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NBA Playoff Journal, May 3

   by Larry Ness - 05/03/2012

The Spurs continued their dominating ways last night, using a 20-0 second quarter run to open up a 53-28 lead. All five starters scored in double digits (Parker led with 18) and the bench added 43 points (had 44 in Game 1). The 114-83 win represented Utah’s second-worst playoff defeat all-time (lost Game 3 of the 1998 Finals to MJ’s Bulls, 97-54). The Spurs have now won 12 in a row, continuing their red-hot play since March 9 (26-3 last 29 games). Memphis lost Game 1 to the Clippers in record-tying fashion (see Monday’s Journal for details) but held on to win Game 2 last night, 105-78. The only Grizzlie starter not in double digits was Marc Gasol (8 & 7) with Gay leading the way with 21. Mayo had 20 off the bench and Speights, 11 & 5. Memphis won by seven points, despite the Clippers shooting 56.7 percent from the floor (including 9-of-16 on threes), as Paul led the way with 29 plus Griffin ading 22 & 9. Both West series resume on Saturday in Utah (SA leads 2-0) and LA (series tied one-all), respectively.

Over in the East, the Pacers won back the home court edge they lost in Game 1, when the Magic outscored them 11-0 in that game’s final 4:05, to win 81-77. Indiana blew open last night’s game by outscoring the Magic in the third quarter, 32-17. It was déjà vu from Game 2’s third quarter, one in which the Pacers ended the stanza on a 16-2 run, outscoring Orlando 30-13 in the period. Granger led the way for Indiana with 26 points (plus nine rebounds) and Hibbert added 18 & 10. The Magic are out-manned badly in the frontcourt without Howard and while “Big Baby” Davis is having a superb series (18.7-9.0), he’s playing way too many minutes (is averaging 37.0, compared to 23.4 MPG in the regular season). The Magic have now scored 81, 78 and 74 points in the three games, which just won’t get the job done. Ryan Anderson, who averaged 16.1 PPG and made more three-pointers than any player during the regular season, is averaging a pathetic 7.7 PPG on 7-22 shooting overall (including 5-of-15 on threes).

After all the ‘dust’ had settled Wednesday night, home teams are 12-5 SU and 9-8 ATS this postseason (I’m crediting Memphis with a Game 2 cover, as the Grizzlies opened at minus-five before closing at seven). Two of Wednesday’s three games went under, giving under players a slight edge, so far (eight overs and nine unders). Those following the Zig Zag theory are off to a profitable 6-3 start and will have the Knicks and Mavs in tonight’s two games. The Heat and Knicks are up first on TNT at 7:05 ET, with Miami favored by five points (total is 186 1/2). New York will be trying to a void a13th consecutive playoff loss, which would break a tie with the Grizzlies, who lost that franchise’s first 12 postseason games from 2004-06. The Knicks will be without Amare Stoudemire but note that they were 14-5 without him during the regular season.

The TNT nightcap is the Thunder at the Mavericks from Dallas, at 9:35 ET. The Mavs find themselves in an 0-2 ‘hole, ’marking just the FOURTH time in NBA history that the defending champs trail 2-0 in their opening round series (note: the previous three to do so, all went on to lose those series, most recently, the 2006-07 Miami Heat). The Mavericks have squandered two chances to ‘steal’ home-court advantage and actually, could have won BOTH games played in Oklahoma City (Dallas has led inside the final minute in each game, only to come up empty). That puts the defending champs in the proverbial “must win” situation here in Game 3. Dallas is favored by 3 1/2 points with a total of 194 1/2.

Good luck...Larry

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