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NBA playoffs: Sunday's West betting preview

San Antonio Spurs at Los Angeles Lakers (+11, 189.5)

Spurs lead best-of-seven series 3-0.

The Los Angeles Lakers opened the season with four potential future Hall of Famers in the starting lineup, and they will look to keep their season alive with three starters that averaged a combined 11.3 points. With their top four guards sidelined due to injury, the Lakers will trot out a starting unit that includes Earl Clark, Darius Morris and Andrew Goudelock as they attempt to stave off elimination in Sunday's Game 4 of their best-of-seven series against the visiting San Antonio Spurs.

Facing an injury-depleted lineup didn't cause any let-up for the Spurs, who were steely efficient in dismantling Los Angeles 120-89 in Game 3 to put the Lakers on the brink of a first-round sweep for the first time since 1967. San Antonio shot 61.2 percent and received a combined 46 points from ageless Tim Duncan and rejuvenated point guard Tony Parker in Friday's romp. “We respect these guys,” Duncan said. “We’re not trying to give them any momentum whatsoever.” Spurs center Tiago Splitter injured an ankle Friday and is expected to  miss at least a week.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, TNT, Fox Sports Southwest (San Antonio), Time Warner Cable SportsNet (Los Angeles)

ABOUT THE SPURS: Parker was scratched in the white of his eye in Game 3 that caused some blurred vision, but he said he expects to be fine for Game 4. He is coming off back-to-back 20-point performances for the first time in over a month. Coach Gregg Popovich declined to name who will start in place of Splitter, who has averaged only 4.8 points and 4 boards in the series but provides a big body to match up with Dwight Howard and Pau Gasol. Among the candidates are DeJuan Blair, who had 13 points and seven rebounds off the bench Friday, Tim Bonner or Aron Baynes. The Spurs dominated the glass 49-35 in Game 3.

ABOUT THE LAKERS: Already down to its fifth and sixth guards due to the string of injuries, Los Angeles will also be shorthanded in the frontcourt in Sunday's game. Metta World Peace has been ruled out of the contest after having fluid drained from his knee Friday. He was a non-factor in Game 3, failing to score or grab a rebound and missing all six shots. Starting guards Steve Nash (hamstring/back) and Steve Blake (hamstring) and reserve Jodie Meeks (ankle) will all sit out as well. Second-year guards Darius Moore and Andrew Goudelock will start in the backcourt. The duo combined for 44 points Friday night.

TRENDS:


* Spurs are 1-4 ATS in their last five road games.
* Lakers are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games following a loss.
* Over is 4-1 in Spurs’ last five overall.
* Over is 7-0 in Lakers’ last seven games following a loss of more than 10 points.

BUZZER BEATERS


1. No NBA team has ever overcome a 3-0 deficit to win a postseason series.

2. Gasol had a double-double in Game 3, his third one in the past six contests.

3. "We’re not just going to quit because all the odds are against us." - Lakers C Dwight Howard.


Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors (+1.5, 211.5)


Warriors lead best-of-seven series 2-1.

A sore left ankle and anything the Denver Nuggets threw at him defensively could not slow down Stephen Curry in Game 3. Curry will try to lead the Golden State Warriors to a commanding 3-1 lead in the best-of-seven series when they host the Nuggets in Game 4 on Sunday. Curry suffered a left ankle sprain in Game 2 and was a game-time decision before Game 3 but made it into the starting lineup and collected 29 points and 11 assists in the win.

Denver has been beaten at its own game in the last two contests, as the Warriors have crashed the paint and gotten out in transition in back-to-back victories. Nuggets guard Ty Lawson nearly got the better of Curry in Game 3 with 35 points and 10 assists but made the key turnover in the final seconds that allowed Golden State to close it out. The home crowd in Oakland was fired up for the first home playoff game since 2007 on Friday and should be in top form again for Game 4.

TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, Altitude (Denver), Comcast SportsNet Bay Area (Golden State), TNT

ABOUT THE NUGGETS: Denver stole Game 1 on Andre Miller’s last-second drive but was thoroughly beaten in Game 2 when the Warriors went to a smaller lineup. The Nuggets countered with their own smaller unit in Game 3, pushing Kosta Koufos to the bench and re-inserting Kenneth Faried into the starting lineup. Wilson Chandler and Faried served as  the big men for most of the night, spreading the floor to open drive-and-kick lanes for Lawson. Denver nearly pulled off the victory with that strategy but could not overcome some key turnovers down the stretch. “There was a lot of good tonight,” Nuggets coach George Karl said after Game 3. “I told the team after the game, ‘the process of the NBA playoffs is to get better. We got better tonight.’”

ABOUT THE WARRIORS: Things looked bleak for Golden State after David Lee was lost for the playoffs with a torn hip flexor in the fourth quarter of the Game 1 loss. But the Warriors regrouped by moving Jarrett Jack into the starting lineup and catching fire from long range in Game 2. Curry, who continued playing after rolling his left ankle in the third quarter of Game 2, got treatment between games and made the start in Game 3. The star guard had no trouble moving around early and put the Warriors on his back in the fourth quarter, driving to the hoop of a left-handed hook shot over Faried on one possession and taking Corey Brewer into the lane for a floater on the next to help Golden State maintain its slim advantage. The pace of the contest did lead to some trouble holding onto the ball, and the Warriors gave up 30 points on 23 turnovers.

TRENDS:

* Nuggets are 1-6 ATS in their last seven games overall.
* Warriors are 6-0 ATS in their last six games overall.
* Over is 6-1 in Nuggets’ last seven overall.
* Over is 4-1 in the last five meetings.

BUZZER BEATERS

1. Curry joined Oscar Robertson (1962), Kevin Johnson (1989) and Chris Paul (2008) as the only players with at least 78 points and 33 assists in their first three playoff games.

2. Denver Cs Koufos and JaVale McGee combined for just four points in 25 minutes in Game 3.

3. Golden State G Klay Thompson went over 20 points in each  of the first two games but slumped to six on 3-of-10 shooting in Game 3.

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