Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, May 14, 2012 at 11:10 PM
The two current favorites to play in the NBA Finals are both in action Tuesday Night. The San Antonio Spurs finally get to start their second round series with the Sunday completion of Clippers/Grizzlies. The Miami Heat are already playing their second game with Indiana, with the knowledge that they’ll probably be without Chris Bosh for the remainder of this series and possibly for the rest of the Eastern brackets.
We always take the games in rotation order…which means we talk about Game Two out East in Miami before running our official series preview for the Clippers and the Spurs. We look forward to guiding you day-by-day through this very important week of basketball action. Be aware that the Western matchups will have back-to-backs this weekend! Oklahoma City/Lakers will play Friday and Saturday…while San Antonio/Clippers will play Saturday and Sunday.
What does the market think about the loss of Bosh? Let’s jump into the numbers…
MIAMI vs. INDIANA
Game Two Vegas Line: Miami by 7.5, total of 185.5
Miami leads 1-0
The Game One line was Miami by 8.5, so we’ve come down a point with both the Bosh injury and the traditional tendency to bet Game One losers in play. So, the market doesn’t currently see the loss of Bosh as anything meaningful. Maybe that will change later in the series if LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have to carry too much of the scoring load. For now, it’s basically a non-issue in the eyes of the market.
Note that the total has come down half a point after the first game in this series landed on 181 in what was actually a fast-paced game. We saw scoring gradually decline in several first round matchups, so keep an eye on that here. Indiana played some slow games with Orlando, and Miami doesn’t mind halfcourt battles given the talent of their two best players. Game One landed on 181 in a game with 96 possessions per team (tied for fastest in the Eastern brackets this year with the only game played by Derrick Rose).
GAME ONE SUMMARY
MIAMI 95, INDIANA 86
Field Goal Pct: Indiana 40%, Miami 41%
Three-Pointers: Indiana 4/17, Miami 0/6
Free Throws: Indiana 20/28, Miami 29/38
Rebounds: Indiana 38, Miami 45
Turnovers: Indiana 15, Miami 12
Vegas Line: Miami by 8.5, total of 186
Neither team shot very well, and Miami didn’t even make a trey all day. You can see that the difference came at the free throw line for the Heat. The WHOLE difference! That’s why Indiana was so mad about the officiating. If you take out free throws we have a 66-66 tie on two’s and three’s. The Pacers definitely believe they can win this series if they get even officiating. The problem is…Miami has more guys who get calls…and they legitimately do a better job of drawing fouls too.
If you watched the game, you know that the final margin didn’t tell the story here. Indiana was the better team in the first half…and they hung tough until the very end. Their problem is that they don’t have a reliable crunch time scoring option late in big games. Miami has TWO of them. So, any close game is probably going to come down to James or Wade being in position to win, while the Pacers hope somebody steps up and makes something.
Another hope for the Pacers, fittingly, is that a fast pace can help them wear down Miami. You saw that some with the Lakers against Denver in the last round until a fresh Metta World Peace could come in and save the day defensively. Miami doesn’t want to keep playing at 96 possessions per game, that’s for sure.
JIM HURLEY has been working closely with his Miami sources regarding the fallout of the Bosh injury (many of those sources have relocated from our ace New York group in their later years!). He definitely has something special planned for this game on either the side or the total.
Now, finally, our final matchup preview of the second round…
WESTERN CONFERENCE SECOND ROUND
SAN ANTONIO (1) VS LA CLIPPERS (5)
Game One: Tuesday at 9:30 p.m. on TNT
Series Price: San Antonio -2100 (LA Clippers +1300)
Game One Line: San Antonio by 11, total of 190.5
The Clippers are banged up and exhausted after that brutal seven-game series against Memphis. Blake Griffin would be on the Disabled List if this wasn’t the playoffs. Chris Paul would be resting or coasting rather than trying to grind through the challenge. San Antonio wouldn’t normally be this big a favorite at home over a #5 seed…nor would they be favored by that much in the series. Note that these teams basically split out three regular season games…with each team winning once in regulation, and the other going to overtime (and the Spurs needed a miracle to force overtime if you’ll recall). Clearly the recent travails of the valiant Clippers are looming large in the mind of the market.
LA Clippers (4 on offense, 18 on defense, 6 in rebound rate)
San Antonio (1 on offense, 11 on defense, 6 in rebound rate)
Obviously the Spurs shouldn’t be gargantuan favorites based on those rankings. In fact, these teams are fairly similar in terms of style. Neither has been playing playoff caliber defense this year…but both make up for that with extremely efficient offenses and strong rebounding. The Spurs are trying to debunk the “defense wins championships” mantra with their approach this year. Their relative softness on defense (compared to other league powers) is likely to matter at some point in the postseason even if the Clippers don’t have enough able bodies to make them pay this time around.
If you’re new to the website, those efficiency rankings represent regular season positioning in the categories of points scored per possession, points allowed per possession, and available rebounds grabbed. If the Clippers can get healthy…or if the Spurs suffer an injury to one of their big three, you’re going to see very similar teams going to war in the later games of this series.
For tonight, JIM HURLEY is waiting for the final word from his sources regarding the Clippers mindset and healthy. They may be best served by taking a game off and trying to get up to speed. That would mean a favorite play makes sense even at this high number. Frankly, that’s about the only way a favorite play would be justified though given this high market price.
You can purchase Tuesday basketball right here at the website with your credit card. We still have a very affordable price that takes you through the rest of the playoffs too. We’re just starting the second round…which means the conference finals and championship round are still ahead. If you have any questions about our service, call the office at 1-800-323-4453. Be sure to check on the Preakness and Belmont when you call. The Preakness goes this Saturday!
It’s a busy night in the baseball too. We’re looking at matchups like Yankees/Orioles, Rays/Blue Jays, and Reds/Braves for serious play Tuesday Night. Among the big name pitchers on the hill this evening are: Strasburg, Sabathia, Lee, Greinke, and Lincecum. A terrific Tuesday!
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