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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, May 12, 2012 at 11:59 PM

Las Vegas bettors The first round of the 2012 NBA Playoffs FINALLY come to an end Sunday afternoon in Memphis, as the Clippers and Grizzlies wrap up what’s been an absolutely brutal first round series. Both teams are exhausted, banged up, and ready for a rest break. Unfortunately, they come back today for an early tip after playing late Friday…and then the winner has to visit San Antonio on Tuesday!

As you know, the Miami Heat open their second round series with the Indiana Pacers today as well in a big TV doubleheader. We’ll run some key indicator stats for that series and the Philadelphia-Boston series that began Saturday Night in this special Mother’s Day report as well.

So much to get to! Let’s jump right in…



Game Seven Vegas Line: Memphis by 8, total of 178.5

Series tied 3-3

The line has jumped here from prior games in Memphis because of the injury situation for the LA Clippers, and because home teams often get line respect in Game Seven of a series anyway. You can see where the market is coming from based on recent results. Memphis won their last home game by 12 points (92-80) when Griffin and Paul got injured and played through the pain. Memphis won on the road by 2 points (90-88) when those guys were at three-quarter speed. Split the difference and you’re near today’s line…with a little added in for attrition and the extra home court boost teams often enjoy in Game Seven.

The line being this high is a reminder that the market favored Memphis at the beginning of the series (remember how much the series priced moved initially), and a reflection of how well Memphis seems to be handling the physical challenges of this intense series.




Field Goal Pct: Memphis 46%, Clippers 43%

Three-Pointers: Memphis 3/10, Clippers 4/15

Free Throws: Memphis 17/27, Clippers 16/25

Rebounds: Memphis 48, Clippers 32

Turnovers: Memphis 20, Clippers 7

Vegas Line: Memphis by 2, total of 178

If not for turnovers, this would have been a blowout. Memphis won shooting percentage and rebounding by meaningful degrees (particularly rebounding). They’ve stopped shooting so many treys, but only made one less than the Clippers for the night. What you see above represents edges in the inside game. If you’ve been a reader of the NOTEBOOK over the years, you know how much that means to us in college and pro basketball.

Sunday, size and health advantages likely mean that Memphis will win:

*Rebounding, possibly by a big margin considering their advantage in recent games.

*Inside scoring, particularly now that Paul is unable to drive in at peak intensity for layups, floaters, and short jumpers.

*Free throws, because Memphis can draw fouls inside, and because the Clippers have trouble making free throws when they get them.

That leaves the Clippers needing to win outside scoring and turnovers to hang within this number and possibly score an upset. If you’re handicapping the game, that’s the area you need to focus on. Can banged up (and possibly demoralized) Los Angeles do enough outside to make up for what they’re unable to do inside?

JIM HURLEY is working very intently on answering that question with his exclusive TEAM HANDICAPPING approach. The number one priority is finding out the true physical status of key players from his sources. The number two priority is finding out the mindset of the team as they’ve seen a 3-1 series lead disappear and now must win on the road to advance.





Efficiency Rankings

Indiana (8 on offense, 10 on defense, 9 in rebound rate)

Miami (6 on offense, 4 on defense, 6 in rebound rate)

If you’re new to the site, efficiency rankings measure how teams rated in the league this year on offense and defense once you adjust for tempo. These are rankings in points scored and allowed per 100 possessions. That keeps analysts from overrating the defenses of slow teams, and overrating the offenses of fast teams. Rebound rate measures the percentage of available rebounds that you grabbed, which is better than raw volume because it adjusts for opportunity. Getting a lot of rebounds in a slow game is more impressive than doing that in a fast game when there are so many more shots.

It’s important to note here that Indiana just isn’t that far behind Miami in these areas of importance. Miami is clearly better…but only by a few spots. You regulars know that we emphasize defense, and Miami does have its biggest edge in that category.

Does this mean that the betting markets are way out of line by making Miami a series favorite of -900? Yes, that’s exactly what it means! That doesn’t suggest an upset is imminent. But, “Heat Fever” is a bit more intense than it should be at the moment.

We will say this. Those rankings could be a bit polluted by the following:

*Indiana plays with great energy, and doesn’t let up when the bench is on the floor vs. bad teams. This allows them to accumulate maximum stats in a way that could be misleading for playoff purposes.

*Miami coasted in the last few weeks of the season to save themselves for the playoffs. They would have ranked better across the board if they were TRYING to accumulate good stats rather than win a championship.

In other words…Miami has a bigger edge over Indiana than the efficiency rankings would suggest…but not as much as the series price of -900 is implying.



Efficiency Rankings

Philadelphia (17 on offense, 3 on defense, 17 in rebound rate)

Boston (24 on offense, 2 on defense, 28 in rebound rate)

Wow…the series underdog actually grades out as the much better team! How could that happen? Boston was awful in the first half of the season. They accumulated poor stats vs. a very weak schedule. Once they found their form in the second half of the campaign, they couldn’t fully “fix” their stat rankings. They are certainly better than those numbers would suggest (they had those same regular season rankings heading into the Atlanta series and advanced in six games).

Interesting how both teams have the same pattern there…championship caliber defense…but disappointing numbers on offense and on the boards. Boston is surprisingly bad at rebounding because they send everyone back on offense when a shot goes up as a general rule. Philadelphia looks to be doing the same thing to a lesser degree. That helps defense and hurts rebounding.

The market was expecting a competitive series based on the pre-series line of Boston -230, Philadelphia +190, and the Game One line of Boston -5 at home. If our stat indicators prove meaningful, then things will be even tighter than the market was expecting.

You can purchase JIM HURLEY’S MOTHER’S DAY MAGIC right here at the website with your credit card. You’ll get our top plays from the NBA as well as baseball bombshells. Among the diamond delights we’re looking at closely are:

Atlanta at St. Louis on TBS

LA Angels at Texas on ESPN

NY Mets at Miami

Tampa Bay at Baltimore

Cleveland at Boston

If you have any questions about today or long term service, call the office at 1-800-323-4453. Be sure to ask about next week’s Preakness and the Belmont when you call. It’s easy to add the Triple Crown horse races you’ll be watching on TV to any basketball, baseball, or combination package.

We hope all of you enjoy a wonderful Mother’s Day with your family. Make the day even more special by spending a few minutes with JIM HURLEY!

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