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Playoff Journal - May 8

   by Larry Ness - 05/08/2013

NBA Playoff Journal (Wednesday, May 8)

Both of last night’s playoff games were decided in the 4th quarter. The Knicks turned a close game into a blowout with an amazing last 15 minutes in the first game, while the Grizzlies’ late 10-0 run sealed the Thunder’s fate in the late game. The Pacers led 64-62 with 3:04 left in the third quarter, when Indiana head coach Frank Vogel called a time out. The teams returned to the floor and Anthony stole the ball from George and tied the game with a layup. New York NEVER looked back. The Knicks ended the 3rd quarter on a 10-0 run and then opened the 4th with a 20-0 run.

In fact, from 3;38 to go in the third to 3:09 left in the 4th, the Knicks outscored the Pacers 36-4! Indiana went 0-14 from the floor in that span while committing five TOs. In comparison, the Knicks connected on 14-of-22 shots while making just one TO. Anthony had 16 of his 32 points in that span and finished 13-of-26 from the floor. That’s quite an improvement for someone who had made just 31.8% of his shots the previous four games. However, JR Smith’s shooting woes continued. He entered last night’s game averaging just 14.7 PPG over his previous three (connecting on only 28.6% of his shots) and finished 3-of-15 from the floor with just eight points. The series heads to Indiana tied at one-all.

OKC had a chance to take a 2-0 lead over Memphis in the late game, as the Thunder led 74-69 at the end of three quarters. The Thunder still led 90-89 with just over two minutes remaining but Conley's three-pointer at the 1:58 mark sparked a 10-0 Memphis run which only ended with Fisher’s three-pointer at the final buzzer. Memphis outscored OKC 30-19 in the final period to even the series at one game apiece with a 99-93 win (Grizzlies have now covered SEVEN straight postseason games). Conley just missed a triple-double (26-10-9) while Gasol (24 & 5) and Randolph (15 & 8) again outplayed OKC’s big men. Durant had his usual 36 points (he’s averaging 35.5 PPG in the six games since Westbrook went down with an injury) but Martin, after back-to-back 25-point games, had just six points on 2-of-11 shooting. OKC is now 1-2 SU (0-3 ATS) at home without Westbrook, as the series heads to Memphis for the next two games (note: Memphis is 16-1 SU its last 17 home games).

Homes teams were 1-1 SU and ATS last night, making them 3-3 SU but a money-burning 1-5 ATS so far in the second round. Home teams are 32-19 SU (.627) since the start of the playoffs, going 23-28 ATS. The Mem/OKC game went over while the Ind/NYK game was the second push of TY’s postseason. Through 51 games, we’ve seen 24 overs, 25 unders and two pushes. Those following the Zig Zag theory won both plays last night (NYK & Mem) but remain a losing proposition at 18-21, or minus-5.1 net games. However, as I pointed out earlier this postseason, “Zig-Zaggers” did well in Game 2s of LY’s postseason (11-4 ATS) and that success has carried over into TY, as last night’s two wins gives them a 7-3 record in Game 2s this postseason.

Playoff action resumes tonight at 7:0 ET with Chicago at Miami on TNT. The Bulls lead the series 1-0 but the Heat are huge favorites again in Game 2 (12 1/2 points with a total of 187). Miami is 41-3 its last 44 but the Bulls have been responsible for TWO of those three losses. The second-half of the TNT doubleheader is the Warriors at the Spurs (9:35 ET). San Antonio escaped with a two-point double-OT win in Game 1, the team's 30th straight home win over the Warriors (20-10 ATS). However, the Warriors are a PERFECT 7-0 ATS in the 2013 NBA playoffs. San Antonio is favored by 7 1/2 points and the total is 205.

Good luck...Larry

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