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Monday, June 12

   by Larry Ness - 06/12/2006

The self-described "quotacious" Shaq was nowhere to be found during last night's postgame interviews, which should remind everyone that Kobe wasn't the only 'baby' playing in that LA 'sandbox' a few years ago. Shaq failed to show for the league-required postgame interviews and it's most likely purely coincidental his absence followed just his third single-digit scoring game in 190 career playoff games!

It's a short MLB schedule Monday and I'm not providing a free play. However, I do have two MLB releases, my lone 20* total in June plus another 15* Mismatch Blowout (won yesterday with the Twins 4-0!). Don't miss out!

The five FG attempts by Shaq (he made two) and his five points, are both career playoff-lows. He scored Miami's first basket on the team's initial possession and then went 20 1/2 minutes before making his second and only other FG of the game. Shaq spent the final 15 minutes on the bench, after Dallas opened a 25-point lead.

The man who entered this year's NBA Finals with the third-highest scoring average in Finals' history at 32.6 PPG, is averaging 11.0 PPG, has made just 2-of-16 FTs and has been out-rebounded by Dallas' back-up center, Errick Dampier, 20-to-13! In case you missed last night's final, Dallas won 99-85.

It wasn't all Shaq's fault, as Wade made just 6-of-19 shots and the entire Miami team, after shooting 51.5 percent in its six-game series with the Pistons, has gone 63-of-148 from the floor (42.6 percent) in the Finals' first two games plus a rather ridiculous 27-of-51 from the FT line (52.9 percent)!

Nowitzki bounced back from a poor Game 1 for the Mavericks, by scoring 26 points and grabbing 16 rebounds. Terry, who had 32 points in Game 1, scored just 16 but joined three other Mavericks in double digits, as Stackhouse had 19 off the bench, Howard chipped in 15 and Harris had 11 (also off the bench). Speaking of role players, Errick Dampier, who did not play in four of the last five games against Phoenix, has totaled 14 points and 20 rebounds in the first two games.

As mentioned in Friday's notes, Game 1 winners of an NBA Finals are 43-16 (72.8 percent) all-time and now that Dallas is up 2-0, it should be noted that just two teams in NBA Finals history have ever overcome an 0-2 deficit to win the title.

Bill Russell's Celtics, in his final season of 1969, lost the first two games to the Lakers that year but the Celtics came back to win Russell's 11th title in 13 seasons in seven games. In 1977, the Portland Trailblazers (led by Bill Walton), lost the first two games in Philadelphia to Dr J's 76ers but came back to capture the title by winning the next four games.

In this current 2-3-2 format, nine teams have opened with two home wins and all nine have gone on to capture the title. Two teams have gone on to four-game sweeps, one has won in five games, five teams have won in six games and one team (the Spurs last year), needed seven games to win. However, teams down 0-2 in this format, have won Game 3 (their first at home in the series) six of the nine times.

The win by Dallas makes home teams 57-28 SU in this year's postseason and 42-41-2 ATS. The 'under' brings NBA totals in the playoffs to 41 overs and 44 unders, with a decided under leaning as of late. During the conference finals, 10 of the 12 games went under and two straight unders in the NBA Finals means that 12 of the last 14 playoff games have gone under, after a run that saw 26 of the previous 36 games go over.

Game 3 is scheduled for Tuesday in Miami at 9:00 ET on ABC. The early line shows the Heat as a four-point favorite with a total of 188. The adjusted series price has Dallas at about a five-to-one favorite. The Mavs were just Minus-$1.60 to win the series, prior to Game 1.

MLB notes

Do you think the Jason Grimsley situation is effecting the Diamondbacks? After losing 15-2 to the Mets yesterday, the D'backs own MLB's longest active losing streak at seven straight. Since it was revealed that Grimsley was under investigation on June 6, Arizona has been outscored 54-13 in six losses. The Yankees, swept at home by the A's for the first time in 12 years this weekend, have lost four straight, the second-longest active losing streak.

The Mets own MLB's longest active winning streak at five straight (Oakland is second-best with four straight wins) and MLB's second-best overall record (39-23). Detroit is still leading the majors, with a league-best mark of 40-23. Detroit is also the league's best "moneymaker", as bettors are plus-$1,663 with the Tigers at $100/game. The Mets ranks second again, at plus-$1,099 and the Reds are third, at plus-$1,038.

The Yankees, nine games over .500 at 35-26, are costing their backers, sitting at minus-$238 on the year. On the flip side of the Yankees are the Washington Nationals, who have won 14 of 19 to get to 30-34 on the season. Despite being four games under .500, the Nats are plus-$182 at $100/game. The Royals, a ML-worst 16-45, are also the majors biggest "moneyburners", at minus-$1,517.

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

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