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Thursday, May 11

   by Larry Ness - 05/11/2006

Who let the dogs out? For those who thought NBA playoff games were supposed to be tightly-contested defensive games, think again. The Heat routed the Nets last night 111-89 and the Clippers just as easily handled the Suns, 122-97.

On this light day of action I'm passing on a free play but will have free plays Friday through Sunday. Off last night's 4-0 sweep in all sports (including my free play winner), I've got a HUGE Thursday in store in MLB. Since winning my LEGEND Play last Sat nite on the Dodgers, I've stretched my current MLB run to 6-1 (or 85.7% winners). Thursday, I've got two 15* plays, an Afternoon Delight plus a Rivalry Classic tonight on the Red Sox/Yankees. I'm also featuring one of my exclusive Las Vegas Insider Plays, which have opened the month of May, 3-0!

Five of the eight second round games have now been decided by 12 points or more (four by at least 22 points!) with six of the eight games going "over' the total. That continues an over trend that's seen 15 of the last 18 playoff games soar over the total. Home teams are 5-3 to open the second round (3-5 ATS) and "zig-zaggers" are now a perfect 4-0 in the second round after closing the first round on an 0-8 ATS run.

Three of the four series are tied at 1-all after two games with only the Pistons owning a 2-0 lead (over the Cavs). Maybe the oddsmakers knew what they were doing, as Detroit opened as about a 20-to-1 favorite to win its series over Cleveland while Miami, Phoenix and San Antonio all opened as around 2-to-1 favorites over New Jersey, the LA Clippers and Dallas, respectively.

Wednesday recap

The Heat jumped out to a 25-4 lead over the Nets last night, on their way to a 41-19 first quarter lead. Miami made 10 of its first 13 shots while New Jersey missed nine of its first 11. Dwayne Wade scored 17 of his 31 points in that first quarter and Miami shot 52.7 percent as a team (after shooting just 39.1 percent in Game 1). Shaq added 21 for Miami, as it was easy for him to stay out of foul trouble in this one.

New Jersey's Richard Jefferson showed now ill effects from his ankle and/or heel problems, scoring 16 points. However, New Jersey shot just 40 percent as a team, after shooting 48.6 percent in its 12-point Game 1 win. The loss ended the Nets' four-game winning streak, a run in which they had allowed just 88 PPG.

The Clippers made short work of the Suns as well last night, opening up a 38-22 first quarter lead and never looking back in the 122-97 rout. All five starters scored in double figures for the Clipps (even defensive specialist Ross had 11!), led by Elton Brand's 27 (10 rebounds). LA dominated inside, outrebounding the Suns 57-26, including 19-5 at the offensive end. The Suns are now 0-4 in this year's postseason when failing to score 100 points and 5-0 when topping the century mark.

The playoffs opened back on April 22 and there has been 19 consecutive days of playoff action but God (or maybe it's David Stern?), has no playoff games scheduled for tonight.

MLB notes

For the second straight day, 11 of MLB's 15 games went over the run total (who let the dogs out, part 2). Tuesday night it was the AL that provided most of the scoring-punch as all seven of its games went over but last night it was the NL's turn, as seven of the senior circuit's eight games topped the run totals. Ten teams got at least a dozen hits (12 did so on Tuesday), led by the Marlins and the Mets, who both pounded out 17 hits.

MLB's longest active winning and losing streaks both came to an end last night. The Phillies, whose nine-game winning streak was the team's longest since they won 13 straight back in 1991, lost to the Mets, 13-4. Meanwhile, the Cubs ended their eight-game losing streak by beating the Giants 8-1. The eight runs scored by Chicago was just one run less than the team had scored during its eight game losing streak, combined (had been outscored 42-9)!

Heading into Thursday's 11-game schedule, the Dodgers own MLB's longest active winning streak at five straight and the Astros own the longest active losing streak at six. One of those streaks has to end today (barring a rain out), as the Dodgers host the Astros in the final game of a three-games series at 3:10 ET. Three games are on TV this Thursday, the Cubs at the Giants (3:35 ET on WGN), the Braves at the Marlins (7:05 ET on TBS) and the Red Sox at the Yankees (7:05 ET on ESPN2).

The Yankees beat the Red Sox last night 7-3, after spotting Schilling a three-run lead. Mussina won his fifth straight for the Yanks, as they beat the Red Sox for the first time this year, after losing 7-3 on May 1 at Fenway and 14-3 Tuesday night at Yankee Stadium. New York stands at 19-12 and Boston at 20-13, so the winner of tonight's 'rubber' game heads into the weekend in first-place in the AL East. It's Wakefield vs Chacon tonight, with NY favored at minus-$1.35 (10 1/2).

Closing note

Back in his heyday, Arsenio Hall had a segment on his late-night TV show he called, "things that make you go hmmmmmm!" Consider Geoff Petrie's statement the other day when Sacramento's president of basketball operations was announcing the firing of the team's head coach, Rick Adelman. In part, Petrie said, "I came to the conclusion that continuing this way just wasn't feasible."

For the record, Adelman took over the Kings in the strike year of 1998-99. He led the Kings to a 27-23 record that year and a playoff berth. Over the last seven seasons, he's led the Kings to an average of 52.6 wins per season and this year led the Kings to their eight consecutive postseason. By the way, only the Pacers and Spurs (both with nine straight playoff appearances), own longer active streaks.

How had the Kings been doing prior to Adelman's arrival? Well since moving to Sacramento for the 1985-86 season, the Kings had made just two playoff appearances in the 13 years before Adelman's arrival in 1998-99, averaging 29.7 wins per season! I guess it's reasonable to see why Petrie has concluded it's "not feasible to continue this way."


Ness Notes is available Monday through Friday by 1:00 ET.

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