Larry Ness' Las Vegas Insider (58-38-1 TY in NBA): Larry hit a 'speed bump' this week in the NBA but with 4 weeks still to go in this lockout-shortened season, he remains a MONEY-MAKING 58-38-1 or 57-38-2 with all releases. Larry & his "unmatched" contacts have been providing winning selections on the net (in all sports) for a decade & tonight it's his latest Las Vegas Insider, Want in?
Game: Indiana Pacers at San Antonio Spurs Mar 31 2012 8:35PM
Prediction: San Antonio Spurs
Grade: Winner (100)
Reason: My 8* Las Vegas Insider is on the SA Spurs at 8:35 ET.
In this lockout-shortened season, player fatigue has been a major worry for head coaches. No one has taken it more seriously than San Antonio Spurs’ head coach Gregg Popovich, who has done a masterful job with Duncan, the oft-injured Ginobili, and PG Parker (the core of the team’s championship years). This year’s 66 games have been compressed into a four-month period, with teams regularly playing back-to-back games (and even three games in three nights) while allowing little time for practice. With three months “in the books” and just one to go, the Spurs are 35-14, atop the Southwest Division (lead the defending champion Mavs by seven games!) and only three games back of Western Conference-leading Oklahoma City. The key this year has been San Antonio’s amazing depth, which has allowed Popovich to rely less on stars Tim Duncan (15.0-9.0), Tony Parker (19.4-8.0 APG) and Manu Ginobili (12.6-3.3-4.6). Those three have played together just 17 times this year (team is 13-4), meaning the Spurs are 21-10 when at least one has been injured or held out by “Pop.” Green (8.4-3.7) has been starting lately with Parker in the backcourt and rookie Leonard (8.3-5.4) up front with Duncan. Blair (9.7-5.7) has started all season, as an undersized center. Neal (9.6) has been terrific as a backup guard all season and now Stephen Jackson (10.0-3.8 in six games) is back as a Spur. Up front, Splitter (9.2-5.1) works hard inside and Bonner (7.2-3.4) roams the three-point line (45.4% on threes). The Spurs own a six-game winning streak (longest active) with rookie Kawhi Leonard averaging 13.3 points during the run. Third-year players DeJuan Blair (11.7) and Danny Green (9.3) are also playing well, plus second-year guard Gary Neal is scoring 9.8 per game over that span. Then there is former Spur Stephen Jackson, who leads the Spurs' bench players with 10.0 PPG during the six-game winning streak. "We didn't have this kind of depth last year," said Popovich, whose team has won nine of 10. "Our young players allow us not to overplay our veterans like Timmy and Tony. But down the stretch tonight I thought our experience really showed." The Pacers have an excellent starting-five, all of whom average in double digits. Granger (17.9-4.8) and West (12.0-6.8) surround center Hibbert (12.9-8.9) up front with George (12.2-5.3) and PG Collison (10.7-4.8 APG) taking care of the backcourt. Hill (9.4), a former Spur and how SA got rookie Leonard, has been excellent as the backup PG plus the recent acquisition of Barbosa (7.0 PPG in seven gams but a proven double digit scorer off the bench), was a big pickup. Hansbrough (9.5-4.5) has been “steady as he goes” all year. However, the Pacers face a rested SA team here (last played Wednesday) and one which is 20-4 SU and 17-7 ATS at home this year. The Spurs have won EIGHT consecutive meetings over the Pacers since last losing to Indiana during the 2006-07 campaign (100-99 at Indianapolis on April 1). What’s more, the Spurs will be looking for their 10th straight home win over the Pacers! Lay it.