Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, May 9, 2012 at 9:51 AM
Can you really believe it?
Not a single NBA Playoff First-Round Series was knotted at two games apiece while exiting the respective Game #4's:
There were the two sweeps (see Oklahoma City over Dallas and San Antonio over Utah) and than six other opening-round sets where there was three games-to-one advantages.
Wasn't this supposed to be the real "fun" time of the year in Commissioner David Stern's kingdom?
True, we've had some overtime affairs sprinkled into the mix since last Friday night but you could make a spirited case for debate that says there has not been one single series so far that you - the fan - can sink your teeth into. No doubt that could have changed had the Memphis Grizzlies stepped it up in overtime two nights ago en route to that painful 101-97 OT loss to the Los Angeles Clippers but instead the Clips and the Miami Heat this evening go for the KO blow in their opening-round sets and we'll dig into both of those Game #5's in just a moment here in today's mid-week edition of Jim Sez.
But first a look ahead:
If the Clippers win here - or eventually win this best-of-seven series - than up next is the West's #1 seed the San Antonio Spurs and gotta believe the old-school, fundamentally-sound Spurs won't be enjoying all those on-court flops by Clippers young mega-star Blake Griffin. Okay, so the TNT cast - led by Charles Barkley - really lectured Griffin at halftime of Monday's action but we're somewhat surprised Clips head coach Vinny Del Negro hasn't set the kid straight - enough acting already, Griffin!
Meanwhile, in tonight's lone Eastern Conference duel, there's the Miami Heat looking to bag this series once-and-for-all and a word for Mr. Dwyane Wade who always seems to have something to say about fans, officiating, opposing teams, etc:
Keep your yap shut and make a few foul shots!
Following last Sunday's 89-87 Knicks upset of the 7 ½-point favored Heat, there was all kinds of chatter regarding why Miami didn't get its clean sweep at Madison Square Garden and the topics ranged from LeBron James not taking the final shot - as you'll recall, Wade did and he missed an off-balance triple at the buzzer - to the Heat's shaky defense on Knicks star Carmelo Anthony (see 41 points) but the real culprit was Wade's day at the charity stripe where he canned all of four free throws in 11 attempts ... ugh!
#7 NEW YORK at #2 MIAMI - Heat lead series 3-1; Game #5 is at 7:05 p.m. ET
Let's get down to the proverbial brass tax issues here: The Knicks - a 10 ½-point underdog at last check in this likely elimination game - have been losing man-power throughout this series as PG Baron Davis went down for the count in Game #4 with a gruesome season-ending and potentially career-ending knee injury and keep in mind rookie G Iman Shumpert (knee) is also out for the duration and F Amar'e Stoudemire continues to play with a heavily bandaged left hand.
Did we leave anybody out?
The bottom line than is that the aforementioned Anthony - who drained 15-of-29 FGs and 10-of-14 free throws in Game #4 - must have yet another monster stat game but here he should count on getting shadowed by James who inexplicably was taken off him by Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra for much of the second half in last Sunday's game. If Anthony - for argument's sake - squeezes out only 20 shots here than it's up to perimeter players J.R. Smith and Steve Novak (a combined 4-of-17 FG shooting in Game #4 with Smith missing 12-of-15 shots) to step it up and look for Miami to drape a couple of bodies on Stoudemire when he is positioned in the paint - no easy put-back baskets or clean dunks for him here.
One X-factor for Miami:
The Heat shot a putrid 3-of-19 from beyond the three-point arc in Game #4 and something tells us everything's going right to the rim here and so either Knicks center Tyson Chandler is gonna block a handful-or-so shots here or he's gonna get into quick foul trouble and thus head to the bench and thereby open up the lane for lots of easy hoops by James, Wade and friends.
Note that Chandler (and the Knicks) only blocked one shot in Game #4. Just sayin'!
Here's how the Knicks-Heat series has gone so far (note home teams are in CAPS):
|4-28||MIAMI||- 8.5||New York||MIAMI 100-67|
|4-30||MIAMI||- 9.5||New York||MIAMI 104-94|
|5-3||Miami||- 5||NEW YORK||Miami 87-70|
|5-6||Miami||- 7.5||NEW YORK||NEW YORK 89-87|
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will prove once again to be the champions of the NBA Playoffs as they continue to shine this post-season and remember the playoffs will run straight through the end of June plus there are loads of winners this 2012 Major-League Baseball season too and so sign up today and get it all - Hoops and Baseball every day and nights! 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.
#5 LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS at #4 MEMPHIS - Clippers lead series 3-1; Game #5 is tonight at 9:35 p.m. ET
No surprise that following the Clippers' 101-97 overtime win in Game #4 this past Monday night everyone wanted to talk about LAC point guard Chris Paul who scored eight of his 27 points in the extra session and most of them after the aforementioned Griffin (30 points) had fouled out but don't undervalue all those "little things" that the Clips did in that game to take this three games-to-one series command: Reserve power forward Reggie Evans pulled down eight rebs in 25 minutes - note four of ‘em on the offensive end of the floor - and if we see him snag one more offensive board off a teammate's missed free throw we may scream!
Than there's the fact the Clips only committed nine turnovers in the Game #4 win - the Grizzlies turned it over 16 times - and you cannot make too big of a deal here as the likes of Paul, Mo Williams and Eric Bledsoe have been very secure with "the rock" and that's keeping the Grizz from getting many fast-break opportunities.
Finally - and keep a close eye on this here in Game #5 - Memphis sported a whopping 19 offensive rebounds in Game #4 and you better believe that Del Negro and his staff will be preaching better box-out fundamentals while getting even more physical here.
Hey, Griffin, we'll let you have one or two flops here, but that's it!
If Memphis sends this series back to the left coast, than its point guard Mike Conley (see 25 points and 8 assists in Game #4) must stay committed to his drives to the hoop and hope that his misses will be followed up by his offensive rebounding teammates.
The Grizzlies already let Game #1 get away and couldn't close the deal in that Game #4 OT loss - so forgive Lionel Hollins' crew for not exactly bubbling over with confidence here, okay?
Here's how the Clippers-Grizzlies series has gone so far (note home teams are in CAPS):
|4-29||MEMPHIS||- 5||LA Clippers||LA Clippers 99-98|
|5-2||MEMPHIS||- 6.5||LA Clippers||MEMPHIS 105-98|
|5-5||LA CLIPPERS||- 3||Memphis||LA CLIPPERS 87-86|
|5-7||LA CLIPPERS||- 2||Memphis||LA CLIPPERS 101-97(ot)|
NOTE: More NBA Playoffs goodies all week long here at Jim Sez!