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NBA Journal -- May 6

   by Larry Ness - 05/06/2013

NBA Playoff Journal (Monday, May 6)

Home teams finished the first round 29-16 SU (.644) but under .500 ATS at 22-23! Under bettors had a slight edge with the totals, as there were 21 overs, 23 unders and one push. Those following the Zig Zag theory went 16-21 ATS or minus-7.1 net games. Two of the four second round series began on Sunday. Oklahoma City edged Memphis 93-91 and Indiana beat the Knicks in Madison Square Garden, 102-95. That leaves home teams 30-17 SU and 22-25 ATS. The Mem/OKC game went under and the Ind/NYK over, leaving us with 22 overs, 24 unders and one push. “Zig-Zaggers” have off until Game 2.

Durant scored 35 points on Sunday, including the go-ahead basket with 11.1 seconds to go. Memphis lost a great chance at ‘stealing ’a win on the road, as it was outscored 6-1 in the game’s final minute. Memphis went 0-1 from the floor, made 1-of-3 FTs and had two TOs in that final minute. Pondexter was fouled on a three-point attempt with 1.6 seconds to go (score was 93-90) and could have tied the game by making all three. However, the 73% FT shooter missed his first try, then made the second and missed the third on purpose, with Memphis failing to score off the miss.

Martin had 25 points for OKC but the only other Thunder player in double digits was Jackson (12 points). OKC surely misses Westbrook. Gasol had 20 & 10, Randolph 18 & 10, Conley 13 points (although he shot just 5-of 15 from the floor) and Pondexter 13 & 5. However, in the end, Memphis’ 14-of-24 performance from the FT did in the Grizzlies. That said, Memphis bettors weren’t sad, as the Grizzlies have now covered their last SIX postseason games. Game 2 is Tuesday.

Indiana dominated quarters 2 & 3 (30-19 & 29-19), taking an 81-65 lead into the final period at MSG. The Pacers would go on to win, 102-95. It was a surprising final in that the Pacers averaged a woeful 80.3 PPG in three road games at Atlanta in the first round on 35.7 percent shooting (22.2% on threes). Indiana also averaged just 79.0 PPG vs the Knicks in three regular season meetings, yet scored 102 points yesterday, while connecting on 48.7 percent of its shots. All five starters scored in double digits for Indiana, led by West’s 20 and George’s 19. SG Stephenson had 11 points and 13 rebounds!

Carmelo led New York with 27 points but his poor shooting continued, as he made just 10-of-28 FG attempts. This was a continuation of him converting just 30.5%, (including a woeful 1-of-18 on threes), over the final three games of the Boston series. Felton had 18 for the Knicks and JR Smith 17, although he made only 4-of-15 FG attempts. If the Knicks don’t shoot better, they won’t be able to beat the Pacers. Game 2 of this series is also set for Tuesday.

TNT covers both games tonight, as Chicago and Miami open their series at 7:05 ET, followed by Game 1 of the Golden St/San Antonio series at 9:35 ET. The Bulls ended Brooklyn’s bid to become just the NINTH team in NBA history to come back to win a seven-game series, after falling behind 3-1. Chicago won Game 7 at the Barclays Center Saturday night, 99-93. The Bulls now move on to Miami to face the Heat, who eliminated the Bucks in a four-game sweep, winning all four games by double digits and failing to cover only Game 2, when the Bucks scored the game’s final seven points to ‘sneak’ under the number. Miami hasn’t played since April 28, meaning the Heat have had seven days off. The defending champs return to the court having won its last 12 games and 41 of the last 43. Of course, everyone will remember the Bulls beating the Heat back on March 27 in Chicago (101-97), a win that ended Miami’s 27-game winning streak. Miami is a HUGE favorite to win this series (about 20-to-1) and in Game 1, is favored by 12 points (total is 187).

Like Miami, San Antonio swept its first round series vs the Lakers, winning by 12 and 11 points at home and then ‘toying’ with LA’s injury-ravaged lineup in Games 3 and 4, winning by 31 and 21 points, respectively (Spurs were 4-0 ATS). As for the Warriors (No. 6 seed), they beat the Nuggets (No. 3 seed), representing the biggest upset in the first round (defined as a lower seed beating a higher one). Golden State’s win, continued Denver’s horrible postseason record of having lost in the first round in NINE of the last 10 postseasons (team’s 10-year run is the second-longest active one, to San Antonio’s 16 straight playoff appearances). The Warriors also went a PERFECT 6-0 ATS in their series win, something that rarely happens.

The Warriors are averaging 107.2 PPG in the playoffs, including scoring a league-high in points this postseason, with the team’s 131-117 win at Denver in Game 2. Meanwhile, San Antonio held Los Angeles to 85.3 PPG in sweeping that series but the Lakers were without Kobe. In this one, the Warriors will surely have Curry ready to go. Curry made 272 three-pointers in the regular season (three more than Ray Allen's previous record set in 2005-06 with Seattle) and led Golden St by averaging 24.3 PPG against Denver. However, the Warriors haven’t won in San Antonio since Feb 14, 1997 (when Duncan was still a senior in college) and the Spurs have won 17 of the last 19 meetings, overall. Maybe that’s why San Antonio is a 9-to-1 favorite to win the series (Spurs are favored by nine points in Game 1 with a total of 201 1/2).

Good luck...Larry

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