Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, May 10, 2013 at 8:57 AM
It's a case of "even steven" all the way around in these NBA Playoffs as all four of the best-of-seven sets currently are knotted at a game apiece - but what might we expect in these all-important Game 3's that come our way tonight and tomorrow?
We'll dig into the Game 3 previews for this evening's twin-bill - that's Miami at Chicago and San Antonio at Golden State - and also check out tomorrow's action as it's Oklahoma City at Memphis and New York at Indiana but first let's deliver our up-to-the-moment NBA Playoffs Pointspread Chart while entering tonight's tilts:
NBA PLAYOFFS POINTSPREAD CHART
(thru Thursday, May 9)
As you can see, the G-State Warriors are still perfect spreadwise while heading into tonight's home game against the San Ant Spurs and that's truly mind-boggling stuff plus remember that the Warriors have been underdog sides in every game except for that 92-88 win/cover in Game 6 against Denver that wrapped up that first-round Western Conference series.
And let's not overlook the Memphis Grizzlies who've covered 7-of-8 games this NBA post-season - and keep in mind the Grizzlies actually have covered their last seven games in a row following a 112-91 loss to the 5 ½-point favored Los Angeles Clippers way back in Game 1 of that opening-round set.
From here on in we'll include just the still-alive teams in our NBA Playoffs Pointspread Chart here at Jim Sez but be reminded that the eight NBA teams that were KO'd from the post-season in Round One finished up with an ultra-ugly 14-31 ATS (against the spread) mark - that's a putrid .311 winning rate.
Conversely, the up-to-date marks on the eight still-alive teams in this here-and-now NBA Playoff picture shows them to be a composite 39-22 ATS and that's good enough for a sizzling .639 winning percentage.
Makes you wonder if the usually on-the-ball Las Vegas oddsmakers simply didn't give the likes of Golden State and Memphis as much respect in the numbers as they were probably due, right?
One final pointspread-related note: The Indiana Pacers are back at home for tomorrow's Game 3 prime-time tilt against New York and note that Frank Vogel's crew is a perfect 3-and-oh spreadwise so far in these playoffs when playing in their own backyard while aforementioned Golden State and Memphis are a combined 6-0 versus the vig in home tilts this post-season (3-0 ATS apiece, of course). Just sayin'!
THE NBA PLAYOFFS
Now here's what is ahead on the Game 3's menu: Tonight it's ...
#1 MIAMI at #5 CHICAGO - Series tied 1-1; Game 3 at 8 p.m. ET
Now that the mighty Heat laid down the law with that monstrous 115-78 win in Game 2, the question now is two-fold: Will the return to the always-noisy United Center give the Bulls just the lift they need here and - hey, we gotta ask it - will PG Derrick Rose finally suit up and give Tom Thibodeau's team some minutes?
The Rose Saga has played out for weeks and weeks now in terms of will-he or won't-he play but the obvious observation is Rose is needed now more than ever what with Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich still sitting it out with illness and injury woes, respectively, and with Joakim Noah and mates all playing way too many minutes in the team's nine playoff games thus far (and keep in mind the Bulls have not had back-to-back days off since between Game 2 and Game 3 of the series against Brooklyn).
On the flip side, expect Miami's immediate Game 3 strategy to be play a high-octane, intense first quarter and attempt to blow Chicago's doors off right from the proverbial get-go. If that means four-time MVP LeBron James (a modest 19 points and 9 assists in Game 2) moving around on defenders and emphasizing get-out-and-go basketball - note the Heat won the fast-break points battle 20-to-2 in that get-even Game 2 win) - than that's what we'll see here.
On Saturday, it's ...
#2 NEW YORK at #3 INDIANA - Series tied 1-1; Game 3 at 8 p.m. ET
The Knicks and Pacers - finally - get back to business here after sitting things out since Tuesday night past and so you do have to wonder whether the elongated break will help the likes of NYK super-scorer Carmelo Anthony (bad left shoulder) get a bit healthier or whether it's a plus for the Pacers who had played three consecutive playoff road games (including that Round I Game 6 clincher in Atlanta last Friday night).
No doubt that Anthony is bound-and-determined to get off as many "good shots" as possible despite the Gotham City buzz that he's shooting too much:
The unapologetic Anthony drilled 13-of-26 field-goal tries in Game 2 en route to a 32-point game but what really won that tilt for Mike Woodson's Knicks was stepped-up defense that held Indiana to 13 fourth-quarter points although it is true that the above-mentioned Vogel yanked his most important players very quickly once the Knicks started to pull away. Hmmm.
If Indiana - a 4-point betting choice right now for Game 3 - is gonna pull back ahead in this best-of-seven series than 7-foot-2 C Roy Hibbert must make his presence felt with some swats and it wouldn't hurt either if he dished out a couple of "hip checks" to Anthony, J.R. Smith and mates here.
The Pacers would like things more physical; the Knicks would like to get up another 30-or-more triples here.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are banging out loads of winners during these NBA Playoffs and remember the playoffs will run straight through the end of June plus there are loads of winners this 2013 Major-League Baseball season too and so sign up today and get it all -Hoops and Baseball every day and nights! Just be sure to check in with us either right here online or else at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the daily and nightly NBA and MLB winners.
Back to the NBA Game 3's menu: Tonight, it's ...
#2 SAN ANTONIO at #6 GOLDEN STATE - Series tied 1-1; Game 3 at 10:35 p.m. ET
Now that we've all seen how this Warriors team is perfect spreadwise this post-season plus they've finally snapped that ridiculous 30-game SU (straight-up) losing slide in San Antonio, how about we pour a little cold water on ‘em for just a moment?
Golden State may be turning the NBA world on its ear with that four games-to-two series win against hotty Denver and now the split of Games 1 and 2 in the Alamo City, but will this youthful crew feel the pressure to "hold serve" here in Game 3 of this conference semifinal and what happens should either/both guards Stephen Curry (44 points in Game 1 and than 22 points in Game 2 versus Los Spurs) or Klay Thompson (34 points and 14 rebounds in Game 2) run into a scoring drought here?
Hey, the Spurs absolutely must turn up the defensive heat and so expect the likes of Kawhi Leonard (among others) to stick to one of these two guards like glue.
Finally, a couple of real-life X-factors here:
The Spurs have to stay aggressive while defending the triple - and taking the three-point shot. Note that in Game 2 - when San Antonio staged a couple of mini-rallies to tighten up things on the scoreboard - there was a real lack of trifecta power coming from the likes of Manu Ginobili and Tony Parker who shot a combined 2-of-7 from beyond the arc. Look for this dynamic duo to chuck up at least a dozen triples here ... or else.
And the Warriors must not be flustered by this whole "Hack-a-Bogut" deal where San Antonio deliberately fouls C Andrew Bogut. The Aussie - who drained half of his four free throws in Game 2 - is just gonna have to tough it out because G-State needs his board/inside defense here against Tim Duncan. End of story!
On Saturday, it's ...
#1 OKLAHOMA CITY at #5 MEMPHIS - Series tied 1-1; Game 3 at 5 p.m. ET
Let the numbers tell the real story of why the Memphis Grizzlies were able to snag their 99-93 win in Game 2 against the Okie City Thunder:
The Grizz owned a 48-to-30 scoring advantage when it came to points in the paint and Memphis also sported an impressive 23-6 scoring advantage when it came to second-chance points.
So, go ahead and talk all you want about the absence of Thunder PG Russell Westbrook - again, he was one of the NBA's top five players this past regular season - and the fact Kevin Durant seemingly must score 35-plus points for OKC to hang in there on a nightly basis but the bottom line is until and unless Scott Brooks' crew gets it right on the boards/in the trenches than Memphis will remain the favorite to survive-and-advance this playoff round.
Okay, so it's not as if Memphis is doing everything right despite the fact the Grizzlies are a rock-solid 7-1 against the odds this post-season:
The Grzzlies' bench shot just 5-of-17 from the floor in Game 2 (usually you lose road games that way!) and we still don't think Marc Gasol is taking enough shots. Gasol's 8-of-13 FG line in Game 2 was solid stuff but stepping out on those pick-n-roll plays with smooth PG Michael Conley should allow Gasol to attempt 20-or-more shots here.
Go ahead and fire away, big guy!
NOTE: There's NBA and MLB News & Notes in the next Jim Sez!