Brooklyn is favored by 3.5 points at home over the Spurs
Oh how the mighty have fallen. The San Antonio Spurs were on top of the world and celebrating the franchise’s fifth NBA title back in 2014. Six years certainly feels like an eternity in the NBA, but the complexion of this team has completely changed since that last championship. Now, the Spurs are below .500 and are in danger of missing the playoffs for the first time in 22 years! They may be 4-3 in their last seven games, but San Antonio is having a disappointing season to say the least. When you have finished the year with a winning record 22 times in a row, your team is held to a higher standard than most.
The Spurs are currently the 11th seed in the Western Conference playoff race with a 26-34 record. The last time the Spurs finished a season with a losing record was 1996-1997, Gregg Popovich’s first year as the team’s head coach. The team started that season 3-15, and Popovich fired then head coach Bob Hill and named himself the team’s next head coach. They finished the year 20-62 and wound up with the first pick in the 1997 NBA Draft. They used that selection on future hall of famer Tim Duncan and have finished every year with a winning record since then. However, that could certainly change this year. The Spurs are four games back from the Memphis Grizzlies for the eighth seed in the Western Conference playoff race, so they will need to make every game count if they want to continue their streak of winning seasons and postseason appearances. Meanwhile, the Nets are 27-34 but are currently the seventh seed in the Eastern Conference playoff race. With the Orlando Magic trailing Brooklyn by just one and a half games, it will be incredibly important for both teams to come out of this game victorious if either one hopes to reach the 2020 NBA Playoffs.
Tonight’s game will mark the conclusion of the season series between the Nets and the Spurs. San Antonio won the only other game of this matchup 118-105 back in December in Texas. Spencer Dinwiddie erupted for 41 points in the game, which is a season-high for the sixth year man out of Colorado. However, the rest of the team was pretty ineffective, as just two other players finished the game with more than ten points. On the other hand, the Spurs were efficient as a team from top to bottom. Six different players finished the game with at least ten points, and Patty Mills ended up with 27 points on a night where he shot the ball 70% from beyond the arc. I am sure that the Spurs will bring the same full team effort tonight, but I don’t think they will be able to replicate that performance from Mills. Furthermore, I am confident the Nets will finish well above 19.4% from deep which was the case the last time these teams faced off.
This is going to be a good game, so I like to look at the season statistics to try and find out who is going to be the winner. Brooklyn’s scoring defense is better than San Antonio’s, but the Spurs have a better scoring offense. The Spurs are much better at making their field goals, but the Nets dominate in the rebounding department. I think this will come down to the most recent games that these squads played. The Spurs just barely squeaked past the Charlotte Hornets on Tuesday for a 104-103 victory on the road. However, the Nets were embarrassed at home by the Memphis Grizzlies 118-79. I think the Nets will come into this one with a chip on their shoulder and will be looking to make up for their most recent ugly loss at home. The Nets are motivated, and I think that will carry them past the Spurs tonight as they cover the 3.5 point spread.