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Playoff Journal, May 12
by Larry Ness - 05/12/2014
NBA Playoff Journal (May 12)
My last journal was Friday afternoon, with six games being played Friday through Sunday. Home teams opened by struggling in this year's postseason and that continued over the long weekend (Fri-Sun), as did the trend of high scoring games. What has turned is the surprisingly fast start by "Zig-Zaggers" and it's been a dramatic 'free-fall!'
Home teams lost both games Friday night, as the Pacers beat the Wizards 85-63, as Washington's point total matched the fourth-lowest in playoff history in the shot-clock era. The Thunder followed by winning in LA 118-112, taking a 2-1 series lead (like the Pacers). The Heat lost for the first time this postseason Saturday at Brooklyn, ending an eight-game postseason winning streak (one that had matched a franchise high) which went back to Games 6 & 7 of LY's Finals.
The Nets got back in the series by making 15 of 25 three pointers plus holding LBJ in check (after his 16-point 1st quarter), as he scored just 12 points the final three quarters (on 2 of 8 shooting). In Saturday's late game, the Spurs routed the Blazers for a third straight game, this time in Portland, 118-103. While all five Portland starters scored in double digits (four had 20-plus points), the SA bench outscored Portland's 40-6 (more on that later).
Moving ahead to Sunday, the Clippers made a remarkable comeback at Staples Center, to even their series with the Thunder at 2-all. OKC led 32-15 after the 1st quarter and 82-66 with just over nine minutes left in the game. However, LA's Collison made a basket at the nine-minute mark, sparking a 35-17 closing run, as the Clippers won 101-99. Once again, while Durant had 40 and Westbrook 27, the other three OKC starters combined for only 13 points (this is NOTHING new!).
In Sunday's late game, the Pacers fell behind 55-38 at the break vs Washington, as the Wizards outscored them 29-11 in the second quarter. However, Indiana took control in the 3rd quarter, outscoring Washington 33-17 and then outplaying them down the stretch for a 95-92 win and a 3-1 series lead. Pau George had a playoff career-high 39 while Hibbert's "rebirth" continued. He had an AWFUL series against Atlanta, then didn't score or grab a rebound in a Game 1 loss at home to the Wizards. However, in Indiana's three straight wins, he's averaged 19.7 PPG (on 58.8% shooting), along with 7.7 RPG.
Before touching on Monday's games, let's see where the playoffs stand to-date. Home teams continue to just barely win 50 percent of the time, going 34-30 SU (.531). They are a 'money-burning' 25-36-3 ATS, which is 41.0% or minus-14.6 net games. Over bettors just continue to cash their 'tickets,' with 40 overs and just 24 unders so far (62.5%).
"Zig-Zaggers" were 'crowing' early on but after opening the 2014 postseason 20-10-3 ATS, the 'bottom has fallen out," as they've lost 12 of their last 15, including a 2-8 ATS mark in second round games. For the postseason to-date, the record stands at 27-22-3 or plus-2.8 net games. We are quickly approaching the "Mendoza Line!"
TNT airs tonight's doubleheader with the Heat visiting the Nets at 8:00 ET. Miami leads 2-1 and we'll learn tonight if the Nets plan on hanging around and making this a series. Miami is favored by 2 1/2 points (total is 188). The late game (10:30 ET) is the Spurs at the Blazers. San Antonio has trailed for just 33 seconds in the first three games, becoming just the 4th team in NBA playoff history to win four consecutive games by 15 or more points (includes Game 7 of the Dallas series). San Antonio's reserves have outscored Portland's 140-43 after three games. The Spurs are favored by four points and the total is 210 1/2.