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Spurs Look To Improve To 3-0

San Antonio will look to improve to 3-0 in the postseason Friday night, moving to within one game of the Western Conference semifinals in the process.

The opening round moves to Los Angeles as the Spurs and Lakers meet in Game 3 at Staples Center. Tip-off scheduled for 10:30 PM ET.

Series Recap

Tim Duncan and the Spurs can take a stranglehold on the series with a win on Friday night.

Tim Duncan and the Spurs can take a stranglehold on the series with a win on Friday night.

San Antonio made short work of the Lakers in Game 1, limiting the Hollywood side to just 79 points on 30-73 shooting. Make no mistakes about it; the Spurs didn’t shoot well (32-85) but better results from behind the arc and at the charity stripe, coupled with fewer turnovers proved too good for the Lakers.

Game 2 saw improved shooting from both sides. The Lakers got 24 points off the bench, a veritable milestone compared to Game 1’s 10 points, but the Spurs – fueled by Manu Ginobli – outscored the purple and gold side in that respect. Both Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard saw their numbers drop, while Tony Parker’s 28-points secured the Spurs the victory.

San Antonio has covered the spread (-9 in both games) in each of the first two games of the series. Game 2’s success against the spread means the Spurs are now 3-2-0 ATS when playing the Lakers this season.

Game 2 saw the total (188.5) go over for the first time in the series, and also the first time when the Spurs and Lakers have met this season.

Game 3 Preview

Back in 1999, San Antonio – on the road to an NBA championship – took a 2-0 lead over the Lakers. The Spurs tightened the screw that season and ran out 4-0 winners of the series. Greg Popovich’s side will look to do likewise on Friday night.

Meanwhile, the Lakers will look back to 2004 for motivation. The Spurs opened up a 2-0 lead during that year’s Western Conference semifinals, only for the Lakers to win four straight and ultimately advance to the NBA Finals.

In fact, the Lakers are 3-1 when trailing San Antonio 2-0 in a playoff series. As well as success in 2004, the Lakers also picked up Game 3 wins in 1995 and 2003. However, the Spurs ultimately went on to win both of those series.

All told, Los Angeles owns a 9-2 historical advantage over San Antonio when playing in a Game 3. San Antonio’s only other Game 3 win came in 2008, the last time the two sides met.

History won’t be enough for the Lakers though.

The side will need to show improvement on Game 1 and 2, in which it was outplayed in almost every facet of the game.

Fortunately, Game 3 is in Los Angeles. The Lakers went 29-12 at home this season, while San Antonio was 23-18 on the road. The two sides split a pair of games at the Staples Center this season, with the Lakers winning last time out (Apr. 14).

Unfortunately, the team will once again be depleted.

Injury Report


A strained right hamstring will keep Steve Blake out of Game 3, weakening an already frail Lakers back court.

Steve Blake’s name was added his name to the long list of Laker injuries this season following Wednesday’s Game 2. A strained right hamstring will keep Blake out of Friday night’s game, alongside Kobe Bryant (Achilles).

Pau Gasol (foot), Jordan Hill (hip), Dwight Howard (shoulder), Antawn Jamison (wrist), and Metta World Peace (knee) are all listed as probable, although all took to the court on Wednesday.

Jodie Meeks (ankle) and Steve Nash (hamstring) are both listed as doubtful. At this rate we could be seeing the starting back court tandem of Chris Duhon and Darius Morris, not a combination that will have Laker fans feeling overly confident.

Boris Diaw (lumbar spine) continues to be out for the Spurs.

Betting Options

San Antonio opened as a 3-point favorite but news of the depleted Lakers has seen that gap extend to as many as 5.5 points with some bookies. Close to 60 percent of bettors are currently backing the Spurs.

During the regular season, the Lakers (34-47-1 ATS) fared slightly better against the spread when playing at home, going 19-21-1 ATS. Meanwhile, San Antonio (39-41-2 ATS) was 20-21-0 ATS when playing away from the Alamo City.

The Lakers were 26-29-1 ATS in the regular season when playing as the underdog, while the Spurs were 34-35-2 ATS as the favorite.

The total opened at 189.

The Lakers (44-37-1) favored the total to go over during the regular campaign, while San Antonio (36-45-1) was more familiar with the under. Wednesday’s Game 2 marked the first time this season the total had gone over when these two sides have taken to the hardwood.



GAME 1: LA Lakers 79, San Antonio 91

GAME 2: LA Lakers 91, San Antonio 102 (San Antonio leads 2-0)

GAME 3: San Antonio at LA Lakers (Fri, Apr. 26, 10:30 PM ET)

GAME 4: San Antonio at LA Lakers (Sun, Apr. 28, 7:00 PM ET)

GAME 5: LA Lakers at San Antonio (Tue, Apr. 30, TBD)*

GAME 6: San Antonio at LA Lakers (Thu, May 2, TBD)*

GAME 7: LA Lakers at San Antonio (Sat, May 4, TBD)*

*If necessary.

Winning team to play winner of Denver-Golden State series in Western Conference semifinals.

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