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NBA Playoff Journal, May 23
by Larry Ness - 05/23/2016
Playoff Journal (May 23)
There was a shocker last night in OKC, as the Thunder didn’t just take a 2-1 series lead over the Warriors but rather, Oklahoma City dismantled Golden St in a 133-105 win. The 133 points are most in playoff history for the franchise and represent the highest point total for any team in the 2016 postseason. OKC jumped on Golden St early but the Warriors climbed to within 34-28 by the end of the first quarter. The Warriors actually tied the game at 40-all, despite playing with mostly reserves on the floor but the Thunder then outscored the Warriors 32-7 in the last eight minutes of the second quarter (Golden St was a incomprehensible 2 of 21 from the floor in that stretch), to take a 72-47 halftime lead. The Thunder then made 17 of 22 shots from the floor and scored 45 points in the third quarter, entering the final period with a 117-80 advantage!
Durant had 33 points, making 10 of 15 FGs and 12 of 12 FTs. Westbrook had 30 points (10 of 19 shooting) with eight rebounds and 12 assists. After getting outrebounded in Game 2, the Thunder controlled the boards, winning the rebounding ‘battle’ 52-38, while also blocking eight Golden St shots (Warriors has just ONE block!). Curry had 24 points on 7 of 17 shooting (3 of 11 on threes) and Thompson had 18 points on 8 of 19 shooting (2 of 8 on threes). Golden St’s other three starters combined for a meager 15 points with Green getting 6-4-3, while his plus-minus rating of minus-43 represents the worst in a playoff game since 1997 (note: Thompson was minus-41 and Curry minus-39). Are the 73-win Warriors in real trouble?
Home teams have dominated play in the conference finals, going 5-1 SU and ATS with FOUR of the six games going under (“Zig-Zaggers” are 3-1 this round). Checking in on the postseason numbers to-date, home teams are 49-23 SU (.681) and 43-29 ATS (59.7%). Forty-four of the 72 games have stayed under (61.1%) and those following the Zig-Zag theory are 31-27 or plus-1.3 net games. Game 4 of the Eastern Conference Finals goes tonight at 8:35 ET on ESPN, as the Cavs and Raptors meet in Toronto. Was Game 3 a fluke or do we now have a series? It’s hard to believe Irving (3 of 19) and Love (1 of 9) can possibly shoot as poorly as they did in Game 3 plus all postseason, Lowry and DeRozan have been “X-factors.” Who knows what to expect from them? We do know this; the Cavs have gotten to the FT line 86 times in three games, while the Raptors have attempted just 51 FTs. Cleveland is favored by six points.
Tuesday’s journal by 12 noon ET.