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Wednesday, June 14

   by Larry Ness - 06/14/2006

The Miami Heat got back into the NBA Finals last night with a 98-96 win over the Mavericks but Miami backers don't have much to show for it, as the Heat failed to cover. Over bettors finally got a win, as last night's game was just the third postseason game to go over the total in the last 15!

The under trend started in the conference finals (10 of 12 games went under) and came on the heels of 26 overs in the previous 36 games. How quickly things change!

My free play for Wednesday is on the NY Mets over the Phi Phillies at 7:05 ET. Part of my 3-0 MLB sweep (including free play) on Tuesday was another Las Vegas Insider winner on the A's. I'm now 13-5 or 72.2% with these exclusive plays since May 1. I'm offering another Las Vegas Insider tonight plus a 15* Pitching Mismatch. Don't miss out!

Home teams opened the conference finals by going 2-2 SU and 0-4 ATS but finished 6-2 SU and ATS. Adding that late run to this year's NBA Finals, where home teams are 3-0 SU and 2-1 ATS, you get a current 9-2 SU and 8-3 ATS run. Home teams have recovered from last year's abysmal record of 46-38 (winning percentage of .5476 was the worst-ever in a playoff year since the NBA adopted its 16-team playoff field), by going 58-28.

However, home team wins have not translated into home team ATS success, as home teams are "kissing their sisters" in this year's postseason, with a mark of 42-42-2. Unders still lead overs by a slight margin (44-42) and followers of the "Zig-Zag" theory have opened the NBA Finals 0-2, dropping the overall playoff mark to 37-32-2 ATS (plus-1.8 games/units).

The Heat started well last night and led by nine at the half. However, a 34-16 Dallas third quarter gave the Mavs a nine-point lead entering the final period. The Mavs led 89-76 with 6:34 remaining but fell apart down the stretch, as Miami pulled off the biggest comeback in franchise postseason-history and the second-largest fourth-quarter rally in NBA Finals history! Gary Payton's only basket of the night, was the game-winner with 9.3 seconds left.

Wade tied a career playoff-high with 42 points, while Shaq bounced back from his terrible performance in Game 2, scoring 16 points and grabbing 11 rebounds. After shooting 42.6 percent in the first two games, the Heat shot 48.7 percent last night but the team's FT troubles continued in Game 3 (don't blame Shaq, who was 4-of-6), as Miami converted just 20-of-34 (58.8 percent). The Heat are only 47-of-85 from the line in the three games.

Nowitzki had 30 points for Dallas and Dampier continued his excellent play with 14 points and nine rebounds (he's averaging 9.3-9.7 in the series). Josh Howard chipped in 21 for the Mavs, as Dallas lost for the first time this year (were 25-0) when Howard scored at least 20 points. Isn't anything sacred anymore? Game 4 is Thursday, with Miami listed as a 2 1/2-point choice and a total of 189. The adjusted series price is Dallas about minus-$4.00.

MLB notes

Last night's pitching showdown between Schilling and Santana didn't disappoint. While neither pitcher was around when the Twins won in the 12th inning on Jason Kubel's walk-off grand slam, both pitched brilliantly. Each pitcher lasted eight innings while allowing one run. The Twins' win gives them wins in nine of Santana's last 10 starts this year and makes them an incredible 47-16 in his home starts since 2002. By the way, Santana struck out 13 while walking none, giving him a 104-16 ratio on the season!

When Glavine met Madson last night, one streak had to end. The Mets had won Glavine's last eight starts and the Phils had won Madson's last six. Unlike Schilling and Santana, Glavine and Madson did not pitch well. Glavine allowed four HRs in a game for just the second time in his career, while Madson allowed six ERs in five innings. However, the Mets won 9-7 and enter Wednesday's action with MLB's longest active winning streak at six straight.

MLB's longest active losing streak came to an end last night, as the Diamondbacks, who hadn't led in 56 innings, scored in the bottom of the first and held on for a 2-1 win over the Giants. Rookie Enrique Gonzalez is now 2-0 (1.64) in three career starts for Arizona, which ended its seven-game slide (had been outscored 54-13 over its last six games). The majors longest active losing streak now belongs to the Reds (have lost five straight), who open Wednesday's 15-game schedule with a 12:35 ET start with the Brewers.

You may want to check the late boxscores to see how Brad Penny does tonight. He's 7-1 (2.34) on the year and has allowed more than three ERs in just one of 13 starts this season. Since losing his only game of the year on May 1, he's 5-0 in his last seven starts (LA is 7-0) with an ERA of 2.03. He hasn't allowed a HR in any of his last 10 starts and brings a 14 1/3-inning scoreless streak into tonight's game in San Diego (10:05 ET).

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

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