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Playoff Journal, May 12

   by Larry Ness - 05/12/2016

Playoff Journal (May 12)

The Raptors needed DeRozan and Lowry to “step up” and the backcourt duo did just that. Toronto jumped all over Miami early (led 17-4 at the 6:00-minute mark of the first period) but as it always seems with the Raptors, NOTHING comes easy. The Heat would cut the lead to 88-87 with 1:54 left in the game but Toronto prevailed 99-91, winning that all-important Game 5, taking a 3-2 lead. DeRozan and Lowry had struggled all postseason (with a a few rare exceptions) but both came through last night. DeRozan scored 34 points and Lowry 25, as the two combined to make 20-of-47 from the floor, including 5-of-10 three-pointers. Miami’s backcourt of Wade (20) and Dragic (13) were out-played all game, as each wound up shooting 6 of 14 from the floor.

In last night’s second game, the defending champs eliminated the Blazers by winning Game 5, 125-121. The Blazers were VERY competitive all series and in this one, trailed just 118-116 with 1:21 remaining in the contest. Curry’s three-pointer with 24 seconds basically sealed the deal. Thompson led with 33 points (he averaged 31.0 PPG in the series, connecting on 28 of 56 three-pointers), with Curry adding 20, Green 13-11-6 and the bench chipping in 38 points. Portland’s guard duo of Lillard (28) and McCollum (27) fought hard but matching the “Splash Brothers” proved to be too much. Golden St shot 51.2 percent as a team and Portland 41.2 percent (plus missed 10 of 29 FTs) but the Blazers still lost by only FOUR points.

Home teams are 11-8 SU and 10-9 ATS in the semifinals and with both of last night’s games going over, made it 10 overs and nine unders in the second round. “Zig-Zaggers” won with both the Raptors and Blazers, moving to 9-6 ATS in the second round. Checking in on the postseason numbers to-date, it’s 41-22 SU (.651) for home teams and 35-28 ATS (55.6%). There have been 40 unders in the 63 games (that’s 63.5%) and those following the Zig Zag theory are 26-25 (minus-1.5 net games). ESPN carries tonight’s Game 6 from OKC at 8:35 ET, as the Thunder look to eliminate the Spurs.

Durant (26.8-6.2-4.4) and Westbrook (24.6-7.2-10.2) are having excellent series for the Thunder but OKC’s two-headed center combo of Adams (10.2 & 12.0) and Kanter (9.0 & 7.6) may be the difference in the series so far. Duncan’s (3.4 & 3.6 in the series) a shell of his former self and Aldridge has been held to 36.7% shooting the last three games. Also, neither West (5.6-3.2) nor Diaw (4.4-2.2) are big enough to compete inside with Adams and Kanter, or for that matter, Ibaka (11.6-3.4 this series). A San Antonio loss in Game 6 might mean Duncan and Ginobili have played their last games. Spurs are favored though, by 1 1/2 points.

Friday’s journal by 12 noon ET.

Good luck...Larry

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