Spent Spurs: Is it time to fade world champs?

The San Antonio Spurs are not having the season many expected from the defending world champions.

Just ask forward Robert Horry.

“Even if our (27-8) record says we`re having a good season, it`s a season we shouldn`t be having,” Horry told the San Antonio Express after the Spurs 96-91 win over the New Jersey Nets Tuesday. “Our record should be even better.”

Of course, this talk is nothing new to San Antonio backers. They`ve watched their team limp into the red with a 15-19-1 ATS record this season.

“I thought we showed total lack of concentration, lack of effort, lack of cohesiveness and lack of leadership — both on the court and from me,” said coach Gregg Popovich after the Spurs gave up 14 points in the final 39 seconds, allowing the Nets to cover an 8-point spread Tuesday night. “It was disgusting.”

Despite Popovich’s rantings and his team’s poor ATS record, Covers Expert Ted Sevransky isn`t alarmed by San Antonio’s play.

“It’s really tough getting up for the first half of the season,” says Sevransky. “They know the season doesn’t get interesting until the second half. I think they’ll be a better team than last year when it is all said and done.”

Bettors can see for themselves tonight when the Spurs host the Detroit Pistons. The tilt marks the first time the two have met at the SBC Center since Game 7 of last year`s NBA Finals.

The Spurs were pegged as early 5-point favorites but Sevransky sees that number dropping by game time.

“I think you’ll see money coming in on Detroit at that number,” says Sevransky. “I was expecting something in between –3 points and –4 points in favor of the Spurs.”

However, that doesn’t mean Sevransky is favoring the Pistons for the showdown.

“This is a tough game to call. To tell you the truth, I doubt if I’ll play it,” says Sevransky. “These two teams matchup so well. You might give the Spurs the edge because they’re playing at home but the Pistons have been unbelievable on the road. I do think this game will come down to the final two minutes.”

Sevranksy adds one caveat for bettors bold enough to play this game; don’t read too much into Detroit’s 85-70 win over San Antonio as a 6 ½-point favorite Christmas Day.

“Don’t forget that Manu Ginobili didn’t play that game,” says Sevransky. “He’s the real energy on this team. Tim Duncan is great and Tony Parker is playing fantastic but Manu is the key.”

Oddsmakers have set the line at 178 1/2 points.

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