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NBA Journal, May 2

   by Larry Ness - 05/02/2016

Playoff Journal (May 2)

The opening round of the 2016 postseason was completed on Sunday, as Miami and Toronto won Game 7s at home. That’s hardly news, as in NBA playoff history, home teams are now 99-24 (.805). The Heat had no trouble at all in putting away the Hornets, as Miami won its fourth straight Game 7. Dragic led the way with 25 points, while Whiteside chipped in 10 & 12 (averaged a double-double for the series at 13.1 & 11.4). Neither Wade nor Deng did anything special but outstanding efforts were not needed. Wade averaged 19.-5.4-5.0 for the series and Deng averaged 19.0 PPG, up from just 12.3 in the regular season. Charlotte came into Game 7 shooting just 40.9 percent through six games and ‘laid an egg.’ The team shot 32.1 percent with the two biggest culprits being Walker (3 of 16) and Kaminsky (3 of 15).

The Raptors NEVER do anything easy and that was the case again on Sunday night, as they let almost ALL of a 16-point 4th quarter lead evaporate, before winning 89-84. The three-time defending Atlantic Division champs finally got past the first round (had lost to the Nets and Wizards the previous two seasons), in winning the first seven-game series in franchise history (21st year). The team's only previous series win came back in 2001 against the NY Knicks (a five-game series) and Sunday’s win makes Toronto only 2-7 all-time in playoff series. Yes, DeRozan scored 30 points but he shot 10 of 32. He made just 31.9 percent (16.7% on threes) for the series and backcourt mate Lowry made 31.6 percent over the seven games, including 16.3% on threes.

Wrapping up the first round, home teams went 30-14 SU (.681) and 25-19 ATS (56.8%). Thirty-one of the 44 games stared under (70.5 percent!).The Western Conference semis opened Saturday with San Antonio’s 124-92 rout of OKC and the other series began Sunday afternoon, as the Curry-less Warriors took care of the Blazers, 118-102. Thompson had 37 points, connecting on 7 of 14 three-pointers (he’s made seven three-pointers each of the last three games, becoming the first player to do so in the postseason). Green (23-13-11) added his second career postseason triple-double, as all five starters scored in double digits (7th straight Game 1 win by Golden St). Portland's backcourt of Lillard (8 of 26) and McCollum (5 of 17) combined to make 30.2 percent from the floor, as Portland shot just 40.2 percent as a team (10 of 31 on threes).

Action continues tonight with a TNT doubleheader, Atlanta in Cleveland at 8:05 ET (opening one of two Eastern Conference semifinals) and OKC in San Antonio at 10:35 ET, with the Spurs up 1-0 in that series. Home teams are 32-14 SU (.696) and 27-19 ATS (58.7%) with 31 of 46 games staying under (67.4%). The Cavs swept the Hawks 4-0 in last year’s Eastern Conference Finals, as LBJ averaged 30.3-11.0-9.3. Could rust be a factor? The Cavs haven’t played since April 24. Cleveland is about a 6-to-1 favorite to win the series and is favored by 7 1/2 points in Game 1. Durant and Westbrook were a combined 11 of 34 (32.4%) in Game 1, while the Spurs were led by Aldridge (38) and Leonard (25). The Big 3” of Duncan, Ginobili and Parker attempted just 16 FGs and combined for a modest 16 points. However, Saturday’s victory marked the 700th winning game that trio has played in together. San Antonio is favored by 7 1/2 points.

Tuesday’s journal by 12 noon ET.

Good luck...Larry

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