Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, May 11, 2013 at 9:20 AM
Tony, Tony, Tony ... you've done it again!
Hey, we haven't uttered those words in a while but San Antonio Spurs mega-star guard Tony Parker was so brilliant in his team's chest-thumping 102-92 win in Game 3 against the host Golden State Warriors on Friday night that we had to shower this veteran dude with major props.
And he wasn't the only one with a vintage turn-back-the-clock performance as Tim Duncan - older than dirt itself - registered a snazzy 23-point, 10-rebound game on Friday and he and Parker merely pick-n-rolled the still-inexperienced Warriors to death!
The $64,000 question now is this:
What's the condition of Parker's left leg that needed some fourth-quarter ice job on the sidelines - he told ESPN's Heather Cox afterwards that it was a "new injury" from an inadvertent kick and he'd get treatment and would be fine -- but what about opposite number Stephen Curry who badly turned an ankle on one perimeter move and showed no great lateral movement in the final five-or-so minutes in Game 3. Here's some more analysis on Spurs-Warriors:
#2 SAN ANTONIO at #6 GOLDEN STATE - Spurs lead series 2-1 Game 4 is Sunday 3 at 3:30 p.m. ET
Let's not pile all the glory on Parker and Duncan only here: The unflappable Spurs won Game 3 - to a large degree - because head coach Gregg Popovich's club played gritty three-point defense and only allowed the Warriors to drain 6-of-19 trifectas in all with both Curry (16 points on 5-of-17 FG shooting) and backcourt mate Klay Thompson (17 points on 7-of-20 shooting from the floor) both truly non-factors from beyond the three-point arc where they combined for all six of G-State's triples.
Tell us right here and right now that San Antonio's Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green are gonna play such ferocious three-point defense here in Game 4 in Oakland and we'll tell you the Spurs will be heading back home for a wrap-up game in the Alamo City come Game 5. Gotta admit that we expected Leonard to be a major factor on that end of the court in Game 3 but Green's haunting defense on the smaller Curry was a major key (and it bothered the heck out of Curry to boot!).
Look for Golden State head coach Mark Jackson to delve into his bag of tricks here - that means more minutes for the hard-working sub Draymond Green and maybe even some three-guard looks with Jarrett Jack getting closer to 40 minutes played here. If the Warriors' triples are not falling, they're in trouble - no doubt.
However, Jack could drive to the tin and allow Thompson and Curry some standstill jumpers inside the paint and that could be the diff here.
One X-factor for the Spurs: Expect San Ant to allow lefty G Manu Ginobili more isolation plays here because it sure seemed no Warriors' players could handle him off the dribble-drive in that final quarter in Game 3.
Here's how the Warriors-Spurs series has gone so far through the first three games of this series (and note home teams are in CAPS):
|5-6||SAN ANTONIO||- 9||Golden State||129-127 (2ot)|
|5-8||Golden State||+ 7.5||SAN ANTONIO||100-91|
|5-10||San Antonio||+ 2.5||GOLDEN STATE||102-92|
Editor's Note: Keep in mind this marked the first time this post-season that Golden State didn't cover a Las Vegas pointspread. The Warriors were 8-and-oh ATS (against the spread) in the playoffs prior to the Game 3 loss to the Spurs and a composite 11-0 ATS while dating back to the team's final three regular-season home games.
In Friday's Eastern Conference Semifinal Round series, the Miami Heat - in a most uncivil game - downed the 8 ½-point home underdog Chicago Bulls 104-94 as MVP LeBron James poured in his requisite 25 points but it was reserve G Norris Cole who canned 6-of-7 FG attempts (including all three of his triples) who really made the difference. The Heat somehow shot 50 percent from the floor (that's 35-of-70) despite getting jostled, kicked and maimed by a Bulls bunch that probably will play an even tougher brand of ball come Monday's Game 4 at the United Center - we'll preview you that tilt in the next Jim Sez but keep ears open to more Derrick Rose talk.
No, the one-time league MVP didn't play again in Game 3 but that saga sure will suck up lots of radio air-wave time in the second City this weekend. So what else is new?
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.
THE BASEBALL UPDATE
Lots going on in the world of Major-League Baseball and so let's go spanning the MLB globe ...Here's a topic that floated around the Baseball world back last winter and right into spring training:
Do the American League West teams have a built-in advantage towards gaining a post-season berth now that they play 18 or 19 head-to-head games versus the lowly Houston Astros? The 'Stros exited the crowded six-team National League Central this year to become part of the AL West but there were said to be major rumblings regarding the fact that the Los Angeles Angels. Texas Rangers, Oakland A's and Seattle Mariners all would benefit from their new divisional games against Houston (10-25).
Well, here we are some 22.2 percent through this 2013 MLB season and the Astros are 8-14 against fellow AL West clubs - and 2-12 against teams from outside the AL West.
In other words, it appears that non-AL West teams - at least, so far - have benefited the most from playing Bo Porter's club that right now ranks ninth in the league in runs scored, 10th in total home runs and 15th (or dead-last) in team ERA. Maybe the Rangers and A's and Mariners and Angels all will use the Astros as a punching bag later this season but right now - for what it's worth - Houston is "holding its own" in its new division.
Okay, so we're basically six full weeks through the 2013 Baseball Season and yet here's some mind-boggling numbers as to what teams are behind specific starting pitchers and we'll start in the National League:
The Philadelphia Phillies are 1-7 in the games started by LHP Cole Hamels but talk about lack of run support as the Phils have scored six runs in his last four starts (and one run in all his past two starts);
The Washington Nationals are a rotten 2-5 overall in the seven starts made thus far by ace RHP Stephen Strasburg and that includes last week's 5-4 Nats win at Pittsburgh when Strasburg received a no-decision;
The Milwaukee Brewers are just 2-5 in the seven starts made by late-signing free agent RHP Kyle Lohse;
The struggling Los Angeles Dodgers are 1-6 in the starts made by RHP Josh Beckett including a 5-3 Dodgers loss (no-decision for Beckett) this past week in that three-game sweep at the hands of Arizona.
In the American League, check these out:
The Tampa Bay Rays are 2-5 in the seven starts made so far by RHP Jeremy Hellickson and note that includes an 0-4 road mark;
The aforementioned Houston Astros are 0-7 in starts made this season by RHP Philip Humber and they're 1-4 in starts made by recycled LHP Erik Bedard;
And the Los Angeles are 0-7 in the starts made by new Halo RHP Joe Blanton and that includes his tough-luck 3-1 loss in Houston this past Wednesday night;
Hey, want to know what pitchers/teams have thrived the most so far?
The Texas Rangers are 6-1 in the starts made by RHP Yu Darvish;
The Kansas City Royals are 6-1 in the starts made by RHP Jeremy Guthrie and that includes his 6-2 win against his former Baltimore Orioles team this past Thursday night;
The Boston Red Sox are 7-0 in starts made by righty Clay Buchholz and Tampa Bay's also 7-0 in the starts made by LHP Matt Moore and note that the Rays are 6-and-oh in Moore's night-time starts this season;
The Atlanta Braves are 6-0 in starts made this season by RHP Julio Teheran and that includes his 6-3 win in San Francisco on Thursday night;
The New York Mets and the Washington Nationals each are 6-1 in starts made by bulldog righties Matt Harvey and Jordan Zimmermann, respectively. Hey, the Mets are a perfect 4-0 in Harvey's night-time home starts at Citi Field;
The Arizona Diamondbacks are 7-0 in starts made this season by young LHP Patrick Corbin and that includes a win against the Dodgers' Clayton Kershaw early in the 2013 season and Thursday's 2-1 home win against the Phillies;
Finally, the defending champion San Francisco Giants are 5-2 in the starts made by LHP Madison Bumgarner, RHP Tim Lincecum and LHP Barry Zito.
NOTE: There's NBA and MLB News & Notes in the next Jim Sez!