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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, May 22, 2014 at 9:46 AM

THE NBA PLAYOFF REPORT: Jim Hurley Now 6-0 in the Conference Finals after winning with the Thunder/Spurs UNDER!




By Jim Hurley:

Are you a glass-half-full or glass-half-empty type of person?

The reason we’re asking you that is because if you’re a fan/backer of the NBA’s Oklahoma City Thunder you might – if you’re an eternal optimist – tell yourself that the Thunder only trailed by five points with two-plus minutes remaining in the first half of last night’s eventual 112-77 blowout loss to 5-point home favorite San Antonio.

Therefore, the Thunder was “in the game” before suffering a late second-quarter meltdown that pretty much took ‘em out of the running in Game 2.

If you are that aforementioned glass-half-empty type of Thunder fan, than you could well believe this will be a short-and-not-so-sweet series as now the Spurs have won the first two games by 17 and 35 points and no amount of help from injured “rim protector” Serge Ibaka could help Scott Brooks’ fast-fading team.

Okay, so Oklahoma City now gets to lick its wounds and gear up for a Game 3 on Sunday night – don’t you just love the NBA’s spacing out of games when we get to Memorial Day Weekend? – and maybe the down time will allow for a proper amount of soul-searching and a mental refresher check – but after OKC came back from down 2-0 in the NBA’s Western Conference Finals before then winning four games in a row just two years ago to best the Spurs, you wonder here is history has any shot to repeat itself.

Two years ago the Spurs actually entered Game 3 having reeled off 20 consecutive SU (straight-up) wins and nobody could have forecast San Ant never winning again in that series/season and so who’s to say this mini-funk the Thunder’s in can’t be shaken with a few Kevin Durant jump shots and/or Russell Westbrook drives to the hoop.

Just sayin.’

SAN ANTONIO 112, OKLAHOMA CITY 77 -- Spurs lead series 2-0

Remember in Game 1 when the Spurs scored a mind-numbing 66 points in the paint?

Well, that series-opening 122-105 win this past Monday night may have been a sledgehammer job done on a finesse-oriented Thunder team but Game 2 was execution by scalpel as San Antonio drained half of its 82 field-goal tries, banged home nine triples with Danny Green heating up with 7-of-10 three-ball shooting and let’s not forget that Gregg Popovich’s crew canned 21-of-23 free throws too.

In short, the Spurs answered the challenges set forth by Oklahoma City in the game’s first 21-plus minutes before laying down the law and – while PG Tony Parker’s 22 points on 10-of-17 FGs grabbed plenty of headlines – gotta say that the rebounding of Tim Duncan and Tiago Splitter (see 22 of the team’s 53 caroms as compared with Oklahoma City’s 38 boards) was critical stuff too.

In the aftermath of this one, the always-entertaining – if sometimes obnoxious – post-game analysts brought some interesting points to light:

Oklahoma City didn’t get any offensive production (again) from the team’s three starters not named Durant (15 points) and Westbrook (also 15 points) and so TNT’s Kenny “The Jet” Smith recommended a lineup change with more youth for Game 3 and he endorsed PG Reggie Jackson to get a start while sharing the ball with Westbrook but maybe Shaquille O’Neal made sense too when he said Oklahoma City has to change itse game more and make San Ant work harder (and longer) on defense.

In any event, the Thunder ain’t gonna win many games when shooting sub-40 percent (see 35-of-89 from the floor for 39.3 percent) and an 18-assist to 14-turnover rate isn’t gonna help Scott Brooks’ squad in its attempt to win a game in this best-of-seven series.

Right now, we really can’t see how OKC is gonna win in Alamo City – the first two games showed the Thunder were both psyched out and a tad intimidated in this joint – but can the West’s second seed show some pride in Game 3?

We’ll see – and our Jim Sez preview for Spurs-Thunder Game 3 comes your way this holiday weekend.

Meanwhile, the NBA’s Eastern Conference Finals are on “hiatus” till Saturday night when the Indiana Pacers and the Miami Heat will battle it out in Game 3 of this now-tied-at-1 series and one question you may want to ask yourself here is does this multi-day break from action help a Pacers squad that has some bumps/bruises including star small forward Paul George (concussion) and ultra-active G Lance Stephenson (ankle) … or does it help Miami instead as it gives G Dwyane Wade plenty of down time to rest his always-ailing knees?

If we had a “vote” here we’d say the rest is key for Wade who’s looked quite spry for much of the first two games in this series including 23 points in 34 minutes in that Game 2 win on Tuesday night. Sure, a concussed George could use some extra rest but it’s the legs that are key in a long and grueling series and Wade’s knees just might be the most important “joints” in this whole series.

Pointspread Notes – The Pacers will enter Saturday’s Game 3 in Miami with a spiffy 5-1 ATS (against the spread) road mark in this year’s playoffs and that includes a 3-and-oh spread log in the last series against Washington. Meanwhile, the Heat is 3-2 ATS as hosts this post-season as Miami split two pointspread home verdicts against Charlotte in Round I and won two-of-three at home spreadwise against Brooklyn in conference semifinal round action.

Here’s our updated game-by-game series look of these NBA Western Conference Finals (note all home teams are in CAPS below):

5-19 SAN ANTONIO - 6 Okla City 122-105
5-21 SAN ANTONIO - 5 Okla City 112-77

Now, this important reminder …

Make sure you cash in each/every day as Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers steer you straight into the winner’s circle with NBA Conference Finals (we're 6-0 so far!) and Major-League Baseball action.

Check in here online or else call us toll-free at 1-888-777-4155.

It’s been a monster post-season on the NBA hardwood for Jim’s clients – and there’s still lots of winnin’ straight ahead!


Just a couple of quickie items following in the wake of Wednesday’s action on the diamond …

Don’t look now but Milwaukee RHP Kyle Lohse (6-1, 2.67 ERA) is “saving the date” when it comes to this year’s All-Star Game in Minnesota. The always-under-appreciated Lohse silenced the big bats of the Atlanta Braves in a 6-1 road win – note that the Bravos managed just four hits against Lohse in eight innings as he fanned 8 batters and didn’t walk a soul and keep in mind nobody wanted to sign this dude two years ago and right now he’s one of the top five starters in the big leagues …

Also, with all this talk about the New York Mets not being able to hit home runs at Citi Field, the Los Angeles Dodgers whacked three solo dingers in Wednesday’s 4-3 win against the fast-fading Mets. The trio of RF Yasiel Puig, Adrian Gonzalez and Hanley Ramirez all bombed long balls – so maybe Mets hitters are simply making excuses about the size of the park – but one wacky stat here is NYM starter Jacob deGrom stroked a fifth-inning single in this loss and he has the only two hits by a Mets pitcher this year in some 74 at-bats. Go figure!

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