The NBA playoff schedule makes about as much sense as Gary Busey with the Western Conference finals playing two games before the Eastern side even got underway.
Now, the San Antonio Spurs and Memphis Grizzlies, who played Game 2 Tuesday don’t play until Saturday – three full days off – while the league pushes the pause button.
The hiatus is a double-edged sword for the Spurs, who hold a 2-0 series lead heading to Memphis for two games.
The time off gives San Antonio’s aging superstars a chance to lick their wounds and rest up. But the break also halts any momentum the team has built by winning the first two games, putting the Grizzlies on their heels heading back home. Oddsmakers have set Memphis as a 5-point home favorite.
We asked some of Covers Experts’ best NBA handicappers which team will the delayed schedule benefit the most heading into Saturday’s Game 3.
“From a rest perspective, it definitely aids the older, more banged-up Spurs but I like the fact the Grizzlies have had a couple of extra days to get over that heartbreaking overtime loss in Game 2, not to mention make the necessary adjustments. Let's face it. They were outplayed for 7-plus quarters in the first two games of the series. The more time they have to prepare for Game 3, the better as far as I'm concerned.” – Sean Murphy
“The Grizzlies now have time to regroup and refocus. But does this team have another epic come-from-behind, series-clinching effort left in it after going down early in its first two series? One thing we do know: The Spurs are just 20-21 ATS away from friendly confines this year, while the Grizzlies are 22-18-1 in front of the home town crowd.” – Art Aronson
“You could make a case for it helping both teams. The Spurs have older players that need the rest, while Memphis now has time to regroup after a huge comeback and eventual overtime loss in the last game. Layoff is probably good for both teams, so a wash overall as far as handicapping goes.” – Steve Merril
“Clearly favors San Antonio. The Spurs stars are older, need more rest. And San Antonio is more banged up than Memphis as well, the rest will help them heal. Lastly, Coach Pop with extra time to prepare is not a factor to take lightly. Spurs get the edge.” – Teddy Covers
“While every game is a snowflake and has its own characteristics, the database points out that home teams tend to benefit in Game 3 of a playoff series playing with three or more days of rest, going 40-23 SU and 36-27 ATS since 1991. When they are down 0-2 in the series, the host improves to 20-10 SU and 18-12 ATS in this situation. On the other hand, the Spurs have performed well in games with three or more days of rest this season, going 7-1 SU and 5-3 ATS.” – Marc Lawrence
“San Antonio is 5-3 ATS when playing with three-days rest this season and is 9-7 ATS in that role the last three years. Memphis is just 3-4 ATS this year, but 9-5 ATS the last three years. So the difference seems negligible.” – Bryan Power
“The extra time off here benefits the Spurs the most, in our eyes. Forget about the momentum angle. This is the most well-coached and veteran team in the league and they have seen every possible scenario in the past. Not saying they will win or even cover here, but there isn't a lot that can faze a team like San Antonio that has seen it all before. Memphis is younger, but this is a solid club, and the Grizzlies should be able to pick up right where they left off after their comeback in Game 2. The time off will probably benefit their No. 1 points-allowed defense. Should be a great game.” – Doc’s Sports