Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, April 7, 2014 at 8:00 PM
The mainstream media has been spending a lot of time talking about the race for the #1 seed in the NBA’s Eastern Conference. That’s become even more prevalent the last few days with the stunning collapse of Indiana! But, hidden amidst the hoopla is the fact that it’s actually the Brooklyn Nets who have been the best in the East since New Year’s. That’s THREE MONTHS where the veteran Nets have established that they may well be a force in the coming playoffs.
Tuesday Night, it’s the Best in the East for the full season taking on the Best in the East since New Year’s in a game that could end up being a playoff preview. Let’s run some key numbers for Brooklyn and Miami to set the stage.
Brooklyn: 104.7 per 100 possessions (ranked #14 in the NBA)
Miami: 109.6 per 100 possessions (ranked #1 in the NBA)
Even though Miami is prone to save something for the playoffs…and even though Miami has been resting Dwyane Wade off and on all season, the Heat still grades out as having the best offense in the NBA when you account for pace factor. Brooklyn looked helpless early in the season. Some of that was because they play so slowly. Part was because so many new faces were in new places (including the head coach). And, part was that they were just plain bad! The Nets have rallied to league average off that poor start…which means the “current form” difference is probably less than is suggested above.
Brooklyn: 104.5 per 100 possessions (ranked #16 in the NBA)
Miami: 102.5 per 100 possessions (ranked #10 in the NBA)
Miami’s been slacking off on defense. They know they need to save peak intensity on this side of the court for a few weeks from now. They're better than #10 when they need to be. Will they consider Tuesday vs. Brooklyn as a “need to be” kind of game? Brooklyn is league average defensively, better lately, but still has an old team that may not really be ready for the rigors of the playoffs.
Two very slow teams obviously. New Jersey is old and slow. Miami is pacing itself to avoid injuries. This is likely to be a halfcourt battle that could skew very low scoring-wise if the teams treat it as a playoff preview.
Against the Spread
Brooklyn dug a big early hole. The Nets are actually 14-7 ATS over their last 21 games…which has surged them into profitable territory. They are playing their best ball of the season right now. Miami was also burning money until a 6-1 recent run ATS. But, that run included some really teams who may not even be trying to win. The non-cover was a straight up home loss to Minnesota. Brooklyn is arguably the value team Tuesday…unless Miami decides there’s a point they have to make.
JIM HURLEY is looking closely at both of the TNT games Tuesday Night (this one along with Houston/LA Lakers), but won’t force any plays in TV games if edges are elsewhere on the board. You can purchase the final word for Tuesday NBA and MLB right here at the website with your credit card. If you have any questions, call our handicapping office Tuesday during normal business hours at 1-888-777-4155. Ask for our value rates that take you through the NBA Playoffs or the full season of Major League Baseball.
Back with you Wednesday to run the key numbers in the huge Western Conference matchup featuring Oklahoma City and the Los Angeles Clippers. Thursday brings San Antonio/Dallas in another big game out West. We’ll have a taste of both NBA and MLB previews in the NOTEBOOK for the forseeable future. The NBA Playoffs should be terrific (particularly in the West), and everybody loves April baseball!
College basketball is in the books. Pro football is still a couple of months away. Settle in and sit back for great handicapping information through the spring and summer right here in the NOTEBOOK…and get your appetite ready for BIG, JUICY WINNERS from JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK!