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Wednesday NBA Journal

   by Larry Ness - 04/24/2013

There were three, Game 2s last night, beginning with Milwaukee/Miami. The Heat won in a 23-point rout in Game 1 but the Bucks “hung tough” through the first half of last night’s game. However, the Heat pulled away and looked like they would cover again but then went scoreless in the game’s final 1:45, as the Bucks scored the game’s final seven points to earn the ATS win. Milwaukee got the cover, despite Jennings and Ellis (who combined for 46 points in Game 1) scoring only 15 points on 5-of-22 shooting (including 0-of-10 on threes). Wade led Miami with 21, LBJ had 19-8-6 and the Miami bench contributed 36 points. The Heat will be tough to beat if their bench plays this way.

The first game of the TNT doubleheader was the Celtics/Knicks and it was ‘déjà vu all over again. The Celtics took a 53-49 halftime lead in Game 1, only to lose 85-78, when they scored just 25 points in the entire second half (just EIGHT in the 4th quarter!). The same scenario played out again last night. Boston led 48-42 at the half but then got outscored 32-11 in the third quarter and followed that with an 12-point fourth quarter. Boston would finish with just 23, second-half points, two less than in Game 1. Incredibly, the Celtics have how scored a grand total of just 48 points in the two second halves of Games 1 and 2, on 14-of-63 shooting (22.2%). Anthony had 34 points for the Knicks (he had 36 in Game 1) and Sixth-Man of the year Smith added 19.

In the second half of the TNT doubleheader, the Warriors mantra was, “who needs David Lee?’ It was widely reported that the Warriors were only 3-18 in the 21 games that Lee has sat the last three seasons but Mark Jackson started a three-guard lineup (Jack joined Curry and Thompson), and the Warriors rolled to a 131-117 win. Curry had 30, Jack 26 and Thompson 21, while rookie Harrison Barnes scored a career-high 24, playing PF. The Warriors shot 64.6% as a team, including making 14-of-25 three-pointers, as the Nuggets saw their 25-game home winning streak end. Dener had “no answer” last night. Maybe that’s why this team has lost in the first round in EIGHT of its last nine postseasons appearances?

Home teams are now 11-2 SU and 7-6 ATS with five games going over and eight staying under. “Zig Zaggers” are smiling today, having opened the 2013 postseason 4-1. We’ll see if it lasts. However, as noted here a number of times, despite not showing a profit last year at 36-33 for the entire 2012 postseason, the Zig Zag theory did go 11-4 ATS in Game 2 situations. There are three more opportunities in this year’s first round tonight, starting with a TNT doubleheader and a third game on the NBA Network. It’s the Rockets at the Thunder (7:00 ET on TNT), with OKC an 11 1/2-point choice with a total of 212 1/2. It’s the Lakers at the Spurs (9:30 ET on TNT) with San Antonio favored by nine points and a total of 188 1/2.

The third game is the Hawks at the Pacers (7:30 ET on NBA TV) with Atlanta favored by seven points with a total of 187. All three home teams lead 1-0 in the series and so far, just two of the previous five visitors have been able to even the series at one-all , However, four of the five visitors have covered. I’ll be back Thursday at 2:00 ET.

Good luck...Larry

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