Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, May 24, 2012 at 9:12 AM
Okay, so if you stayed with the ESPN folks right after last night's 82-75 Game 6 win by the one-point favorite Philadelphia 76ers against the now-ancient Boston Celtics, you learned all about the key numbers:
You learned that now during this "Big Three" Era of Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen they are a collective 2-11 SU (straight-up) in road closeout games in the post-season (ugh!) but you also learned that the Celtics are 17-4 SU (a resounding .809 winning rate) in Game 7's at home in the team's proud hoops history.
They will play Game 7 of this Eastern Conference semifinal set on Saturday - but can Boston feel all that good about Game 7 history and that "extra" day off considering how the Celtics looked last night?
Forget for a moment the fact that Boston shot a dreary 33.3 percent from the floor - that's 26-of-78 FGs - and never mind the fact that the C's failed to exceed 20 points in any single quarter in Game 6 and come to the grips with the fact that Boston point guard Rajon Rondo played this last game without any real passion and with a pretty bad attitude (it seemed to us that when Rondo didn't get the ball right back from "The Big Three" he basically pouted and/or turned the ball over).
The final stat line for Rondo - who was one of the NBA's best-five players in this lockout-abbreviated regular season past - included only 9 points, 6 assists and 4 turnovers and keep in mind he also missed 10 of his 14 field-goal attempts with many of them absolutely horrible shots.
What ... you don't think we're gonna dole out some credit to the gritty/gutty/overachieving 76ers?
Oh, Doug Collins' crew played hard from start to finish even though Philly misfired on 11-of-28 free-throw tries - we were sure all the missed freebies were gonna come back and bite the Sixers at some point but that simply didn't happen in Game 6 - and even though Philly was mauled on the boards (48-to-37) and was hurt by Boston's offensive rebounding (see 14-to-7 advantage there) you must state that Sixers point guard Jrue Holiday was brilliant with his 20 points and just two turnovers in 39 minutes.
The 76ers bent just enough but never broke here although it appeared a few times in the first half that Boston was ready to crack this sucker open.
Now it's on to Game 7.
It's a magical time in NBA-land and especially when you consider these franchises battled in an Eastern Conference Finals in a Game 7 in Boston (won by Philadelphia) some 30 years ago this month.
Get your rest "Big Three" and shake off your mental doldrums, Mr. Rondo.
History might not remember you all that kindly should you lose at home - and as the betting favorite - in Game 7 this Memorial Day Weekend.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are rock-n-rolling through this year's NBA Playoffs and we will continue to bang out the post-season winners right through the end of June plus get all the 2012 Major-League Baseball Winners too -- so sign up today and get it all as that's plenty of Hoops and Baseball action every day and night! 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.
Tonight at 8 p.m. ET, it's ... MIAMI at INDIANA - Heat leads series 3-2
Now that everyone has had 48 hours to gather themselves and "get right" in their minds - now was that basketball or MMA stuff the other night in Miami's Game 5 win? - we can focus on real-live hoops strategy for this tilt but just how effective will Indiana's injured forwards Danny Granger and David West be here?
Granger was seen gimping around the Pacers practice with flip-flops on while attempting to rest his injured ankle while West - who exited the 115-83 Game 5 loss with what was being called a "sprained knee" - said he's ready to go here and don't put any stock into those silly "went soft" comments by Pacers president Larry Bird who highlight films will reveal did plenty of you-know-what slapping at Julius Erving back in the day.
Maybe Bird wants to "amp up" his team as Miami megastar LeBron James said at yesterday's practice but the only way those Bird comments will have any effect is if the Pacers are able to get "The King" off his game and keep in mind he filled up the stat sheet in that win two nights ago with 30 points, 10 rebounds and 8 assists and some of his passes have been Magic Johnson-like crisp to cutters in the land - if the Pacers can't stop that part of James' game here than it's curtains for the home folks.
Magic numbers: We say James and sidekick Dwyane Wade need minimum of 60 points here for the Heat to move on to another Eastern Conference Finals.
Here's how the Heat-Pacers Eastern Conference Semifinal Series has gone so far (note all home teams are in CAPS):
|5-13||MIAMI||- 8.5||Indiana||MIAMI 95-86|
|5-15||MIAMI||- 6.5||Indiana||Indiana 78-75|
|5-17||Miami||- 2.5||INDIANA||INDIANA 94-75|
|5-20||Miami||- 1.5||INDIANA||Miami 101-93|
|5-22||MIAMI||- 7||Indiana||MIAMI 115-83|
#2 OKLAHOMA CITY vs. #1 SAN ANTONIO - Game 1 is Sunday at 8:30 p.m. ET
Okay, so everyone's just got to have some patience before this gigantic best-of-seven series rolls into your living rooms on Sunday night from the Alamo City but keep this in mind:
The Spurs will have sat out a full week between games after having swept the crybaby Los Angeles Clippers 102-99 last Sunday night while the Okie City Thunder has been idle since Monday's Game 5 home triumph over the dysfunctional Los Angeles Lakers - we'll hear plenty about the rest versus rust factor coming in here (and we will have lots more to say about this series this weekend right here in Jim Sez) - but a reminder that San Antonio had eight days between their first- and second-round series while the Thunder had nine days off after sweeping Dallas in Round One play.
If you look at the NBA Playoffs stat leaders than you'll note Oklahoma City's Kevin Durant is ranked fifth in per-game scoring at 26.7 points while Spurs' PG Tony Parker ranks fifth in the league in assists at 7.1 "dimes" per outing.
But get a load of this:
San Antonio is allowing just 88.8 points per game through eight post-season tilts while Oklahoma City is yielding 91.9 ppg through its nine playoff games - so may we be the first to say that the "first team:" to 90 probably wins the games in this upcoming best-of-seven series and keep close eyes on the "totals" prices here because they may be a tad overblown at first glance.
NOTE: Get all our NBA News & Notes plus the NFL and MLB too in coming editions of Jim Sez all week long!