After dropping two games in Memphis, the San Antonio Spurs will look to take a 3-2 series lead tonight in a pivotal game five.
The most important game of the series is here.
If the Spurs win, they will take a commanding 3-2 series lead, putting immense pressure on the Memphis Grizzlies to win at home in game six. If the Spurs lose at home, they will have to win two straight games, including game six on the road, to come out of this series victorious.
While the statistic is always changing, the winner of a game five in a tied series usually goes on to win the series, so saying this is an important game would be a massive understatement.
The Spurs are a 10-POINT favorite tonight in Game 5.
Vegas must think all those open misses in Memphis for SA are going in today.
— Paul Garcia (@PaulGarciaNBA) April 25, 2017
According to Vegas, the Spurs losing tonight would be a huge upset, considering they have the Spurs as 10 point favorites in tonight’s game.
Why are the Spurs so heavily favored in game five when they lost both game four and game five?
Besides having immense respect for Gregg Popovich and his ability to out-coach his opposition, I believe the theory is quite simple, and it’s the reason the Spurs will game five tonight.
Throughout the series, we’ve analyzed the Spurs defense, and their inability to stop Mike Conley in the pick-and-roll. We’ve also analyzed the Spurs offense, and how badly other players need to step up and alleviate the scoring load off of Kawhi Leonard’s shoulders.
Kawhi Leonard is the first player in NBA history to have 40+ points, 5+ three-pointers and 5+ steals in a playoff game.
— Jordan Howenstine (@AirlessJordan) April 23, 2017
However, instead of taking an in-depth look at the stats, we’ll make it simple today.
The Spurs will win game five because they are playing at home.
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The Spurs and the Grizzlies have played eight times already this season, playoffs included. The Grizzlies won the first two games of the regular season in Memphis, and the Spurs won the final two games back in San Antonio. In the first round of the playoffs, the Spurs won the first two games at home, then lost the next two games in Memphis.
The home team is undefeated in this series.
It’s not hard to imagine why, either.
Players like Leonard and Conley will elevate their play, regardless of where they are playing. Players like Danny Green and Patty Mills feed off the home crowd, and use that energy to produce on both ends of the floor.
When role players are struggling to make shots, making one at home and hearing the crowd erupt is exactly what you need to get back on track. Hopefully, that’s the case tonight.
If home-court advantage isn’t enough, here is the other thing the Spurs need to do tonight.
Magic Number – 100 Points
Let’s take a look at these past matchups between the Spurs and the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies won the first game of the regular season, 89-74, but that game didn’t include Leonard, so we can void that game. The Grizzlies came back in the second game and beat the Spurs again, 104-96. In the third game, the Spurs bounced back and won, 97-90. In the final matchup of the regular season, the Spurs also won, 95-89.
The Grizzlies scored over 100 (104) in the second game, and beat the Spurs. The Grizzlies scored 90 and 89 points in the next two games, and lost to the Spurs.
Not convinced yet?
The Spurs took game one of this playoff series, 111-82. The following game in San Antonio, the Spurs won again, 96-82. In game three in Memphis, the Grizzlies bounced back, beating the Spurs 105-94. In the most recent game, the Grizzlies won in overtime, 110-108.
The Grizzlies scored 82 in the first two games, and lost to the Spurs.
The Grizzlies scored 105 and 110 points in the following games, beating the Spurs both times.
Here’s the bottom line: If the Spurs can hold the Grizzlies to under 100 points at home, the Spurs will come away with the third victory of this series. If the Spurs allow the Grizzlies to score over 100 points, there is a good chance they lose this game, and home-court advantage.
I think you know where i’m headed with this one.
Although a 10-point favorite is a bit of a stretch for me, the Spurs will bounce back in game five, get production from their role players, and earn a decisive game five victory.
Leonard, LaMarcus Aldridge, Tony Parker, and Patty Mills will all be in double figures.
Dewayne Dedmon (illness) practiced today and should be available for Game 5 tomorrow
— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) April 24, 2017
The return of Dewayne Dedmon will help the Spurs rebound and defend the post against Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, who had a lot of success in games three and four.
Last, but certainly not least, Manu Ginobli will finally score his first points of the series tonight.
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Spurs win, 102-94.