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NBA Playoff Journal

   by Larry Ness - 05/25/2013

The Pacers proved they could play with the defending champs in Game 1 but missed a great opportunity to ‘steal’ a win at Miami in that contest. Losing a playoff game at the final buzzer on the road against the reigning NBA champs is NEVER a good thing and has the potential to demoralize a team. However, the Pacers served notice last night that they are “for real!” Miami led 88-84 with about six minutes left in the game but got outscored 13-5 by the Pacers the rest of the way. It was Indiana, not Miami, which made the key plays in this one, as the Pacers tied the series at 1-all with a 97-93 win.

All five Indiana starters were in double digits, led by Hibbert’s 29 (and 10 rebounds). George had 22 and Hill bounced back from an awful 2-of-10 shooting effort in Game 1 by making 6-of-8 FGs, while scoring 18 points. Stephenson made just 4-of-12 shots but posted a solid line of 10-8-5, while West added 13 & 7. LBJ was his typical unstoppable self in Game 2 with 36 points but Miami has to be concerned with the production (or rather, the LACK of production) by the trio of Allen, Battier and Cole. That trio was a combined 2-of-16 (12.5 percent) from the floor, including 1-of-9 on threes in Game 1 and nearly duplicated that in Game 2, making a combined 3-of-14, including 1-7 on threes.

For Miami, it was just the Heat’s FOURTH loss in the last 50 games and the next two games are at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, where the Pacers are 6-0 SU & ATS this postseason, outscoring opponents on average, 101.2-to-87.2 PPG. Game 3 is Sunday and I’ll have more on this series in tomorrow’s journal (available at 1:00 ET). Home teams are now 3-1 SU in this round (conference finals) but 1-3 ATS. All FOUR games have gone over and those following the Zig Zag theory have opened this round 2-0. That gives home teams a 45-26 SU (.634) mark since the opening of the 2013 postseason but just a 33-38 ATS mark (46.5%), or minus-8.8 net games. There have been 34 overs, 35 unders and two pushes, while those following the Zig Zag theory have gone 29-28 or minus-1.8 net games, but a remarkable 11-3 ATS in the 14 Game 2s of the 2013 playoffs (were 11-4 ATS in LY’s playoffs in Game 2s, as well).

The Grizzlies find themselves down 0-2 to San Antonio in their first-ever Western Conference final but they dug themselves out of an 0-2 ‘hole’ in the first round against the Clippers, winning four in a row, all by double digits. However, even the Grizzlies will acknowledge, the Clippers can hardly be mentioned in the same sentence with the Spurs. That said, the Spurs did find themselves in exactly the same spot in LY’s West finals, leading OKC 2-0 before losing four in a row. The Grizzlies' call the FedExForum he "Grindhouse," where they set a franchise record winning 32 regular season games there this season and have won 19 of their last 20, including 5-0 SU & ATS in the 2013 playoffs. That’s reflected in the line, as Memphis is a five-point choice (total is 179).

Good luck...Larry

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