Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, May 30, 2012 at 11:36 AM
As the song says ... Tony, Tony, Tony you've done it again!
On a night when the San Antonio Spurs had to swallow some of their own medicine - yes, by now everyone's sick of the "Hack-A-(Tiago) Splitter"strategy that San Ant head coach Gregg Popovich employed in that last playoff round against the Los Angeles Clippers and now is being used against his team by Oklahoma City -- and spend a chunk of the night sending a really bad foul shooter to the line a dozen times (more than anyone else on the Spurs!) there was 11-year point guard Tony Parker dancing his way behind screens and making shots from all possible angles en route to a 120-111 win in Game 2 of the NBA's Western Conference Finals series last night.
Parker - who drained an amazing 16-of-21 field-goal attempts for a Game 2-high 34 points to go along with 8 assists and only 2 turnovers - even got into a spirited screaming match with "Pops"at one point in this game. Still, when the dust settled a bloated 22-point lead San Antonio had built up and then seen trim down to a mere 6-point margin was in good hands as Parker made quality decisions down the stretch while helping the Spurs "hold serve"with a win that now forces Oklahoma City to cop four of the next five games in this set ... or else!
Okay, so Parker was a whiz and the OKC big men did a horrendous job attacking the pick-and-roll play all night long but you want analysis here and so let's hand you three really big reasons why San Antonio's now in charge of this best-of-seven set:
#1 - The Spurs shot 55.1 percent from the field last night (that's 43-of-78 made field goals) and rarely took bad or contested shots. Heck, every time you looked up there was Parker or G Manu Ginobili (20 points) or even Tim Duncan (just two made FGs) going hard to the hoop - now who knew the Spurs would be the more aggressive side in this series after the first two games?
#2 - You just knew it: No way was Oklahoma City gonna get another 6-of-8 FG game off the bench from aging guard Derek Fisher who truly hurt the Thunder by sinking just 2-of-11 shots from the floor (including 0-for-6 from inside the three-point line) plus aside from the big three of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden (a combined 88 points) the rest of Scott Brooks' club was MIA with 7-of-34 FG shooting (less than 21 percent, folks) while San Antonio players not named Parker, Ginobili and Duncan combined for 55 points and turned the ball over just six times;
#3 - Last but certainly not least when it came to last night's tilt, the Spurs didn't really let Westbrook beat 'em till late as they generally made him work for his points plus they drilled his butt to the floor a few times with hard fouls - just wondering wht Okie City hasn't been quite as "nasty"on the other end of the floor.
We'll get into a complete Spurs-Thunder Game 3 Preview in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez but first this key reminder: NBA Playoff Betting Favorites enter this evening's Game 2 clash between Boston at Miami with a collective ATS (against the spread) mark of 38-28-3 for a .576 winning rate and did you know that the chalk sides are an electric 8-1 versus the vig in this post-season since May 21st?
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers continue to bash Las Vegas and so can you When you click here and purchase Network's NBA Playoffs and there's plenty more Side & Totals Hoop Winners straight ahead this 2012 post-season. Click Here and get all the Major-League Baseball Winners too - so go ahead and sign up today and get it all as that's NBA and MLB winnin' action every day.
Now, here's the up-to-date NBA Playoff Betting Chart including just the four still-alive squads:
NBA PLAYOFF POINTSPREAD STANDINGS
(thru Tuesday, May 29)
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
#4 BOSTON at #2 MIAMI - Game 2 is tonight at 8:30 p.m. ET
What can the Boston Celtics do tonight to get 'em all squared away in this best-of-seven series?
For starters, they can hit their free throws here - the C's connected on just 11-of-21 foul shots and everyone's still shaking their heads regarding Ray Allen who missed 4-of-7 FTs in the opener.
Secondly, they can cut down on getting technical fouls:
Okay, so maybe NBA ref Danny Crawford (who has 27 years on the job) should have eased up on calling a couple of "T's"but no matter as silly under-the-hoop pushes (we mean you, Rajon Rondo) and dopey delay-of-game calls (that's on you, Kevin Garnett) have a way of piling up and so veteran head coach Doc Rivers must get his aging team to keep their tempers and/or bad manners in check here.
Finally, Boston must get its fast break in gear - did you realize that the Celtics scored just five fast-break points in Game 1 against the Heat and that had better be upgraded here especially when you consider the Celtics had such difficulty scoring in the half-court offense (see 32-of-81 FGs for 39.5 percent overall)?
Here's the flip side of this Game 2 script:
The Heat was way too up-and-down for head coach Erik Spoelstra's taste (blew an 11-point first-half lead en route to being tied at 46-apiece at the half) plus the three-ball shooting was absolutely horrendous as Miami drained a mere 5-of-25 triples in all (note that Mario Chalmers and Shane Battier were a combined 2-of-15 from beyond the three-point arc but neither showed much of a conscience) and so either LeBron James (32 points and 13 rebounds in Game 1) and/or Dwyane Wade (22 points and 7 assists in Game 1) must convince their mates 'tis better to drive to the front of the rim than settle for bombs-away shots or else the James/Wade tag team tandem is gonna have to take more than nearly half the team's shots here (they did attempt 35 of Miami's 72 FGs in the opener).
Here's how the Celtics-Heat playoff series has gone so far (note that all home teams are in CAPS):
|5-28||MIAMI||- 8||Boston||MIAMI 93-79|
NOTE: Catch all the inside info on tonight's NBA Lotttery draw when you check with us in tomorrow's Jim Sez plus get all the up-to-date NBA Playoff action/previews.