Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, May 16, 2012 at 7:43 PM
In yesterday’s report, we talked about the Boston-Philadelphia series officially being underway because a road team had won a game. Now, we say the same thing about Miami-Indiana. The Pacers’ road upset Tuesday Night raised a lot of doubts about Miami’s ability to play high quality basketball without Chris Bosh contributing near the basket. The Heat will have a lot of questions to answer when they take the floor Thursday in Game Three at Indiana.
In the other series in play Thursday, the main question is whether or not the LA Clippers will be able to compete for 48 full minutes against the San Antonio Spurs any time soon. The Clippers looked tired in the second half Tuesday Night after a quick turnaround from the Memphis series. Now, with only one day off, it’s back to battle…only to look forward to a back-to-back Saturday and Sunday!
Here are the numbers from Tuesday that set up all the questions about Thursday…
MIAMI vs. INDIANA
Game Three Vegas Line: Pick-em, total of 182
Series tied 1-1
The line opened Miami -1, got bet initially all the way to Indiana -1, and has been hopping around near pick-em as we go to press. There are clearly contingents of “Miami is overrated” and “Miami is going to bounce back” who are going head-to-head in the market. And, if either one of those turns out to be true, the game may not land close to the Vegas number anyway. If Miami is overrated, then Indiana can turn home court advantage into something better than a coin flip. If Miami is going to bounce back and play well, they only have to win the game to keep backers from losing money.
The total has dropped three points after Game Two’s 185 ended up being about 30 points too high. That 153 finish was helped by Indiana and Miami combined to go 4 of 31 on three-pointers. There’s room here for some regression to the mean that still stays Under.
GAME TWO SUMMARY
INDIANA 78, MIAMI 75
Field Goal Pct: Indiana 38%, Miami 35%
Three-Pointers: Indiana 3/15, Miami 1/16
Free Throws: Indiana 19/27, Miami 20/29
Rebounds: Indiana 50, Miami 40
Turnovers: Indiana 17, Miami 12
Vegas Line: Miami by 7, total of 185
The most telling number to us is the rebounding category. Without Bosh near the basket, Miami becomes REALLY short by NBA frontline standards. Indiana was +10 in rebound differential while also clogging the lane and forcing Miami to shoot from outside. Miami COULDN’T shoot from outside…so the absence of Bosh turned out to be a lot more meaningful than many pundits expected. At least on this night, James and Wade couldn’t lift their games to take up the scoring slack. Nobody else did either. Miami must figure out a way to unclog the lanes or this is going to be one long, ugly series.
Indiana fans have to be careful about misplaced enthusiasm. Look, you guys were pretty horrible too! An offense that shoots 38% from the field while turning the ball over 17 times usually gets annihilated. Don’t assume life is going to get easier playing at home. The Pacers have to do a much better job on offense themselves if they hope to win four games in this series. If it’s 1-1 when Miami is 1 of 22 on treys, what’s going to happen when Miami starts making treys?
JIM HURLEY’S sources are working very hard to find out about strategy changes and mindsets for each team. Indiana can’t afford to relax. You’d expect Miami to bounce back…but they sure seemed to have chemistry problems last year when the going got tough against Dallas. That’s worth remembering as this series continues…and in any series where the relatively mild-mannered Bosh isn’t on the floor to help keep everyone level-headed.
SAN ANTONIO vs. LA CLIPPERS
Game Two Vegas Line: San Antonio by 11, total of 194
San Antonio leads 1-0
No change on the team side line, as the Spurs stay at -11 after winning the opener by 16. The normal “bet the loser of Game One in Game Two” historical approach has become less popular over time, and isn’t popular here because the Clippers are still so tired. Maybe off-days sandwiched around a three-quarter speed defensive effort will help the Clippers get their legs back. When that does happen…the lines will drop down to something more reasonable. San Antonio wouldn’t have been -11 at home vs. Memphis in a normal series. They shouldn’t be -11 at home against the team that beat Memphis. The lines have fatigue inflation in the mix, which was justified in Game One and may be again here.
The total is up 3-4 points from the first game because so little defense was played back on Tuesday Night. You’ll see in a moment that both teams shot lights out from long range in a game that landed on 200. If this ever becomes a “real” playoff series, trey production and overall scoring is going to drop pretty quickly.
GAME ONE SUMMARY
SAN ANTONIO 108, LA CLIPPERS 92
Field Goal Pct: Clippers 45%, San Antonio 49%
Three-Pointers: Clippers 9/19, San Antonio 13/25
Free Throws: Clippers 9/13, San Antonio 17/21
Rebounds: Clippers 34, San Antonio 47
Turnovers: Clippers 15, San Antonio 18
Vegas Line: San Antonio by 11, total of 190.5
You can see what we mean about the treys. The two teams were 22 of 44 combined, for a stunning 50% from long range. That’s the same as 75% on two-pointers! The Spurs owned the boards, but they should be embarrassed about turning the ball over that much against a tired defense. San Antonio can’t hope that made treys will bail out their sloppiness every game.
The Clippers readiness for Game Two means everything in terms of the handicapping. We’ll see another 16-point game if LA is still tired. If the Clippers are back in the flow, then this line should be -6 or -7 rather than -11. JIM HURLEY is doing what he can to find out the right information for this game…and to project out what a big effort here would mean for the weekend back-to-back. Should the Clippers take a loss here and focus on holding serve twice this weekend? How the braintrust answers that question will strongly impact tonight’s result.
JIM HURLEY’S exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach has really paid off during the playoffs, with NETWORK riding a 6-1 NBA streak heading into Wednesday Night’s action (prior to publication deadlines).
Be sure you take care of business EARLY on Thursday because there’s a bunch of day baseball. In fact, both the early and late slates have plenty of interesting matchups.
THURSDAY AFTERNOON MLB HIGHLIGHTS
Cincinnati at New York
St. Louis at San Francisco
Oakland at Texas
Chicago White Sox at LA Angels
THURSDAY EVENING MLB HIGHLIGHTS
Boston at Tampa Bay
NY Yankees at Toronto
Miami at Atlanta
Philadelphia at Chicago Cubs
Build your bankroll early with the best day play(s), then let the winnings ride Thursday Night in the baskets and the bases. JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK always has its plays up conveniently in advance of the first starts. Make a few clicks here at the website and have your credit card handy. If you have any questions, call the office at 1-800-323-4453. Don’t forget to ask about the Preakness when you call. It goes this Saturday…and you can purchase just the big race itself or the full day of action at Pimlico for a great rate. The two weeks between the Kentucky Derby and the Preakness sure went quickly.
Another big week in the world of sports…ANOTHER BIG MONEY WEEK FOR JIM HURLEY’S CLIENTS!