Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, May 12, 2014 at 11:29 AM
THE NBA PLAYOFFS UPDATE: ARE THE UNDERDOGS GOING TO KEEP UP THIS BLISTERING PACE ALL POST-SEASON LONG? …
PLUS MORE NFL DRAFT QUICKIE NEWS AND NOTES AS WE TACKLE A MICHAEL SAM QUESTION OR TWO
By Jim Hurley
This stat comes straight from the believe-it-or-not department:
NBA Playoff Underdogs enter this week’s play a sizzling 41-20-1 ATS (against the spread) with a pair of pick ‘em games tossed into the mix.
We’ll gladly do the math for you good "Jim Sez" readers and tell you that’s a .672 winning rate or better than two wins in every three tries.
Following the NBA Playoffs opening round, we’d suggested that the law of averages were working against the Underdogs, who pounded out a 33-15-1 spread mark (with one pick ‘em game) for a dazzling .687 winning percentage, but not much has changed here in Round II where dogs are 8-5-0 with one pick ‘em game following Sunday’s action on both coasts.
To put things into perspective, if you’ve wagered $100 per underdog play in these NBA Playoffs, then you’re up a cool $1,900 … forgive for sounding like the proverbial “broken record” but when can you ever remember being some 64 games into an NBA post-season and the dogs were cleaning up like this?
Whether the pointspread pendulum swings in the other direction real soon or not, the fact of the matter is these NBA Playoffs have proven – to us, at least – that there’s not a whole lot of talent separation throughout Commish Adam Silver’s league and, even if the Miami Heat might well be the odds-on favorite to win it all for a third consecutive season, the teams battling their way in these playoffs are oh-so-close.
Consider that this past weekend, the likes of the Washington Wizards, Los Angeles Clippers and the aforementioned Heat registered an 0-5 ATS mark whenever laying points (the first two were a combined 0-4 spreadwise and home favorites and the Heat failed to cover a slim 1-point price in Brooklyn last Saturday night) as NBA pups continue to party!
We’ll get to our Jim Sez series-by-series look in just a moment but first here’s our complete NBA Playoff Pointspread Team-by-Team Breakdown Chart. Note it’s the complete standings through the games of Sunday, May 11th:
Now, let’s check out the four remaining NBA Playoff series beginning with tonight’s action:
MIAMI at BROOKLYN – Heat leads series 2-1; 8 p.m. ET, TNT
It’s awfully nice of the Brooklyn Nets to puff out their chests following a break-the-seal Game 3 win the other night when Joe Johnson’s 19 points powered a lineup that featured six double-digit scorers, but we hardly need veteran Paul Pierce telling the assembled media folks, “We’re not scared of them (the Heat).”
Hmmm … wonder why such a statement wasn’t uttered followed that second-half meltdown in Game 2 when Pierce was MIA or why nobody on the chatty Nets was bragging after losing by 21 points in Game 1 of this best-of-seven series?
Pierce – who finished Game 3 with 14 points but three of Brooklyn’s 14 turnovers – must be on target tonight when the likes of LeBron James and friends undoubtedly get in his “grill” but as we see it Miami can rock-n-roll its way to a commanding three games-to-one lead providing it gets some sort of production from a backcourt that didn’t exactly light it up on Saturday night at Barclays Center as reserve G Ray Allen scored just two buckets and 9 points and Mario Chalmers drained one FG in 26 minutes … ugh!
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SAN ANTONIO at PORTLAND – Spurs lead series 3-0; 10:35 p.m. ET, TNT
The San Antonio Spurs – a 3 ½-point point betting favorite here for Game 4 – are looking to give Portland’s pro hoops team its “last rites” and who doesn’t think Gregg Popovich’s club will have the brooms out this evening?
Consider that the mighty Spurs led the Trail Blazers 60-40 at halftime of Game 3 as PG Tony Parker was heatin’ up en route to a game-high 29 points, but what really grabbed our attention was that San Ant really thrived on Portland turnovers (14 of ‘em in all) and overall the Spurs shot 48.3 from the floor with Parker’s 12-of-20 FG stat line key.
And what about a shout-out to Tiago Splitter, who drained all four of his FG tries en route to a 9-point, 7-rebound, 3-assist outing and gotta say this guy is “missing puzzle piece” material should the West’s top seed plow their way to a second straight appearance in the NBA Finals.
|5-6||SAN ANTONIO||- 6.5||Portland||116-92|
|5-8||SAN ANTONIO||- 6||Portland||114-97|
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers continue to rake in the profits in this year’s NBA Playoffs and we’ll continue to rock-n-roll through the post-season all week long.
Go online right here at www.vegassportsmasters.com or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-888-777-4155 each/every day and cash in with all the NBA Playoffs and remember there’s Major-League Baseball on tap every day too!
On Tuesday, it’s…
WASHINGTON at INDIANA – Pacers lead series 3-1; 7 p.m. ET, TNT
As it turned out, this past Sunday wasn’t just Mother’s Day but it was also Rally Day … both NBA teams that won came from waaaaaay back to snag key victories and Indiana’s 95-92 triumph in Washington wasn’t just a one-man wrecking crew game for Paul George (see career playoff-best 39 points) but an example of how good-but-not-there-yet teams can self-destruct at the absolute worst times in post-season play.
The Wizards – who once upon a time lead Game 4 by 19 points – didn’t score any fast-break points in the second half of that tilt and good for Washington head coach Randy Wittman, who pooh-poohed a post-game query regarding his young backcourt’s “inexperience.”
If Washington’s gonna grow up fast and send this back to the nation’s capital, then it’s no secret that PG John Wall (just 4 FGs and 12 points in Game 4) and sidekick Bradley Beal (an effective if quiet 20 points in Game 4) must get out and go and score some easy on-the-break points plus Washington must send a wake-up call to center Marcin Gortat, who scored two points and hauled down 3 rebounds in 21 minutes in Sunday’s ugly loss.
LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS at OKLAHOMA CITY – Series tied 2-2; 9:35 p.m. ET, TNT
Okay, so we’re not willing to say the Oklahoma City Thunder simply ain’t a championship-caliber team because they blew a 22-point lead and lost 101-99 last Sunday afternoon in Hollywood, but shouldn’t OKC fans be a tad worried that a 40-point game by scoring champ/MVP Kevin Durant wasn’t enough to give the Thunder a commanding three games-to-one series lead and note head coach Scotty Brooks has steered his ship straight into the wall more than once with a big post-season lead.
If Okie City is gonna have any life in its legs for Tuesday’s Game 5 at home, then the best solution would be to mentally quash what happened in the fourth quarter the other day when the Clippers outscored the Thunder 38-24 and managed to knot up this series even though Clips head coach Doc Rivers asked six-foot PG Chris Paul to guard the aforementioned six-foot-nine Durant and even though Clips G Darren Collison – who scored eight points in the game’s final three minutes of play – wound up being the best player on the final in the closing moments.
Maybe we’re being rough on Brooks but don’t expect any titles from Oklahoma City with this “Red Auerbach” on the sidelines … and shooting 7-of-24 from downtown here ain’t gonna get “mission accomplished” either, guys!
|5-5||Clippers||+ 5.5||Okla City||122-105|
|5-7||OKLA CITY||- 5.5||Clippers||112-101|
|5-9||Okla City||+ 4.5||CLIPPERS||118-112|
|5-11||CLIPPERS||- 5||Okla City||101-99|
NFL DRAFT NOTES
Hey, we know that the whole weekend was filled with Michael Sam draft coverage – that’s all well and good and “historical” stuff, we know even though he was a seventh-round pick.
But what about the guys the St. Louis Rams drafted in the sixth round?
Should CB E.J. Gaines (also of Missouri, like Sam) and QB Garrett Gilbert (SMU) be booted to the curb like also-rans just because Sam was the newsmaker in the draft?
We’re not trying to be wise guys here, but consider that Sam raked in all the national attention and yet guys the Rams believed were “better prospects”, and whom were drafted a round earlier basically get zero notice here.
This is not to pick on the Rams or to get cute or to dabble in the hundreds of no-name players taken after the first round but prior to the Sam pick at #249, but consider this:
If Sam wants to be known as a “football player” and not just the first openly gay player in the NFL then let’s see him legitimately beat out these guys (and others) for a roster spot – fair and square.
Nobody’s wishing Sam any bad luck here, but he should have to earn his spot on this St. Louis team and not be given any breaks now – it’ll be interesting to see down the road if the Rams wind up having a problem with a player that could get cut and passed over in favor of Sam.
Will there be a backlash? What would Sam say then? Stay tuned.
NOTE: More NBA Playoff coverage in the next Jim Sez.