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NBA Playoff Journal, April 30

   by Larry Ness - 04/30/2014

Let’s hope the Donald Sterling issue is settled, at least for the rest of the 2014 playoffs, so we can all concentrate on the games. The Clippers seemed more relaxed and were the only home team to win among Tuesday’s three games (nothing new on that front). All five Golden St starters scored in double digits but none had a breakout game, as the Clippers took a 3-2 lead in their series with the Warriors. DeAndre Jordan led LA with 25 points and 18 rebounds. The 6-11 center has had a breakout series, except for his understandably poor effort in Game 4 (zero points on one attempt in 25 minutes). The Clippers were NOT ready to play Game 4 but in the other four games of this series, Jordan has averaged 15.3 PPG, 15.8 RPG and 4.8 BPG. Paul had 20-6-7 and Griffin 18 & 7 for LA, while Crawford chipped in 19 and Collison 15, off the bench.

We haven’t often seen a series like the one between Memphis and Oklahoma City. The Thunder won Game 1 100-86 but the next four games have all been decided in OT. Memphis has won THREE of the four, including last night's 100-99 thriller. The Thunder trailed 55-43 at the half and fell behind by 20 in the third quarter, only to rally and send the game to OT. However, the Grizzlies prevailed, led by Miller’s 21 points off the bench. Starters like Randolph (20 & 10), Gasol (11 & 15) plus PG Conley (17) also came through. Westbrook had 30 points and Durant 26 for OKC, but the two stars shot a combined 20 of 51 (39.2%), including 4 of 15 on threes. OKC can’t win if those two shoot that poorly. Jackson the Game 4 hero with 32 points, “retuned to reality” with a six-point game on 2 of 7 shooting.

The only series to conclude last night was the one between Chicago and Washington. The Wizards closed out the Bulls with a 75-69 win, beating the Bulls for the THIRD time in this series at Chicago. The game was an embarrassment to a Chicago team which won more games after New Year’s Eve than any team in the East, yet was held to 17 points or less in THREE of last night’s four quarters. As for the Wizards, they advanced past the first round for only the THIRD time in the team’s last 13 postseason appearances (since Washington played in back-to-back NBA Finals against Seattle, winning in 1978 and losing in 1979).

The Wizards averaged 94.6 points PPG this series but their 75 points in Game 5 is the third fewest by a team in a series-clinching win in the shot clock era. The two exceptions BOTH came back in 2004 (what was in the after that season?), with the Pistons scoring only 69 points and the Pacers 73 in their respective series clinching wins. Washington’s future looks bright (the Wizards just may get the 8th-seeded Hawks in the second round!) with a backcourt which features Bradley Beal (turns 21 in June) and John Wall (turns 24 in September). Beal averaged 19.8-4.6-4.2 in the series and Wall 18.8-4.6-6.8.

Tuesday produced more woes for the home teams, as they went 1-2 SU and ATS. Through 36 games of the 2014 playoffs, home teams are 15-21 SU (.417) and 12-21-3 ATS (36.7% or minus-11.1 net games).”Zig-Zaggers” went 2-1 and are now 16-9-3 or plus-6.1 net games. Yes, the Washington/Chicago game stayed under by 40 points but the other two games went over, leaving “over players” 24-12 (67%), so far.

Wednesday’s schedule features another TNT doubleheader with Dallas at San Antonio up first (series is tied at two-all), with the Spurs favored by 6 1/2 points *(total is 198 1/2). Portland looks to close out the Rockets in Houston in the second game (Blazers lead 3-1) but Houston is favored by 5 1/2 points (total is 213 1/2). Like the Memphis/OKC series, THREE of the first four games of this series have gone to OT. Déjà vu, tonight? The NBA Network carries Brooklyn at Toronto (series tied at two-all), with the Raptors a three-point choice (total is 191).

Good luck...Larry

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