against the Oklahoma City Thunder and needed to come rampaging back. In the Finals, they built a 3-1 lead of their own against the Cleveland Cavaliers, only to see it burnt to the ground.
Moral of the story: They won't take their foot off the gas. Even in Game 2, with the outcome firmly in hand, they kept plenty of their key guys in. They're not taking any chances.
So if Leonard is out, we should expect the Warriors to roll. And if he's in, at 100 percent or close to it, well, then we should still expect them to roll.
The Pick: Golden State Warriors (-6)
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