No-one expected the San Antonio Spurs to treat their journey to last season’s NBA Finals as the end of the line for their current incarnation and with their 10-1 record at the outset of the new campaign, it’s very clear there is plenty of life left in the old dogs yet.
At 12.00, the Spurs remain great value to go one better and claim the championship this season and during eight consecutive victories, they’ve been winning by an average of 12.5 points. More impressively, it’s been defence which has shone, with opponents held to an average of 89.6 so far.
It’s not hugely surprising that San Antonio should be vying with Indiana for the league’s most impressive start. Familiarity breeds contempt for their rivals, with a tried and tested system. However, all but one of their conquests during their current streak have had losing records, which makes Friday’s visit to the Memphis Grizzlies an intriguing benchmark.
It was the Spurs who took a 101-94 victory when the two met on opening night in a re-match of last season’s Western Conference Finals but this should be an entirely different game. Having struggled to adapt their defence-first game to the up-tempo demands of new coach Dave Joerger, Memphis seems to be finding an ideal balance, winning four consecutive including defeats of both the Clippers and Warriors on the road.
That should see them soon move back to a positive points differential and at 20.00 to win the Western Conference, they remain an intriguing dark horse if their master plan comes to fruition. Back them to earn their spurs with a win over San Antonio at 1.96.
It’s a measure of the weakness of the Atlantic Division – and the surprising slump of both New York teams – that the Toronto Raptors head the standings with a mere 5-7 records. Canada’s team is certainly improving, keeping opponents to 97.8 points per night while leaning on improving forward DeMar DeRozan.
But they could have trouble coping with the interior size of the Washington Wizards tonight with Nene in the best stretch of his career. With the Wiz at +4.5 on the handicap at 1.91, there could be some magic in the air.
Take Memphis too beat San Antonio at 1.96
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