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NBA Playoff Journal, Wed. April 20

   by Larry Ness - 04/20/2016

Playoff Journal (April 20)

The Celtics managed just SEVEN points in the first quarter last night in Atlanta, as the Hawks rolled to an 89-72 win. The Celtics’ seven 1st-quarter points set an all-time NBA playoff low for an opening quarter, since the advent of the shot clock (1954). Boston shot 31.8 percent for the game (5 of 28 on threes) and has now dropped SEVEN consecutive playoff contests. Atlanta’s Kyle Korver, who was 1 of 10 in Game 1 (0-of-7 on threes), made FIVE of six three-pointers in the first half and led the Hawks with 17 points for the game. Atlanta set a franchise record with 15 blocks (five by Horford and four by Millsap), as the Hawks will take a 2-0 series lead to Boston.

The Spurs also had little trouble taking a 2-0 lead in their series against the Grizzlies. Memphis played an ‘ugly’ game in losing by a 32-point margin (largest playoff loss in franchise history) on Sunday, scoring just 74 points. However, the Grizzlies ‘topped’ that effort of futility by scoring a playoff franchise low of 68 points last night, while losing by 26 points.The Spurs used 13 players and EVERY one got in on the scoring. The 2-0 sweep by the home teams on Tuesday give them an 11-2 SU and 8-5 ATS so far. Both games staying under and under bettors are cleaning up, winning 10 of 13.

“Zig-Zaggers” went a perfect 3-0 ATS on Monday but 0-2 last night. Wednesday’s schedule features three contests, the Hornets at the Heat at 7:05 ET, then a TNT doubleheader with the Pistons at the Cavs (8:05 ET) followed by the Blazers at the Clippers (10:35 ET). Miami set a single-game playoff record with 123 points in Game 1 and enter this game 13-2 SU at home since the All Star break. Meanwhile, the Hornets will take the court tonight having lost 15 of their last 16 games in Miami. The Heat have won 10 straight first round playoff contests but it’s notable that NINE of those came with LBJ still around. Miami is favored tonight by 4 1/2 points.

LBJ has led his teams (Heat and Cavs) to wins in each of his last 14 first round playoff games. He got plenty of help from Irving (31) and Love (28 & 13) in Game 1 but the Pistons hung around all game, before losing just 106-101. Detroit did win THREE of the four regular season meetings, so just maybe, the Pistons are a tough matchup for the Cavs. Cleveland is favored by 10 points in Game 2. The Blazers got routed in Game 1 on Sunday, 115-95. They have now lost 10 of their last 11 vs the Clippers at Staples Center and the team’s playoff history spells doom. Portland is 3-26 all-time in any playoff series in which it has lost Game 1. The Clippers are favored by 8 1/2 points in Game 2.

Thursday’s journal will be available by 12 noon ET.

Good luck...Larry

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