Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, April 23, 2013 at 8:00 AM
The only first round series that showed any excitement this past weekend received the worst injury news. Golden State just missed pulling off a shocker at Denver Saturday afternoon, only to lose David Lee for the rest of the season to a torn hip flexor. Can the Warriors still compete without Lee when they take the floor Tuesday Night against the Nuggets?
*It’s important to remember that Lee is a great offensive player, but a neutral player overall. Golden State will be a different team, but not necessarily a worse one. It’s interesting that the Vegas line didn’t move in a way that would have weighted the injury with any significance. Denver’s the same size favorite in Game Two that they were in Game One. That tells you that oddsmakers and the Wise Guys don’t have Lee valued as a high impact player overall. He’s always received a lot of media coverage because of his scoring (and because he spent some time in New York). The market may not have as much respect for his game as the media seems to.
*Secondly, nothing causes a “rally around the flag” effort more than an injury to a starter. The shorthanded team gets more effort from everybody, just as the favorite relaxes because they think their lives just got easier. Golden State almost upset Denver Saturday even though Lee didn’t play down the stretch…even though Seth Curry wasn’t shooting well…and even though the Warriors were gasping for air as they got acclimated to the altitude. The Nuggets better not make the mistake of relaxing because of this injury news! Golden State has now spent a few days getting used to the altitude…and has come up with a plan for dealing with the injury.
*Finally, if you believe that crunch time “defense wins championships,” the Warriors just lost their worst defensive inside player. Late in games, or late in a series…when every possession matters so much…Golden State may find that having David Lee in street clothes is a blessing rather than a curse. The Warriors have other guys who can put the ball in the basket. Now they may be guarding the rim with a bit more authority.
Handicapping the X’s and O’s of NBA Playoff basketball can be very tricky. Sometimes the coaches themselves don’t know how to best utilize their talent! JIM HURLEY’S simulation software has properly gauged the impact that Lee’s loss should have on the scoreboard. That will influence team side and total selections throughout the rest of the series. One of the hidden keys to handicapping “rally around the flag” situations is anticipating how long the team involved can maintain that intense energy. JIM HURLEY believes he’ll pick up at least 3-4 winners through the full series based on his read of this injury’s impact.
To find out if Golden State/Denver made the cut for Tuesday, purchase NETWORK selections right here at the website with your credit card. We’re choosing the very best options from that game, Boston/New York, and Milwaukee/Miami. Be sure to check on baseball too. Don’t leave anything on the table when Vegas sportsbooks are giving away money! If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-800-323-4453.
We had originally planned to preview Boston/New York in today’s edition of the NOTEBOOK. But, we decided that the Lee injury news was too important to ignore. Plus, this gives us a chance to discuss all eight series in relatively short order out of the gate. We had extensive series previews this past weekend for Celtics/Knicks, Lakers/Spurs, and Rockets/Thunder. Yesterday we discussed Bulls/Nets. That will bring us to Hawks/Pacers in tomorrow’s edition of the NOTEBOOK.
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