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NBA Playoff Journal, May 28

   by Larry Ness - 05/28/2016

Playoff Journal (May 28)

The Cavs opened the 2016 postseason with 10 consecutive wins (one shy of the all-time record of 11 straight wins to open a playoff year), sweeping the Pistons and Hawks, before easily winning Games 1 and 2 of the Eastern Conference Finals against the Raptors. However, the Raptors regrouped to win Games 3 and 4 in Toronto, getting excellent play from guards Lowry and DeRozan plus the added bonus of Biyombo turning into a rebounding ‘machine’ in those two contests. Meanwhile, the Cavs went ‘cold’ from three-point range with Irving and particular Love, throwing in very sub-par efforts. However, the Cavs said “enough is enough” and just ‘buried’ the Raptors in Games 5 and 6.

A quick check of the NBA’s playoff history book reveals that Game 5 winners of a best-of-seven series (when tied two-all) are now 153-34 or 81.8 percent all-time, as the Cavs followed their 116-78 win at home in Game 5 with last night’s resounding 113-87 win at Toronto in Game 6. Cleveland shot 54.1 percent overall, including 17 of 31 on threes. LBJ scored 33 points plus added 11 rebounds and six assists, while Irving 30 points (and a postseason high NINE assists), Love 20 & 12 and J.R. Smith (15 points on five three-pointers) did their fair share.

“King James” advances to his SIXTH straight NBA Finals, after shooting 62.2 percent for the series, the second-best shooting performance of his career (this marked his 36th playoff series). LBJ averaged 26.0-8.5-6.7 against Toronto and now lead the Cavs in playoff scoring at 24.6 PPG. Irving checks in at 24.3 PPG and Love at 17.3 & 9.6. Toronto’s most successful season ever is over, as the Raptors managed to make only 41.8 percent in Game 6 (just 8 of 25 threes) and truth be told, are just not in the Cavs’ class. Cleveland’s four wins in the series came by an average margin of 28.5 PPG!

Cleveland’s win in Toronto ended a run of NINE consecutive wins and covers by the home team in the conference finals. Home teams are 9-2 SU and ATS this round, with SIX of the 11 games staying under. Checking in on the postseason numbers to-date, home teams are 53-24 SU (.688) and 47-30 ATS (61.0%). Forty-six of the 77 games have stayed under (59.7%) and those following the Zig-Zag theory are 33-30, which is exactly dead-even in net games for the journey, so far.

Golden St is the 233rd team in NBA history to fall behind 3-1 in a best-of-seven playoff series and as previously noted, only NINE of the previous 232 (that’s 3.9 percent!) have rebounded to win the series. The Warriors were able to ‘stay alive’ with a 120-111 Game 5 win in Oakland but now must win Game 6 in OKC, where they’ve lost 133-105 and 118-94. Will the defending champs bow out here in Game 6, leaving the team’s record 73-win season no more than a foot note? The 'answer’ will be revealed beginning at 9:00 ET on TNT as the Thunder host the Warriors. OKC is favored by three points

My next journal will be available Monday, May 30th by 12 noon ET.

Good luck...Larry

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