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Spurs at Hornets Game 7

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The 2008 NBA playoffs have witnessed two Game 7 battles played so far and both outcomes were the same. Boston drilled Atlanta 99-65 in the first round and then stepped up again in the conference semifinals with a 97-92 victory over Cleveland yesterday.

The Celtics' two decisive wins came at home and it's no surprise that the host has not only dominated in the second round of the playoffs, but also in Game 7's.

San Antonio, the defending champions, will be looking to buck the trend Monday as the club heads to the Big Easy for a Game 7 matchup against New Orleans.

This Western Conference semifinal contest will be the 100th Game 7 in NBA playoff history. In the first 99 battles, the home team owns an 80-19 (80.8%) record.

 
All-Time Game Seven Road Winners
Year Road Team Home Team Round
2007 Utah 103 Houston 99 First round
2006 Dallas 119 San Antonio 111 Conference semifinals
2005 Detroit 88 Miami 82 Conference finals
2005 Indiana 97 Boston 70 First round
2002 LA Lakers 112 Sacramento 106 Conference finals
2000 New York 83 Miami 82 Conference semifinals
1995 Indiana 97 New York 95 Conference semifinals
1995 Houston 115 Phoenix 114 Conference semifinals
1982 Philadelphia 120 Boston 106 Conference finals
1981 Kansas City 95 Phoenix 88 Conference semifinals
1981 Houston 105 San Antonio 100 Conference semifinals
1978 Washington 105 Seattle 99 NBA Finals
1976 Phoenix 94 Golden State 86 Conference finals
1974 Boston 102 Milwaukee 87 NBA Finals
1973 New York 94 Boston 78 Conference finals
1971 Baltimore 93 New York 91 Conference finals
1969 Boston 108 Los Angeles 106 NBA Finals
1968 Boston 100 Philadelphia 96 Division finals
1948 Philadelphia 85 St Louis 46 Semifinals
 

Only 19 teams have been able to notch a victory away from home and the last two teams (Utah, Dallas) both came from the Western Conference.

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San Antonio owns an all-time 2-2 record in Game 7 contests, beating Detroit in the 2005 NBA Finals was its most recent victory. New Orleans (0-1) has never won a Game 7 battle since it moved to Louisiana, nor has it ever advanced to the conference finals either. When the franchise was in Charlotte, the Hornets lost to the Bucks in seven games of the Eastern Conference semifinals.

Experience definitely sides with the Spurs in Monday's matchup. "Big Shot" Bob Horry owns an eye-opening 6-2 career mark in Game 7's while veteran Michael Finley has gone 3-1 as well. Only one Hornets player, Mike James, has been able to notch a Game 7 victory in his career.

As mentioned above, trends definitely favor the home team based on past history and recent occurrences as well. This best-of-seven battle has lacked drama, with the home team going 6-0 both straight up and against the spread in all six tilts. Plus, all of the triumphs have been by double digits.

Digging into the numbers deeper, the series has been all about the second half.

The Hornets outscored the Spurs by 23, 19 and 25 points in their three home games. Meanwhile, Greg Popovich's team has countered with second-half advantages of 8, 7 and 12 points against New Orleans at home.

It's apparent that momentum has helped both teams at home and hard to argue against it come Monday.

Oddsmakers have taken notice, opening the Hornets four-point favorites for Game 7. The total has been lowered to 182 after watching the 'under' cash in three consecutive games. That number has jumped up to 4 1/2-points at Sportsbook.com and the current betting trends show that the action is on New Orleans. 

Total players have watched the 'under' go 3-2-1 in the first six games but 'over' backers have certainly been teased of late. In the previous three games that went 'under' the total, the Hornets and Spurs combined for 97, 91 and 109 points in the first halves.

Unfortunately, possession basketball and poor shooting took over, which resulted in second half performances that saw 83, 89 and  a very-low output of 70 points in Game 6.

Only the L.A. Lakers and Detroit have been able to win road games in the second round and both teams have enjoyed breaks for the conference finals. The home team stands at 22-2 SU and 16-7-1 ATS after the first 24 battles.

With Game 6 being played on Thursday, both teams have had the luxury to get some rest. The Hornets are 6-2 both SU and ATS on three days rest, while the Spurs own a 5-4 SU and 4-5 ATS ledger in the same situation.

The Hornets' David West (back) is listed as 'probable'.

Tip off for Game 7 is set for 8:35 p.m. EDT, with TNT providing national coverage.

Chris David can be reached at cdavid@vegasinsider.com

  
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