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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, May 18, 2012 at 8:30 AM

So, who's gonna have the biggest sports weekend of them all?

Will it be I'll Have Another at tomorrow's Preakness Stakes or maybe it'll be the Oklahoma City Thunder who have sweep on their minds while heading to the City of Angels this evening or perhaps it's those "natural rivalry" series that you have an eye out for in Major-League Baseball as Interleague play makes its 2012 debut as there's always fun stuff from White Sox-Cubs, Orioles-Nationals and A's-Giants series (among others).

Okay, so you get the idea that this May weekend - yes, the weekend before Memorial Day (already!) -- is simply jam-packed with great action and we'll tickle the twine in a bit with some NBA Playoff talk - including the up-to-the-moment NBA Playoff Pointspread Standings chart - plus we'll dig into the aforementioned "rivalry series" as Baseball welcomes the first installment of Interleague Play.

So let's get this weekend party started with a little NBA paperwork:

We enter tonight's action in Philadelphia and Los Angeles with NBA Playoff Betting Favorites a dead-even but vig-losing 26-26-2 ATS (against the spread) and do keep in mind that NBA Playoff Favs are 4-6 spreadwise thus far in this round after going a collective 22-20-2 ATS in Round I play.

As you can see in our accompanying chart, only five NBA playoff squads are playing better-than-.500 ball spreadwise at this exact moment (note that in future Jim Sez columns we will print up only the still-alive teams) and - for what it's worth - the eight teams eliminated in first-round playoff action finished up their post-season with a cumulative 19-23-2 ATS mark.

So, it's all hail the San Antonio Spurs who Thursday night clipped the 10 ½-point underdog Los Angeles Clippers 105-88 behind point guard Tony Parker's 22-point, 5-rebound, 5-assist game in the Alamo City - that a sweet 16 wins in a row for the Spurs while dating back into regular-season play (of course) and you must wonder aloud if they're headed for a second straight series sweep with the Clips all banged-up and truly worse for wear - to say nothing of the fact Vinny Del Negro's club is out-and-out overmatched here.

Note that we'll dig into the Spurs in tomorrow's Jim Sez plus - as you would expect - we'll have plenty to say this weekend too about the sad-sack Miami Heat who were blistered 94-75 on Thursday night in Indiana. And what were we telling you the other day about Heat crybaby Dwyane Wade!

(thru Thursday, May 17

San Antonio 5 1 0 .833
Indiana 5 3 0 .625
Denver 4 3 0 .571
Miami 4 3 1 .571
Philadelphia 5 4 0 .556
Atlanta 3 3 0 .500
Chicago 3 3 0 .500
Oklahoma City 3 3 0 .500
Dallas 2 2 0 .500
Memphis 3 3 1 .500
Boston 4 5 0 .444
LA Lakers 4 5 0 .444
Orlando 2 3 0 .400
LA Clippers 3 5 1 .375
Utah 1 3 0 .250
New York 1 3 1 .250

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 with Interleague Play kicking off this weekend -- 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 8:05 p.m. ET. it's ...BOSTON at PHILADELPHIA - Celtics lead series 2-1
Message received! If the Boston Celtics wanted one-and-all to know that they were not gonna limp through this playoff round following a pair of one-point affairs - one a winner, one a loser - than surely Doc Rivers and Company sent out a bold-faced on-court note to the 76ers: When we mean business, you'll know it!

The Celtics' runway Game 3 win in Philly this past Wednesday night was an absolute clinic from PG Rajon Rondo dishing out 14 assists along with his 23 points plus born-again F/C Kevin Garnett (27 points and 13 rebounds) looked like his MVP season of yesteryear. Philadelphia must push Garnett out of the paint area here in Game 4 and get its young studs clicking as Evan Turner and Lou Williams combined to make just 5-of-20 field goals in Game 3 - not good enough, guys!

Here's how the Celtics-76ers Eastern Conference Semifinal Series has gone so far (note all home teams are in CAPS):

5-12 BOSTON - 5.5 Philadelphia BOSTON 92-91
5-14 BOSTON - 4.5 Philadelphia Philadelphia 82-81
5-16 PHILADELPHIA - 2 Boston Boston 107-91


Tonight at 10:35 p.m. ET, it's ...OKLAHOMA CITY at LOS ANGELES LAKERS - Thunder leads series 2-0
Okay, so the Lakers' 77-75 loss in Game 2 was more than simply the "one that got away" in this series as it symbolized the growing gap between these teams:

The Thunder is quick and opportunistic as exhibited by some gambling steals late - heck, even Lakers' star Kobe Bryant couldn't believe how they penetrated the passing lanes in the game's final three or four minutes - while the Lakers can be a bit lead-footed and no doubt their lack of point guard prowess has been evident in this post-season.

Sorry, we don't mean to pick on PG Ramon Sessions but did you realize in Wednesday's loss in Okie City the Lakers point guard had 2 points and 0 assists in 24 minutes of action!

If the Lakers don't mesh a little better here - and don't score at least 25 fast-break points -- than the Thunder will be thinking sweep city for a second consecutive round just like those guys from San Antone.

It's true that if Steve Blake's corner triple went down in the waning moments the other night there wouldn't be such panic in LA-LA land but he clanked the three-ball while Kevin Durant and James Harden made all the big shots at crunch time - hey, Durant's 22-point outing in Game 2 was a handful of points below his per-game average but is there a better closer in the NBA game aside from the great Kobe?

Maybe the Lakers will decide to knock Durant down a time or too here - it couldn't hurt!

Here's how the Lakers-Thunder Western Conference Semifinal Series has gone so far (note all home teams are in CAPS):




Here's those "natural rivalries" we've been talking about in today's Jim Sez column ...

CHICAGO WHITE SOX (18-21) at CHICAGO CUBS (15-23) - Both of these Windy City squads are on the "south side" of the .500 mark and neither can really trust its pitching staff these days but the Cubs are mighty proud of 1B Bryan LaHair who has whacked five home runs this month and enters this weekend set hitting .330. The White Sox, meanwhile, have scored 23 runs in their last four games and in Thursday's 6-1 win in Anaheim there was ageless catcher A.J. Pierzynski getting three hits and a pair of ribbies - let's see if he can launch a dinger or two at Wrigley Field this weekend.

BALTIMORE (25-14) at WASHINGTON (23-15) - Suddenly, this Battle of the Beltway has some major juice as the Orioles (who are a tasty 13-5 on the road so far this year) are sitting in first place in the American League East while the Nationals (winners of 14 of their 20 home games this year) are sitting a mere half-game back of Atlanta in the National League East. Okay, so everyone wants an up-close peek at 19-year-old Washington OF Bryce Harper but may we remind you that Baltimore OF Adam Jones just walloped his 13th home run of the year in yesterday's 5-3-come-from-behind win in Kansas City. Is Jones one of baseball's 5-best players right now? We'd have to say yes!

OAKLAND (20-19) at SAN FRANCISCO (19-19) - The Bay Area rivalry is always neat but raise your hand if you thought the A's would own the slightly better winning percentage versus the Giants at this stage of the here-and-now season. Oakland OF Josh Riddick might be the best player the general public has never heard of as he's already launched 10 home runs this season. Hey, it'll be fun to watch Giants LHP Barry Zito go up against his old team tonight with that nifty 2.53 ERA. The Ziro vs. Riddick matchup three or four times here will be must-watch stuff.

NOTE: More NBA Playoffs and MLB coverage in the next edition of Jim Sez.

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