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Playoff Journal, May 27

   by Larry Ness - 05/27/2016

Playoff Journal (May 27)

It was “win or go home” for Golden St last night in Game 5 and the defending champs led for almost the entire game, as the contest was tied twice in the third quarter, with OKC’s only lead of the game coming at 68-67 with 6:05 remaining in that period. The Warriors took an 81-77 lead into the fourth quarter and opened a 13-point lead with 6 1/2 minutes left. Yes, the Thunder cut it to five with 4 1/2 minutes to go but the Warriors will ‘live’ until at least a Game 6 (Saturday in OKC), as they won 120-111. The “Splash Brothers” cane through, as Curry had 31 and Thompson 27. neither shot well from three-point land (combined 5 of 17) but the duo combined to make 19 of 20 FTs. Green was much better (11 points and 13 rebounds) plus Bogut scored a career playoff high 15 points, while adding 14 rebounds (7th playoff double-double of his career). Speights had his second-best best scoring game of the 2016 postseason, adding 14 points.

Durant (40 & 7) and Westbrook (31-8-5) combined for 71 points but neither shot well (combined 23 of 59), while Westbrook had seven TOs. The team’s other three starters didn’t match their play in Games 3 and 4 plus coming off the bench, Waiters did not score in 27 minutes while Kanter played only six minutes with one point and two rebounds. Golden St is the 233rd team in NBA history to fall behind 3-1 in a best-of-seven playoff series. As noted, only NINE of the previous 232 (that’s 3.9 percent!) have rebounded to win the series. The Warriors will try to force a Game 7 by winning Game 6 Saturday in OKC. However, here’s the rub. Home teams have dominated play in the conference finals, going 9-1 SU and ATS, with NINE straights wins and covers by the home team since OKC won Game 1 in Oakland vs Golden St!

Checking in on the postseason numbers to-date, home teams are 53-23 SU (.697) and 47-29 ATS (61.8%). Forty-six of the 76 games have stayed under (60.5%) and those following the Zig-Zag theory are 33-29 or plus-1.1 net games. Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Finals goes tonight at 8:35 ET on ESPN, as the Cavs and Raptors meet in Toronto. The home team has won all five games in this series so far, as well as winning all three regular season meetings between the two clubs. Cleveland’s three home wins this series have come by an average of 29.3 PPG and Toronto will look to ‘stay alive’ by beating the Cavs here in Air Canada Centre for the FIFTH consecutive time this year (2-0 in the regular season plus in Games 3 and 4 of this series).

DeRozan and Lowry combined for 67 points in Game 4 but in the Game 5 loss in Cleveland, contributed just 27 points. Lowry has been AWFUL in the three games at Cleveland, averaging 10.3 PPG while shooting 2 of 19 on threes (10.5%). That’s compared to him averaging 27.5 PPG (8 of 15 on threes) in Games 3 and 4 at Toronto. The Raptors were 32-9 SU at home in the regular season and have gone 8-2 SU in the postseason. Will the Cavs close things out here or will the Raptors send it back to Cleveland for a Game 7? The Cavs are favored by 6 1/2 points.

My Saturday journal will be available by 12 noon ET.

Good luck...Larry

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