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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, May 13, 2015 at 7:00 PM

Yesterday, we talked about how the Golden State Warriors finally put together a stretch that made them look like champions back on Game Four of their series with the Memphis Grizzlies. Now, it’s time to talk about how LeBron James of the Cleveland Cavaliers finally did the same against the Chicago Bulls.

That was the story of Game Five. We saw vintage LeBron for the first time. He attacked the basket to go a stunning 13 of 19 on two-point shots. He carried his team on his back in their most important game of the season. He even had one of those amazing “off-the-ball” blocked shots on a Derrick Rose attempted layup very late in the game.

This was the LeBron we all remember!

It remains to be seen if he can do that one more time in this series…four times the Eastern Finals…and then at all vs. the Western Conference champs if the Cavs keep advancing. For one night, it was quite a show. You can see the impact it had on the overall boxscore…



Cleveland 106, Chicago 101

Shooting Pct: Chicago 40%, Cleveland 51%

Three-Pointers: Chicago 7/25, Cleveland 8/24

Free Throws: Chicago 26/28, Cleveland 18/25

Rebounds: Chicago 40, Cleveland 41

Turnovers: Chicago 8, Cleveland 11

Vegas Line: Cleveland by 5.5, total of 190.5

This is a grinder series in terms of pace and physicality. Any team that can make a run at 50% on two-point shots is going to be in great shape! You can see that most of the other categories cancelled out. Chicago kept it close thanks to great free throw shooting and intense hustle during a late come-from-behind effort. Wasn’t enough.


Cleveland Two-Point Shooting by Game: 42%, 45%, 39%, 39%, 51%

Sticks out like a sore thumb doesn’t it. Cleveland won the 45% and 51% games…then hit a buzzer shot in the second 39% spot on its way to a 3-2 series lead. Clearly these teams are fairly even when LeBron isn’t Superman. He’s the tiebreaker when wearing his cape.

Will he do that again Thursday? Or, is it smarter to relax Thursday then gear up for a Sunday Game Seven at home when he can bring full energy and intensity…and possibly get more from teammate Kyrie Irving who badly needs time to rest is nagging injuries?


Thursday’s Vegas Line: Chicago by 1.5, total of 192.5

The markets are giving the Bulls respect in the bounce-back spot. Remember that Cleveland was a road favorite the last time these teams got together. The Bulls are in a must-win home game against a hated rival. It’s assumed they’re going to show up. Cleveland may or may not.

JIM HURLEY will be working very closely with his on-site sources to get the proper read on Cleveland’s mindset. Knowing that could lead to an easy cover in either direction. If Cleveland wants to get things over with and rest up for the Finals…then LeBron’s cape stays on and we see a replay of Game Five. If now is the time to rest, Chicago may coast to an easy cover (granting that it’s been hard for either team to pull away from the other for long in this series!)

We should also mention that we’re monitoring all the chatter about Bulls coach Tom Thibodeaux being mentioned as a candidate for the newly opened head coaching job in New Orleans (he has the right kind of name!). That potential distraction came at the worst possible time for a group of players who may already be tuning out their coach because he buries them in minutes.

You can purchase the final word for Thursday right here at the website with your credit card. You’ll get the BEST BETS from Cavs/Bulls, as well as Game Six of Houston/LA Clippers that was forced when the Rockets finally played well Tuesday night. If you have any questions, call us in the office at 1-888-777-4155 during normal business hours.

Don’t forget that the Preakness Stakes goes this Saturday! JIM HURLEY has more horse racing customers than most services have sports customers. That’s because he’s been a proven winner at the track for more than 25 years. Don’t make a move in the next TRIPLE CROWN race until you hear what JIM HURLEY has to say!

We continue our second round playoff previews through the weekend…

Friday: Game Six Preview from either Washington/Atlanta or Memphis/GS

Saturday: Early Look at a Sunday Game Seven (if any)

Sunday: Game Seven Preview if any other series go the distance

It’s possible that everything wraps up in six. Then our next preview will involve an opener in the conference finals. If there are dramatic Game Sevens to preview…we’ll be right here crunching the numbers!

Be sure you visit the NOTEBOOK every day for handicapping guidance from a statistical perspective. Then, link up with WORLD CHAMPION HANDICAPPER JIM HURLEY for THE BEST BETS ON THE BOARD!


Be sure to follow:

Jim Hurley on twitter @vsm_hurley

Vegas-Sports-Masters on twitter @vsmasters

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