The San Antonio Spurs are nearing the point of Leonard’s return, and have survived without him, making them very dangerous going forward. The Heat may have the luck of being the last team to face them shorthanded, but they are thinking more about themselves at this point, as Whiteside’s absence created a large hole in the middle. They’ll have a close look on Wednesday on how a team plays together to overcome such handicap when they visit San Antonio.
Heat at Spurs
Spread: San Antonio -7.5 (-110) at BetDSI Sportsbook
Total: over/under 197.5 points (-110)
Heat can’t compete with Golden State for 48 minutes
This time, it wasn’t the slow start to the game for the Miami Heat. In fact, they led by eight in the first quarter and trailed by only two at the halftime break. Yet, as they’ve grown accustomed to, the Heat, missing their center Hassan Whiteside again, simply can’t put a full game together. At least not against such a formidable opponent as the Golden State Warriors.
The Warriors outscored the Heat 37-17 in the third quarter after opening up the quarter on an 18-3 run. The Heat will was visibly crushed and they fell behind by as much as 33 points before settling for a 95-123 final score in extra long garbage time. It was third Heat loss by double digits in the last four games. Goran Dragic, who made only 7 of 29 shots over the past three games, was one of the bright spots for Miami. He had a much better offensive performance, leading the Heat with 20 points on 7 of 10 shooting. But Miami backcourt is taking turns, rarely turning it on at the same time. His running partner Dion Waiters struggled from the field, shooting 1 of 10 for only four points. Heat scored just 35 points in the entire 2nd half, after scoring 36 in the first quarter alone. They ended up shooting 40.7 percent from the field and had just 28 rebounds sans their main guy on the glass. Olynyk and Tyler Johnson used extra minutes to reach double digits, but neither was much of a factor in the game, and Ellington couldn’t find his recent three-point touch despite attempting 10 long-range shots. Without strong bench support, the Heat didn’t stand a chance against Warriors shooting 56 percent from the field.
Whiteside is rehabbing and is not even with the team for this trip, so he won’t play in Texas. The Heat will have to find a way to better mask his absence, as it had hurt them badly so far.
Place: AT&T Center, San Antonio, Texas
Date/Time: Wednesday, December 6th, 2017. 8:30 PM ET
TV Coverage: FSSW, FS Sun
Spurs win at home again, down Pistons
There was nothing new with the Spurs in their last win. They defeated the Detroit Pistons 93-90 behind their star power forward, great defense and next man up approach, like so many time before this season.
LaMarcus Aldridge led the way again with 17 points, including San Antonio’s final six points of the game, and took 10 rebounds as the Spurs came from behind to win. They had no answer early on for sizzling hot Reggie Jackson, who scored 20 points on 9-of-11 shooting in the first half, and found themselves trailing by three. The first half featured four ties and eight lead changes, with the biggest advantage being Detroit’s eight-point lead early in the second quarter. Keeping it close was the mantra in the third quarter as well, and they did it on the defensive side. San Antonio missed 12 of their 20 shots in the third quarter and lost aggressiveness, not shooting a single free throw in the period. However, Ginobili and Bertans turned the four-point deficit in a four-point lead as soon as the fourth quarter opened, and another late 14-2 run ignited by a long Mills three-pointer put San Antonio in charge. Seven San Antonio players scored in double figures as Pau Gasol hit for 15 (and had 10 rebounds), Gay and Ginobili added 12 points and Green, Mills, and Bertans each scored 11 points. They shot 42.7 percent from the field but got 14 triples and had incredible 30 assists on 35 made FGs. The Spurs also won the rebounding battle, not an easy task against an athletic team like the Pistons.
Lauvergne sat out the last game with an injured finger and Anderson could play after spraining knee in their last game. The Spurs started Gay in his place and altered rotation to play more minutes with just one big in the lineup. Leonard addressed media for the first time in months, confirming Popovich’s cryptic announcement that he’s real close, but gave us not more. Some sources claim that the Spurs expect him to return during this homestand that will also include a game against the Celtics, making him questionable, or at least doubtful for this game.
Miami Heat at San Antonio Spurs Game Trends & Prediction
The Miami Heat would stop competing once they realized they don’t have much chance to win, and this is really concerning for any wagers when they come in as an underdog. They covered only once in 5 games, falling to 8-13-2 for the season, but fared better on the road, where they are 6-6. They are more likely to play under games, judging by their overall (8-15) and road (3-9) O/U records.
The Spurs wouldn’t cover against the Pistons, coming up short by a point, but did so in the previous two, so it’s hardly a trend. Last three, and six of the previous eight games failed to reach the projected line. Overall, the Spurs are 12-11-1 against the spread and 9-15 against the over/under. Home court was kind to their backers so far, as they are 8-4-1 in AT&T Center.
Admi-Rank: Even when they played without half of their roster, the Spurs managed to maintain the high level. With Leonard’s season debut looming, the Spurs are in a good place. The Heat have hit the lowest ranking since the beginning of the season, with two really bad efforts without Whiteside, but should bounce back soon.
The Spurs are tough to beat in San Antonio, as you can’t cheat your way into a victory on most nights. The Heat play the ‘right way’, but I’m not sure that they’ll be able to do well here as the Spurs cause troubles with their size to teams better equipped at the center position, and Miami is really struggling to replace Whiteside. Their chances lie in outside shooting, but they have to patient to get the best shot, as the Spurs can easily make you go one and done quickly, and then tire you by forcing you to play defense for 24 seconds.
The Spurs have been set as a 7.5-point favorite, which immediately drew my attention. The books are underrating them more often than not, and this is one of the best prices on them in recent weeks. Even with the low number of points expected, the Spurs should be favored at least 9.5 points, even without counting any possibility of Leonard returning. The unders is also very close, as the line is quite generous at 197.5. This stems from lack of interior protection for Miami, and the value isn’t quite large enough, so I’m going to hope for a better price on the game day.
My Pick: San Antonio -7.5 (-110)
Total: (no wager on the total points, closest target: under 198.5 (-105))
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