Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, May 7, 2012 at 10:01 AM
Okay, so here's the straight facts so far regarding this year's NBA Playoffs from a strictly wagering standpoint:
The Betting Favorites enter Monday night's action in Salt Lake City and Los Angeles with a collective 16-14 ATS (against the spread) mark for a .533 winning rate - that's about the norm, in case you were wondering - but how about the fact that the one-and-only NBA team with a perfect pointspread mark so far is the San Antonio Spurs who look for the clean sweep (in more ways than one) tonight in Utah.
One other thing: NBA Playoff Home Teams are 14-16 versus the vig so far (a .467 winning percentage) and keep in mind that the road sides covered the Las Vegas price tag in all four games played in Oklahoma City's four-game series sweep against defending champ Dallas but note Sunday's only road cover team in the four games played came late Sunday night when the 2-point road dog Los Angeles Lakers downed Denver 92-88. The Lakers' road win in Game #4 of that set put a capper on the weekend's pro hoop results that featured 5-of-8 games being decided by four points or less - hope you were thoroughly entertained!
We'll go through the still-alive NBA Playoff First-Round series with quick-hitter Jim Sez comments in just a moment but first here's the up-to-the-moment NBA Playoff Pointspread Standings through the post-season's first 30 games:
NBA PLAYOFF POINTSPREAD STANDINGS
(thru Sunday, May 6)
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.
#8 PHILADELPHIA vs. #1 CHICAGO - 76ers lead series 3-1 (Game #5 is Tuesday in Chicago)
You almost have to be sympathetic to the East's top seed as the Bulls are a mere shell of themselves without injured PG Derrick Rose plus no Joakim Noah in Sunday's 89-82 loss at the 3-point favored Sixers. Naturally, the Bulls got a "career game" from Carlos Boozer who poured in 23 points to go along with 11 rebounds in Game #4 but the rest of this team shot a collective 23-of-61 and nobody was able to loosen up Philly from downtown as the Bulls missed 8-of-11 triples. The Sixers are confident and they are loose and head coach Doug Collins has 'em playing with real vim and vigor - okay, so it helped that G Jrue Holliday (20 points in Game 4) didn't hesitate to take and make a couple of big late-game shots.
#7 NEW YORK vs. #2 MIAMI - Heat leads series 3-1 (Game #5 is Wednesday in Miami)
Hats off to the Knicks for overcoming a slew of obstacles - including the much-publicized quick-trigger temper of Amar'e Stoudemire -- to beat the 7 ½-point Heat 89-87 at a noisy Madison Square Garden on Sunday afternoon but what real chance does Mike Woodson's crew of getting this best-of-seven set back to the "Big Apple"? If the Knicks are gonna pull a second shocker in this series than another 41-point game from mega-star Carmelo Anthony would help but the New York bench must come alive in South Beach and not perform the way it did in Game 4 when NYK's reserves shot 7-of-23 from the floor - doesn't J.R. Smith (3-of-15 from the floor in game 4) have any conscience at all?
#6 ORLANO vs. #3 INDIANA - Pacers lead series 3-1 (Game #5 is Tuesday in Indiana)
The Pacers didn't exactly show any real killer instinct in last Saturday's 101-99 overtime non-cover win at 5-point pup Orlando as Frank Vogel's crew surrendered a 19-point fourth-quarter lead but Indy's got enough playmakers to re-steal a game that might have looked lost late and how about the heroics of veteran F David West who scored 26 points overall and was a key cog in the OT session.? If West and the Pacers wish to bang out a playoff series win for the first time since the spring of 2005, than they might wish to double-team "Big Baby" Davis more after he scorched 'em with some wing jumpers in Game 4. No doubt that Indiana has all the answers in dealing with a Dwight Howard-less Magic bunch but we're all gonna think twice before saying "gimme Indiana minus the 10 points" in this upcoming Game 5.
#4 BOSTON vs. #5 ATLANTA - Celtics lead series 3-1 (Game #5 is Tuesday in Atlanta)
Sorry, but we were not exactly shocked that the Celtics whipped the Hawks 101-79 in Sunday night's Game 4 bash in Beantown - how did you really expect Atlanta to play after losing a painful overtime tilt in Game 3 two nights earlier? The C's ballooned their lead to as many as 37 points in Game 4 and now you've got to wonder if there is any life at all on this Hawks team that did see the return of F Al Horford (he missed almost four months with a torn pectoral muscle) and brought back Josh Smith who had missed Game 3 with a knee injury. Maybe the return to Atlanta will help - but it's tough to beat teams that shoot nearly 65 percent in the first half plus sure looks like Boston's Paul Pierce (24 points on 10-of-13 FG shooting) has his personal groove back on even though he tweaked a knee in that win.
#8 UTAH vs. #1 SAN ANTONIO - Spurs lead series 3-0 (Game #4 tonight in Utah)
Maybe this is simply the so-called "perfect storm" of a high-quality and hot team going up against a not-ready-for-prime-time bunch but if NBA Coach of the Year Gregg Popovich is gonna steer his club to the clean sweep tonight than expect Game 3 star Tony Parker (game-high 27 points) must do some damage on his drives to the hoop and maybe - just maybe - it's time for one of the Jazz players to send him sprawling with a hard/clean foul. As it is, Parker (7-of-8 FTs in Game 3) was a big part of San Ant's 50 points-in-the-paint and yet Utah gets very few cheap baskets in these playoffs.
#6 DENVER vs. #3 LOS ANGELES LAKERS -- Lakers lead series 3-1 (Game #5 is Tuesday in Los Angeles)
It sure seemed as if this showdown series out West had an opportunity to be knotted after four games - none of the other series entered the new week with that distinction - but just when you might have thought the Nuggets had sufficient firepower PG Ty Lawson went strangely silent (see 11 points) and nobody could connect from deep as Denver shot just 3-of-18 beyond the arc in that 92-88 home loss. Hey, the Lakers grabbed a stranglehold on this best-of-seven series thanks to role players Steve Blake (10 big points) and reserve F Jordan Hill (12 points and 11 rebs) coming up big and did it really seem like Kobe Bryant took that many shots (25 FG tries) en route to a modest 22-point game? If the Lakers do put a wrap on this set Tuesday evening in Tinseltown, than Bryant figures to go to the hoop hard early and often and try to extinguish Denver before George Karl's club ever has a real fighting chance.
#4 MEMPHIS vs. #5 LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS - Clippers lead series 2-1 (Game #4 is tonight in Los Angeles)
Sorry to state the obvious but if the Clips don't crank it up from the charity stripe the rest of this series, than LA's "other" team won't be around to see Round II. The pitiful 13-of-30 FT game this past Saturday - one of the real brutal showings in league playoff history - almost came back and bit the Clips as Memphis' Rudy Gay drained a pair of late-game triples to grab the all-important cover and here Gay (24 points in Game 3) cannot expect to be a one-man wrecking crew. Hey, what's happened to PG Mike Conley who shot just 3-of-10 from the floor for the Grizzlies last Saturday and appeared out of synch for much of the afternoon?
NOTE: More NBA and MLB News/Notes in the next Jim Sez.