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Playoff Journal - May 12

   by Larry Ness - 05/12/2013

NBA Playoff Journal (Sunday, May 12)

The second round (conference semifinals) began last Sunday and all series had completed the first set of two games, with the top-seeded teams playing each of the first two games at home, by Wednesday. However, home teams have not been good to a sports bettor’s ‘pocketbook’ in the second round, at least so far. Home teams went 4-4 SU but a money-burning 2-6 ATS. The NBA expanded its first-round series to seven games beginning back in the 2003 postseason and 2013 marks the very first time that all four conference semifinal series have been tied at one-all, since the expanded series went into effect. Over the previous 10 postseasons, there was only one year in which three of the four second round series were tied at one-all (that was in 2006) and in stark contrast, 2008’s second round saw 2-0 leads by all four of the top-seed teams (only time that’s happened since the change in 2003).

Over the last two days, we’ve seen four Game 3s, with the lower seeded team playing at home. Home teams lost both games on Friday, as the Heat used a 34-24 4th quarter to put away the ‘game,’ but undermanned Bulls, 104-94. Then it was San Antonio ‘turning the tables’ against Golden St, as the Spurs shot 50.6 percent (to the Warriors’ 39.3), in a 102-92 win. Those two results left home teams 4-6 SU and a ‘money-burning’ 2-8 ATS in the conference finals! However, home teams bounced back on Saturday, as the Grizzlies beat the Thunder 87-81 (just barely covering as a five-point choice) and then the Pacers turned up the defensive ‘heat’ on the Knicks in an 82-71 home win.

Through all Game 3s in the second round, home teams are 6-6 SU and 4-8 ATS. In the playoffs to-date, home teams stand at 35-22 SU (.614) but just 26-31 ATS (45.6% or minus-8.1 net games). Friday’s games saw one over and one under, while Saturday’s two games easily stayed under. That’s five overs, six unders and a push in the second round and 26 overs, 29 unders and two pushes this postseason. Those following the Zig Zag theory won all four Game 2s in this second round (now 9-3 in the 12, Game 2s so far this postseason), then went 2-2 ATS the last two days. That’s 6-2 in the second round and 22-23 overall, or minus-3.3 net games.

There is just one scheduled game for Sunday, as the Spurs take on the Warriors in Oakland for Game 4 (3:35 ET on ABC). The Warriors totally outplayed the Spurs in the first two games, leading for 95 of the 106 minutes of actual game-time. The Warriors’ three-headed backcourt of Curry, Thompson and Jack had become the ‘toast’ of the NBA media and San Antonio ‘obituaries’ were being written prior to Friday’s Game 3 here in Oakland. However, the veteran Spurs showed what they were made of, jumping out to a 32-23 lead at the end of the 1st quarter and maintained that lead heading into halftime. The Warriors did make a run, closing to 79-78 in the 4th but the Spurs responded with an 11-1 run to go up 90-79, with 5:39 left. Parker had 25 of his 32 points in the 1st half, while Duncan added 23 & 10 and Leonard 15 & 9. Meanwhile, the Warriors shot just 39.3%, as Curry and Thompson combined for just 33 points (duo had 56 of Golden St’s 100 points in Game 2).

The Warriors closed as a 2 1/2-point choice in Friday’s Game 3 but as of 12 noon ET, it’s the Spurs who are the small favorite for Game 4 (SA by 2 1/2 with a total of 197). Part (all?) of the adjustment is due to Curry’s ankle situation but I don’t think anyone knows what Curry’s condition will be come game time. We heard that talk before Game 3 of the Denver series and Curry went out and scored 29 points with 11 assists in a 110-108 Golden St win. I’ll be back with my next journal Monday, by 2:00 ET.

Good luck...Larry

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