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Saturday Playoff Journal

   by Larry Ness - 05/18/2013

NBA Playoff Journal (Saturday, May 18)

The Grizzlies and Spurs are set to open the Western Conference finals on Sunday (odds and series price will be available in Sunday’s journal), while the Miami Heat (defending champs) await the winner of the Knicks/Pacers series, the lone semifinal matchup yet to be completed. The Pacers lead the series 3-2 and Game 6 is set for tonight at Indiana, televised by ESPN at 8:00 ET. The Pacers are favored by five points and the total is 179 1/2.

Home teams went 1-1 SU and ATS Thursday night and now sit at 41-25 SU (.621) this postseason but just 31-35 ATS (47.0%), or minus-7.5 net games (12-9 SU and 9-12 ATS in the 2nd round). There have been eight overs, 12 unders and a push in the 2nd round (2-0 under on Thursday), making it 29 overs, 35 unders and two pushes this postseason. Those following the Zig Zag theory have gone 10-7 in the 2nd round (1-1 Thursday night), leaving them 26-28 or minus-4.8 net games for the 2013 playoffs.

The Pacers are a perfect 5-0 SU and ATS this postseason at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, averaging 100.2 PPG and winning by an average margin of 15.4 PPG. In comparison, while the Knicks won TWO of three in Boston during the first round, they never topped 90 points (needed OT to reach 90 in Game 4) plus have scored just 71 and 82 points in Games 3 and 4 here in Indiana. During those two games, the Knicks have shot a poor 35.4 percent from the floor, including a pathetic 28.2 percent on threes.

At first blush it would seem like an easy spot to take the Pacers but PG George Hill is suffering from a concussion and NBA rules require him to pass a concussion test before he can play again. The Pacers have no idea whether Hill will be cleared in time for Saturday night's potential closeout game. It’s hard to ignore that D.J. Augustin (who started for Hill) and Lance Stephenson, Indiana’ two starting guards in Game 5, combined to make just 4-of-15 FG attempts at Madison Square Garden on Thursday.

My next journal will be available by 12 noon ET on Sunday.

Good luck...Larry

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