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Playoff Journal, May 30

   by Larry Ness - 05/30/2016

Playoff Journal (May 30)

The Thunder had the Warriors on the ropes after dominating wins at OKC in Games 3 and 4. Few were surprised when the Warriors regrouped to win Game 5 in Oakland but as the Game 6 pointspread ‘move’ indicated (Warriors opened a 1 1/2-point choice but the Thunder closed as a 3 1/2-point favorite), many (most?) felt that Saturday night’s contest was going to end Golden State’s record-setting season. OKC entered the fourth quarter with an eight point lead but the team imploded over the game’s final five minutes, led by the Dynamic Duo of Durant and Westbrook. Golden St ended the game on a 19-5 run, including scoring the game’s final NINE points.

OKC committed SIX turnovers in the last five minutes (four by Westbrook and two by Durant), as the Thunder’s two superstars combined to make just 20 of 58 shots for the game (3 of 14 in the fourth quarter), including an awful 1 of 13 on threes. Add that to the duo’s Game 5 efforts and one gets 43 of 117 from the floor (36.8 percent), including 7 of 32 on threes (21.9 percent). While Durant and Westbrook were ‘gagging’ (how else could it be described?), the “Splash Brothers” lit it up in the fourth quarter. Thompson set a NBA playoff record with 11 three-pointers in the game, scoring 19 of his 41 points in the fourth quarter. Curry took longer to get going but ended one assist shy of a triple-double, scoring 31 points while adding 10 rebounds and nine assists.

After NINE consecutive wins and covers by the home team in the conference finals the Cavs won Game 6 in Toronto (clinching the series) and the Warriors won Game 6 in OKC to set up tonight’s Game 7. Home teams are now 9-3 SU and ATS this round, with SEVEN of the 12 games staying under (“Zig-Zaggers” are 5-5 in this round). Checking in on the postseason numbers to-date, home teams are 53-25 SU (.679) and 47-31 ATS (60.3%). Forty-seven of the 78 games have stayed under (60.3%) and those following the Zig-Zag theory are 33-31, which is minus-1.1 net games.

Setting the stage for tonight’s game let’s note that Golden St is the 233rd team in NBA history to fall behind 3-1 in a best-of-seven playoff series and only NINE of the previous 232 (that’s 3.9 percent!) have rebounded to win the series. However, the Warriors no longer need to win THREE in a row, they just need to win tonight. NBA playoff history tells us that Game 7 home teams are 100-24 (.805) and of the nine teams to come back from a 3-1 deficit, SEVEN won that Game 7 at home. As for the Thunder (Game 6 loser), there have been 36 teams to lose Game 6 at home with a 3-2 series lead. Just 12 of those 36 teams (33%) came back to win Game 7. The Warriors are favored by points, with tip-off at 9:00 ET on TNT.

My next Playoff Journal will be available Tuesday by 12 noon ET and my NBA Finals preview by 12 noon ET on Thursday.

Good luck...Larry

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