Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 10:45 PM
There were concerns a few days ago that there wouldn’t even be any basketball on Thursday Night. All the series in Tuesday’s quadrupleheader saw teams with 3-1 advantages. Win Tuesday, and advance to the next round. Indiana managed, but none of the other three leaders could win!
Philadelphia played one of the worst games of the modern playoff era in a road loss at Chicago. Boston had a chance to win, but a lousy second half doomed them to continue their series with Atlanta. And, the Los Angeles Lakers sleepwalked through three-and-a-half quarter before a late rally fell short against Denver.
As a result, we have not ZERO, or one, or even two NBA Playoff games Thursday Night…but THREE compelling gamers where series trailers have legitimate chances to extend action to the weekend. We’ll take them in schedule order…
CHICAGO vs. PHILADELPHIA
Game Six Vegas Line: Philadelphia by 3, total of 169.5
Philadelphia leads 3-2
The sixers were favored by three points the last time they were on this floor…so they’ve at least maintained that respect even though they’re a #8 seed who’s about to feel home court closeout pressure for the first time. The total has dropped below 170 as we go to press…which is a tribute to the greatness of these defenses and the horribleness of the offenses! The last three games have landed on 146, 171, and 153…which may mean the high 160’s is still too high a hurdle.
GAME FIVE SUMMARY
CHICAGO 77, PHILADELPHIA 69
Field Goal Pct: Philadelphia 32%, Chicago 42%
Three-Pointers: Philadelphia 2/11, Chicago 5/10
Free Throws: Philadelphia 17/24, Chicago 4/11
Rebounds: Philadelphia 49, Chicago 49
Turnovers: Philadelphia 14, Chicago 15
Vegas Line: Chicago by 5, total of 172.5
Chicago played defense like their season depended on it (which it did). Philadelphia seemed to be saving something in reserve knowing they could wrap up the series at home in the next meeting. This series has basically become a baseball pitcher’s duel….if say, Roy Halladay were facing Justin Verlander in a Double-A game. Scorers are completely overmatched. It takes free throws or occasional runs of treys to get anything on the board. JIM HURLEY will be working with his historians to see how home teams usually do when in position to finish off a series in six games (a relatively rare first round scenario, but in play twice tonight). The statheads will also be in the discussion because the total may be a better option than the team side.
BOSTON vs. ATLANTA
Game Six Vegas Line: Boston by 6.5, total of 174.5
Boston leads 3-2
Boston was -6 in their last home game, and won a 101-79 rout because Atlanta was in a lineup transition that helped set up what would become a Game Five victory for the Hawks. Al Horford got the rust off…then dominated the next game. The Celtics are getting clear market respect here as an experienced team that should know how to finish things off at home. Just remember that you’re seeing a higher spread than it seems because of that low Over/Under. It’s easier to win by 7 in a game with 190, 200, or 210 points than it is in a steel cage match in the 170’s.
GAME FIVE SUMMARY
ATLANTA 87, BOSTON 86
Field Goal Pct: Boston 44%, Atlanta 47%
Three-Pointers: Boston 6/14, Atlanta 7/16
Free Throws: Boston 12/18, Atlanta 12/14
Rebounds: Boston 33, Atlanta 41
Turnovers: Boston 14, Atlanta 18
Vegas Line: Atlanta by 1.5, total of 175.5
It’s hard to trust either team late in close games. You probably watched Atlanta throw the ball away with a lead, only to be followed up by Rajon Rondo losing the ball as the clock ran out. Boston tends to force up guarded shots when they need to score, while you never know what Atlanta’s going to do. The numbers above show how tight this series can be within a 48-minute grind. Neither can run away and hide from the other on treys or free throws unless they catch some breaks. Both offenses are turnover prone for a slow series. Boston has more of an upside based on a regulation margin breakdown of -9, -1, 0, +7, +22. That’s +4 per game even with three of five outings being on the road. The market seems to have priced that in.
JIM HURLEY saw a key in the individual player numbers from the Game Five boxscore that has strongly influenced his call here. We’re not going to go any further than that to protect the information for his clients.
LA LAKERS vs. DENVER
Game Six Vegas Line: Denver by 1.5, total of 198.5
Los Angeles leads 3-2
If Denver is for real, then that line is too low. Denver has won at home by 15 and lost by 4, which is an average of 5.5 points per home game. They just won 3 on the road after blowing a much bigger lead. But, if the balloon is about to burst, then the Lakers will win the game and the series and the tight line is going to be meaningless. To us, this is a very volatile line. Vegas doesn’t really have a read on the series, they’ve just posted a midpoint for the possible bedlam. JIM HURLEY is very much looking forward to this game!
GAME FIVE SUMMARY
DENVER 102, LA LAKERS 99
Field Goal Pct: Denver 46%, Lakers 39%
Three-Pointers: Denver 3/19, Lakers 9/24
Free Throws: Denver 21/27, Lakers 20/26
Rebounds: Denver 43, Lakers 48
Turnovers: Denver 7, Lakers 9
Vegas Line: Lakers by 6, total of 196.5
Denver led by 15 in the fourth quarter before Kobe Bryant when on a trey tear that had to be seen to be believed. Too little too late. The Lakers were lethargic all night before that late run, particularly on defense. Think about how great Denver had to be inside the arc if they shot 46% for the game while going just 3 of 19 on treys! Denver put on a highlight show while the Lakers bigs stood idly by and watched. Maybe that was complacency because of the 3-1 series led. Maybe it was fatigue because of fast tempo’s earlier in the series. LA better hope that’s the worst their defense will look in this postseason. Oklahoma City’s a lot better than Denver.
It’s great to have this BONUS night of big play possibilities when it looked a couple of days ago that we might be dealing with baseball only. Tonight’s NBA TRIPLE CROWN will be available on the website Thursday afternoon for credit card purchase. Make a few clicks and have your credit cards handy. Note that all the baseball is under the lights Thursday, with a strong card highlighted by Tampa Bay at New York, Texas at Baltimore, and Cleveland at Boston. Talk about Must-See TV!
If you have any questions about our basketball or baseball programs, call the office at 1-800-323-4453. Be sure you ask about the rest of the Triple Crown horse racing package as well. The Preakness will be here before you know it. And, this upcoming stretch of late first round and early second round action in the NBA is going to be a minefield for novice handicappers who aren’t as smart as they think they are.
That wraps up Thursday’s previews. Back with you Friday as a busy sports week continues. We hope you’re with us EVERY DAY in the NOTEBOOK so you know what’s really happening in the world of sports. The MAN WITH THE PLAN to get ALL THE MONEY is legendary handicapper JIM HURLEY. Why are you losing on your own when it’s so easy to WIN with a HANDICAPPING JUGGERNAUT that’s been cashing tickets for 25 years? Link up online or call NOW!