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NBA Playoff Journal, Apr 28

   by Larry Ness - 04/28/2016

Playoff Journal (April 28)

The Charlotte Hornets were once down 0-2 in their series with the Miami Heat but after a 90-88 win last night, the Hornets own a 3-2 lead. Charlotte made 12 of 24 three-pointers in Game 5, compared to Miami's 5 of 18 shooting from three-point range. Marvin Williams led all Charlotte scorers with 17 points (also had eight rebounds), connecting on SEVEN of 10 FGs. This from a guy who shot a combined 1 of 17 in the first two games of this series. Williams had 12 & 14 in Game 3 but went 0-for-5 in Game 4, without scoring (what a strange series he's had!).

All five of Miami's scorers reached double digits, led by Wade's 25 points. Whiteside had 11 & 12 and is averaging a double-double for the series (14.0-12.2) but Miami connected on a modest 42.0 percent for the game, after shooting just barely under 58 percent in each of its first two home wins.The Hornets' road win ended a 14-year playoff drought which included NINE consecutive road playoff defeats since a win in 2002 (note: the Hornets are only 9-25 all-time in playoff road games).

Like the Hornets, the Blazers quickly fell behind 0-2 in their series with the Clippers, and EXACTLY like the Hornets, the Blazers also find themselves leading their opening round series, 3-2. Without Paul or Griffin, the Clippers placed six players in double digits but the team connected on only 41.9 percent of its shots, including 6 of 20 on threes. Redick led with 19 points plus Crawford and Green each had 17 (Jordan had 16 & 17). However, after taking a 50-45 led at the half, the Clippers could not maintain that lead, as the Blazers won the second half by outscoring LA 63-48.

McCollum led Portland with 27 points, Lillard had 22 and center Mason Plumlee had 10 & 15. Plumlee contributed four points and five rebounds over 19 minutes in Game 1. However, he's averaged 31.5 minutes the last four games (three straight wins for the Blazers), averaging 8.8 points but 15.0 rebounds and 7.5 Assists. Who'da thunk that?

With Curry cheering on the Warriors from the bench, Golden St had little trouble sending the Rockets home for the summer. The Warriors led 37-20 after one quarter and 59-37 at the half, in a 114-81 rout. Thompson had 27 points (made 7 of 11, three-pointers), Green 15-9-8 and Livingston 16. Livingston has started in Curry's place three times this series (in Games 2, 3 and 5), each time scoring 16 points, while connecting on 20 of 30 (66.7 percent) of his FG attempts (not a SINGLE one of them being a three-pointer!).

Harden had 35 points for the Rockets while Howard scored just eight points, going 3 of 13 from the floor (BTW...It marked the first time he attempted more than 10 FGs in any game this seres). Howard averaged 13.2 & 14.0 over the five games but was a complete non-factor. The Warriors beat the Rockets for the 16th time in the last 18 meetings and in the final six quarters of the series (playing without Curry), outscored Houston 179-119!

There is just ONE game on tonight's playoff schedule, Atlanta at Boston (8:05 ET on TNT). Home teams check in at 26-12 (.684), going 23-15 (60.5%) ATS. Twenty-six of the 38 games have stayed under (68.4%) and after an 0-3 Wednesday, "Zig-Zaggers" are 15-15 ATS, or minus-1.5 net games. The Hawks/Celtics series has seen the home team win all five games, with the home side covering each of the last four.

The following is ancient history but what the hell, I'll mention it anyway. The ONLY time the Hawks have beaten the Celtics in a playoff series came back in the 1958 NBA Finals, when the Bob Pettit-led StL Hawks ousted Bill Russell and the Boston Celtics in Game 6 (Russell's second season). The Hawks have since lost NINE consecutive series to the Celtics and enter tonight's game on a 10-game playoff losing streak in Boston (Hawks have lost 27of their last 29 postseason games played in Boston). However, the Hawks are favored by two points.

Friday's journal available by 12 noon ET.

Good luck...Larry

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