Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, May 19, 2012 at 7:47 PM
After a dramatic Saturday in the world of sports, featuring riveting come-from-behind victories for the San Antonio Spurs and I’ll Have Another, we gladly bring you another set of stat previews for what could turn out to be a sizzling Sunday.
Up first is Miami at Indiana, a game the whole world will be watching because of its impact on the championship picture. If Miami can find its form again and even up the series at two games apiece, then they regain their role as favorites in the East…and the legacies of LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have a chance to get back on track. But, a loss Sunday might trigger an earthquake that’s going to rumble for months or years.
In Game Two of Sunday hoops…the San Antonio Spurs hope to finish off the LA Clippers just a day after their stunning rally from 40-16 down in the first half. If you had any doubts about the Spurs recent form because of various sorts of pollution…you can throw those out the window no. This team took the best shot the LA Clippers had to offer (arguably a better shot than anyone believed the LA Clippers had to offer!) and absolutely blitzed them the rest of the game. Amazing.
We crunch the numbers in schedule order…
MIAMI vs. INDIANA
Game Four Vegas Line: Miami by 1.5, total of 178.5
Indiana leads 2-1
The market took awhile to settle back in Game Three…as Indiana got some early respect from the Wise Guys, but the wagering public generally came in on the Heat before game time because squares can’t resist a top contender in a bounce back spot. Well, Miami didn’t bounce back at all…creating even more uncertainty in this one. Historically, this is a spot where championship contenders rise to the occasion and take care of business at a cheap price. But, if D-wade is as messed up mentally as it seemed the other night, Miami is no longer a championship contender. JIM HURLEY has been working closely with his sources during the extra day between games to make sure he get the right side for his clients. And, as always, it could turn out that the best option is the total rather than the team side. The last two games have landed on 153 and 169…way below Vegas expectations. This game could miss by 7-10 points in either direction depending on the energy Miami brings to the festivities.
GAME THREE SUMMARY
INDIANA 94, MIAMI 75
Field Goal Pct: Miami 37%, Indiana 43%
Three-Pointers: Miami 4/20, Indiana 8/14
Free Throws: Miami 13/18, Indiana 20/23
Rebounds: Miami 36, Indiana 52
Turnovers: Miami 14, Indiana 14
Vegas Line: Miami by 1.5, total of 180
Miami was poor in all facets of play except for internal defense. They were outrebounded badly, and basically spent the night putting up unenthusiastic jump shots that didn’t go in. Dwyane Wade is obviously very frustrated about SOMETHING. Maybe it’s an under-reported injury he’s dealing with (remember that Miami’s motto has been “no excuses” since the big three got together, which means nobody whines about injuries to the press). Maybe it’s the lack of X’s and O’s adjustments from his head coach given what Indiana’s defense is throwing at them. And, maybe it’s something worse…just a spoiled millionaire feeling disrespected. We should learn more about the ramifications today even if we don’t ever officially find out what was going on.
Can Indiana keep playing well and finish off the Heat? We saw the Pacers have trouble against Orlando when it was time to express their dominance. They weren’t good as favorites in the series opener. They blew a big lead on the road in a game that they ultimately won in overtime. Nerves are likely to set in the closer Indiana gets to springing a series upset. That’s something we’ll be thinking a lot about in terms of both side and total impact from this point forward.
SAN ANTONIO vs. LA CLIPPERS
Game Four Vegas Line: San Antonio by 7, total of 190
San Antonio leads 3-0
Publication deadlines came up relatively quickly after Game Three ended…so you may be seeing different numbers up on the board in Vegas by the time you’re reading this. The initial adjustment gave San Antonio credit for being in close-out position after winning by 10 on the road in their first try. The total dropped a few points after we saw what happens in this series when there aren’t a zillion treys being made. This has basically been treated like a first round series by the market…with the Spurs consistently performing the way a #1 seed would…and the Clippers having any trouble establishing that they’re better than Utah in terms of this particular matchup.
Given San Antonio’s recent string of success (which has lasted well over a month), all possible statistical and personnel matchups would point to the Spurs at any single digit spread (and probably as high as -12 on the road and -14 at home!). We’ll check with our sources to see if there are signs the Spurs may take their foot off the gas (which they did in a sluggish 6-point win in the series finale at Utah), and if the Clippers act like they’re throwing in the towel because trying to rally from 3-0 down vs. this opponent seems impossible.
GAME THREE SUMMARY
SAN ANTONIO 96, LA CLIPPERS 86
Field Goal Pct: San Antonio 46%, Clippers 46%
Three-Pointers: San Antonio 9/22, Clippers 3/9
Free Throws: San Antonio 17/25, Clippers 9/18
Rebounds: San Antonio 41, Clippers 44
Turnovers: San Antonio 13, Clippers 12
Vegas Line: San Antonio by 5.5, total of 192.5
This is one of those games where your eyeballs registered more than the raw numbers did. The data doesn’t seem amazing…with the only relevant damage being done on three-pointers. San Antonio was +16 from long range in a game they won by 10. But…to sit there and watch a team trailing 40-16 rev their engines and fly past a stationary opponent was inspiring. It’s like the Spurs had warp drive and the Clippers were driving an old Volkswagen beetle! The Spurs would win the rest of the game 80-46, seemingly dancing circles around an opponent that couldn’t figure out what was going on, and couldn’t do anything about it.
We don’t think the Spurs are as good as their recent numbers in terms of what to expect against the winner of the Oklahoma City/Lakers series and the eventual Eastern conference representative. But, you’d have to say that, right now, none of the other playoff teams at their best can play with San Antonio at its best. They have the highest ceiling…and the players are eating helium for breakfast.
You can purchase JIM HURLEY’S Sunday basketball right here at the website with your credit card. The final day of the first batch of Interleague action has electric possibilities as well. The TBS game matching Boston and Philadelphia is getting extra attention from our staff. Our information guys are all over the rivalry games involving White Sox-Cubs, Rangers-Astros, Orioles-Nationals, and A’s/Giants. The Sunday Night game on ESPN matching St. Louis and the LA Dodgers is on the radar too.
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Today will be one of the most talked about Sundays of the entire Spring given the drama about to unfold with the Miami Heat. Be sure you link up with the man who has the answers before the questions are even asked. Sign up now with JIM HURLEY!