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Playoff Journal, May 13

   by Larry Ness - 05/13/2014

LBJ was unhappy he missed a meaningless free throw at the end of last night's game, but not really. "King James" lived up to his moniker, matching a career playoff-high with 49 points, making 16 of 24 FGs and 14 of 19 FTs. It was his 12th, 40-plus playoff game of his career, NINE of which have come on the road. Last night's effort allowed the Heat to take a commanding 3-1 lead over the Nets in this series, as Miami won 102-96.

The Nets set a franchise record with 15 made three-pointers in Game 3 (25 attempts) but Brooklyn's woes from behind the arc reared its ugly head again last night, as the Nets made only 5 of 22 (27.2%). Garnett was again a non-factor, with eight points and seven rebounds. He's scored a total of just 22 points in the series (5.5 per) and except for his 5 of 6 shooting performance in Brooklyn's Game 3 win, KG is just 5 of 13 (33.3%) from the floor in the other three games.

In Monday's late game, the Blazers finally slowed down the Spurs, avoiding a four-game sweep. The Spurs had trailed for a total of just 33 seconds in the first three games but it was a much different story last night. In a 'battle' of young PG vs an old vet, Parker had 'schooled' Lillard in the first three contests but last night night, Lillard had 25 points to Parker's 14.

Parker was hounded defensively by the Blazers' Batum, who threw in a 14-14-8 game of his own. San Antonio's bench is its strength while getting scoring outside of their starting-five is a real weakness of the Blazers. San Antonio's reserves had outscored Portland's 140-43 after three games but last night the disparity was not nearly as much, as while the Spurs got 40 bench points, the Blazers countered with 26. Will Barton, who had a total of just 22 points in the first three games, exploded for 17 in Game 4.

Home teams were 1-1 SU and ATS last night, leaving them 35-31 SU (.530) and 26-37-3 ATS, so far. That's a 41.0% win rate ATS or minus-14.7 net games (O-U-C-H!). "Zig-Zaggers" were on a terrible slide heading into last night, going 2-8 ATS in the second round and just 3-12 their last 15, overall. However, both the Heat and Blazers won and covered in Game 4, after losing their respective Game 3s. That makes "Zig-Zaggers" 29-22-3 in TY's postseason (plus-4.8 net games).

The Miami/Brooklyn game went over while San Antonio/Portland stayed well under. However, it's been a banner postseason for "over players" in 2014, as after 66 games, their have been 41 overs and just 25 unders (62.1%).

TNT is back in the 'doubleheader business' again tonight. Washington visits Indiana in the first game (at 7:00 ET), facing elimination after winning Game 1 at Bankers Life Fieldhouse but then losing three in a row (the last two at home). The Pacers are favored by 5 1/2-points (total is 181). The second game is at 10:30 ET, when the Clippers take on the Thunder at OKC in all all-important Game 5. The Clippers came back from a 16-point 4th-quarter deficit to win Sunday's Game 4 (101-99) and tie the series at two-all. The Thunder are favored by five points and the total is 212 1/2.

Good luck...Larry

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