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NBA Playoff Journal - May 29

   by Larry Ness - 05/29/2012

The Celtics scored 35 points in the second quarter last night but a total of just 44 in the other three periods. Miami used a 9-2 run early in the third quarter to get some separation, outrebounded the Celtics 48-33, blocked 11 shots and never trailed at any time last night, pulling away for a 93-79 win. LBJ scored 32 points and added 13 rebounds, the 19th time in his career he's had 30 and 10 in a playoff game in his career (the only active players who have done it more are Tim Duncan and Dirk Nowitzki.). Wade chipped in 22 points with 13 assists and Shane Battier, playing in the conference finals for the first time, had a double-double (10 points / 10 rebounds).

Miami continued its erratic outside shooting, going 5-of-25 from beyond the arc, but despite that poor effort, converted on 50.0 of all its FG attempts (the Heat shot a season-high 77.8 percent in the paint). KG continued his “back to the future” play, notching his 11th double-double (23 & 10) in 14 postseason games. Rondo had 16-9-7 but made just 8-of-20 shots, while Pierce shot poorly (5-of-18), adding a modest 12 points. Ray Allen's shooting woes continued, as he was 1-of-7, scoring just six points. He’s now scored just 39 points the last six games (6.5 per), making 30.0 percent from the floor, including just 6-of-25 three pointers (24.0 percent). Eight players saw court time off Boston’s bench but that group totaled only 14 points.

To add insult to injury, not only were the Celtics held to 39.5 percent from the floor (including 4-of-14 on threes) but Boston ‘shot itself in the foot’ by making just 11 of 21 FTs. Allen, a career 89.4 percent free throw shooter, made just 3-of-7! Game 2 is set for Miami again, with the Heat favored by 7 1/2 points (total is 177). No one is pronouncing either series over, but Game 1 winners have a decided edge in ANY best-of-seven series and In the most recent 10 postseasons, teams with 1-0 leads in conference finals have gone on to win 15 of 20 times!

Home teams have opened the conference finals 2-0 SU and 1-1 ATS with both games staying under. That makes home teams 44-24 in the playoffs to-date, going 37-30-1 ATS. Over bettors went 13-9 in the second but after 68 games, there have been 30 overs but 38 unders. Those following the Zig Zag theory get their first play of the conference finals tonight (on the Thunder) but it’s hard to ignore that once again this has hardly been a winning proposition. Heading into tonight’s game, “Zig Zaggers” are 28-25-1, or plus-0.5 net games.

Game 2 of the Western Conference finals is set for 9:00 ET on TNT. The Thunder “let one get away” in Game 1, leading the Spurs by nine entering the 4th quarter. The Spurs have now won 19 straight games (9-0 SU and 6-3 ATS this postseason) and a quite remarkable 33 of their last 36. A win in Game 2, and the Spurs would become just the FOURTH team in NBA history to win 20 in row! However, the Spurs have looked ‘mortal’ the last three games, falling behind 33-11 after one quarter vs the Clippers in Game 3 of that series (before making a remarkable come back to win by 10), edging the Clippers in a series-clinching Game 4 by just three points and then surviving against the Thunder by just three points in Game 1, Sunday night. The Spurs are favored by five points and the total is 201 1/2, tonight.

Good luck...Larry

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