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Playoff Journal, May 19

   by Larry Ness - 05/19/2016

Playoff Journal (May 19)

The Warriors found themselves in a rare position heading into Game 2 of the Western Conference Finals. Golden St lost Game 1 at home, just the team's THIRD home loss this year (39-2 in the regular season and 6-1 in the postseason). It marked the first time in the playoffs that the Warriors trailed in a series but they also knew that they had not lost consecutive games all season. Golden St took a 27-20 lead at the end of the first quarter and led 57-49 at the half. However, the Warriors were well aware that they had blown a 13-point halftime lead in Game 1, scoring a a season low 42 points in the second half of that game, including only 14 points in the fourth quarter. Steph Curry made sure that was NOT going to happen again, as he scored 15 points in just under a two-minute stretch of the third quarter, which propelled the Warriors to 118-91 win.

Curry would finish with 28 points and was buoyed by a very balanced scoring effort from his teammates. Klay Thompson had 15 (ending a streak of eight straight 20-plus efforts), Barnes 11 & 16 and Green 10-8-7. The Golden St bench added 50 points (had a modest 16 points in Game 1), led by Iquodala (15), Speights (13) and Ezeli (12), who reached double digits for the first time this postseason. The Warriors shot 50.6 percent as a team, including 13 of 28 on threes. Durant had 29 points for OKC (but just SIX in the second half), while Westbrook had 16 and 12 assists (he shot just 5 of 14, including 1 of 5 on threes). Adams (9 & 10) and Kanter (6 & 2) were held in check, after combining for 24 points and 18 rebounds in Game 1. That led to Golden St winning the rebounding ‘battle,’ 45-36.

The Warriors are now a PERFECT 12-0 SU and 9-3 ATS following a loss this year. Will the team’s ‘magic’ season end with a second straight title? Game 3 is not until Sunday, back in OKC. Home teams are now 2-1 SU and ATS in the conference finals, with two of the three staying under (Game 1 of the Tor/Mia series barely snuck over the closing number). Those following the Zig Zag theory began the conference finals 1-0 (after going 11-7 ATS in the second round) and will be on Toronto in tonight’s Game 2 at Miami (8:35 ET on ESPN). Checking in on the postseason numbers to-date, home teams are 46-23 SU (.667) and 40-29 ATS (58.0%). Forty-two of the 69 games have stayed under (60.9%) and those following the Zig-Zag theory are 29-26 or plus-0.4 net games.

The Cavs take the court a PERFECT 9-0 SU this postseason (6-3 ATS), coming off a 31-point win in Game 1 (largest margin of victory in Cleveland’s playoff history). The Cavs averaged 19.3 made three-pointers per game in their four-game sweep of the Hawks but made just seven three-pointers (in 20 attempts) in Game 1 vs the Raptors. Not to worry though, as the Cavs dominated inside, outscoring the Raptors 56-to-36 on points in the paint, while outrebounding them 45-23. Lowry was AWFUL and DeRozan not much of a factor but of even more concern to the Raptors has to be the fact that the All Star guard duo never even attempted a SINGLE free throw between them in Game 1 (talk about NOT being aggressive!). The Cavs are favored by 12 points.

No games scheduled for Friday, so my next journal will be Saturday, available by 12 noon ET.

Good luck...Larry

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