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NBA Playoff Journal, Tues, May 1

   by Larry Ness - 05/01/2012

The Knicks matched a franchise playoff low with 67 points in Game 1 but last night, scored 94 points on 49.4 percent shooting. ‘Melo bounced back from a 3-for-15 shooting performance in Game 1 by scoring 30 points but Miami was still too much for the Knicks, winning 104-94. Wade had 25, Bosh 21 and LBJ 19-7-9. What Miami has to like is that Miller 10.0 (PPG) and Battier (9.5 PPG) are scoring off the bench, which has given Miami 26 (Game 1) and 25 points (Game 2). Some big news came out after the game when it was reported that a frustrated Amare Stoudemire punched a glass casing surrounding a fire extinguisher minutes after the contest. The Knicks power forward suffered lacerations on his left hand which required stitches. He is out for Game 3 and we’ll wait for further updates. Nice move, Amare (note: Knicks were 14-5 without him during the regular season).

The Pacers led the Howard-less Magic 77-70 with 4:05 remaining Saturday night but went 0-for-9 from the floor and 0-of-2 from the FT line to get outscored 11-0, as the Magic ‘stole’ Game 1, 81-77. Indiana’s frontcourt played well without Howard in there but the team's four guards (Barbosa, Collison, George and Hill) combined to shoot 8-of-29 from the floor (27.6%). Indiana was in a “must win” situation last night and trailed 44-42 at the half. However, the Pacers ended the third quarter on a 16-2 run, a quarter in which they outscored the Magic, 30-13. Indiana took a 72-57 lead into the fourth quarter and maintained that margin, to even the series, winning 93-78. West and Granger each had 18 points while despite foul trouble, Hibbert added 13 rebounds (did score only four points). The difference was Indiana’s starting guards, Hill and George, who were a combined 13-of-20 for 35 points.

The Thunder escaped with a 99-98 win in Game 1 against the Mavs, as Durant hit the game-winner with 1.5 seconds remaining. Oklahoma City opened a 46-30 lead midway through last night’s second quarter but couldn’t maintain that margin. Dallas closed to a seven point deficit by the half (57-50) and remained “in contact,'” the rest of the way. Oklahoma City did prevail once again, 102-99, taking a 2-0 lead in the series. Westbrook had 29, Durant 26 & 10 plus Harden had 15. Surprises for OKC were Perkins’ 13 & 6, after 26 scoreless minutes in Game 1 plus Fisher’s 11 points (on 5-of-6 shooting), after 16 scoreless minutes Saturday night. Dirk led Dallas with 31 points (he had 25 in Game 1) but the Mavs now find themselves in an 0-2 ‘hole.’it marks just the FOURTH time in NBA history that the defending champs trail 2-0 in their opening round series. The previous three to do so, all went on to lose those series, most recently, the 2006-07 Miami Heat.

Home teams were 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS last night and are now 9-2 SU (7-4 ATS) to open the postseason. Two of Monday’s games went over, making it five overs and six unders, so far. Those following the Zig Zag theory (see Monday’s Journal for more details), lost a half-pointer on the Knicks, but won with the Pacers and Mavs, to open 2-1. The NBA Network has tonight’s first game (7:35 ET), as the Hawks attempt to go 2-up on the Celtics. The Celtics will be without Rondo (suspended for one game) leaving Atlanta favored by 4 1/2-points (total is 173). TNT is back with another doubleheader, starting with Philly at Chicago (sans Jalen Rose) at 8:05 ET. Chicago is favored by 6 1/2-points and the total is 176. The late game is Denver at LA (10:35 ET) from Staples Center. The Lakers won Game 1 easily (103-88) and let me note that while LA is 34-2 all-time in opening round series when owning the home court advantage, the Nuggets (under Karl) have lost SIX of their previous seven first round series. LA is favored by 5 1/2-points in Game 2 (total is 201).

Good luck...Larry

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