San Antonio Spurs vs Golden State Warriors

NBA: 10:30 PM EST

April 16, 2018

Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson led the Warriors to a sound thrashing of San Antonio in Game 1, sitting out the entire 4th quarter as Golden State coasted to a 113-92 win over the Spurs Saturday afternoon. The second game of the series will return to Oracle Arena, and Steve Kerr’s group will look to upstage his former mentor Gregg Popovich and jump out to 2-0 series lead.

The Dubs finished Game 1 shooting a torrid 54% from the field, including a sparkling 11-13 performance from streaky guard Klay Thompson. Kevin Durant supplemented Klay’s 27 points nicely with 24 of his own, on a fairly efficient 9-17 from the field. The Spurs, on the other hand, could never really get much going offensively, as their leading scorer was Rudy Gay, who came off the bench with a paltry 15.

This matchup will be difficult to predict, as there are valid arguments for both benches. Golden State is just as talented and deep as they were two nights ago, and may very well run away with Game 2 in another scoring deluge against a team missing its most viable offensive and defensive threat. However, Gregg Popovich is no slouch on the other bench; he’s led the Spurs to a 47-win season with a roster that pales in comparison to those in years past.

The Warriors have been fairly below-average ATS this year (just 34-47-1), which is likely a combination of both an injured/underachieving roster for stretches of the season, as well as the gargantuan expectation placed on this team due to their bevvy of recent success. With all that in mind, I’m looking for San Antonio to patch things up defensively and try different defensive schemes to contain the duo of Thompson and Durant. If the Spurs’ frontcourt can get established early (LaMarcus Aldridge and Pau Gasol finished with just 20 combined points), they can play with the defensive effort necessary to stay competitive in a hostile road environment.

They say defense wins championships, and while no one expects this year’s edition of the Spurs to contend for a title, I’m envisioning the stalwart San Antonio defense (3rd in DRTG in the NBA) to play a bigger role than in the series’ first game. I debated between this play and taking the under (Spurs are also the second-slowest team in the league), but I feel ever so slightly more comfortable backing the crafty Gregg Popovich, who has become all too accustomed to playing high-level basketball with a decimated roster.

Our Free Betting Pick: San Antonio Spurs +10

Connor Woods

A professional sports capper, Connor graduated from the University of Alabama and supports the Crimson Tide in addition to four major teams in Chicago: the Cubs, Bears, Blackhawks, and Bulls. One of his passions is visiting MLB stadiums - he's currently seen a game in 17 of the 30 active parks.

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