Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 8:28 PM
Only two games on the card Thursday Night, but two very high profile games as the Miami Heat visit the New York Knicks and the Oklahoma City Thunder play in Dallas. There was already media overkill in Heat/Knicks because the mainstream writers have decided to treat Miami as the “New York of the South” in terms of the NBA. Then, Amare Stoudemire’s freak injury grabbed headlines after Game Two. Dallas-OKC became interesting very quickly when it was clear that the Thunder hadn’t learned anything from last year’s loss to the Mavs!
We’ll start in New York since that’s the first tip…
MIAMI vs. NEW YORK
Game Three Vegas Line: Miami by 5, total of 186.5
Miami leads 2-0
A surprisingly slim line adjustment with the site switch, as Miami was -9.5 or -10 at home the other night, and -5 here. That’s home court advantage of just 2.5 points (-7.5 on a neutral court). Yes, the market has adjusted to the absence of Stoudemire. But, New York has played so much worse with Stoudemire than without this year that you might have expected more respect for the Knicks! Getting Stoudemire’s lack of defense and rebounding off the floor may be exactly what the team needs to be competitive in this series.
GAME TWO SUMMARY
MIAMI 104, NEW YORK 94
Field Goal Pct: New York 49%, Miami 52%
Three-Pointers: New York 5/15, Miami 9/21
Free Throws: New York 13/19, Miami 19/27
Rebounds: New York 40, Miami 33
Turnovers: New York 13, Miami 8
Vegas Line: Miami by 9.5, total of 185.5
Miami is pretty much scoring at will out of their set offense. Tyson Chandler can only do so much, particularly when the Heat have a few different superstar weapons who don’t play center. The Heat are better than 50% for the series even though they aren’t getting many cheap fast break points. There’s no reason to run when you can just set up and get a high percentage shot with a little patience. Miami’s scored 100 and 104 points in games that had 87 and 86 possessions. These aren’t track meets. This is the slowest series in the NBA right now but Miami is still getting to the century mark.
Will Stoudemire’s injury help or hurt the Knicks. The math says it helps. But a lot of players don’t follow math, and they could just throw in the towel assuming the series is over. Given Miami’s excellent form, the series was over before it started. They were clearly coasting down the stretch with a few too many disappointing results. Now that every game matters, the Heat are playing championship caliber ball.
JIM HURLEY will be working closely with his New York sources (the best in the business) to get a read on the Knicks mindset. If they’re up for one last hurrah, then tonight’s going to be the night. If they’ve thrown in the towel, home court doesn’t matter. The Heat stars love playing in the Garden anyway. Miami can name the score if the Knicks aren’t going to bring any fire.
Be sure you check the home page of this website for big play details Thursday afternoon. This could be a VERY big release for us depending on what we hear from our sources.
OKLAHOMA CITY vs. DALLAS
Game Three Vegas Line: Dallas by 3, total of 194.5
Oklahoma City leads 2-0
Big move here from the lines of -7.5 and -6.5 that we saw earlier in the series. Dallas has earned the respect of the market because they took two straight games to the wire. You can have one fluke. But, twice in a row and it becomes a matchup situation. Shawn Marion knows how to disrupt Kevin Durant. And, if you disrupt Durant you have a chance to hang with the Thunder. Hanging with the Thunder at home in losses of 1 and 3 points means you should be a small favorite when playing at home. The total has crept up a little from the first two games after final scoreboard totals showed 197 and 201 points.
GAME TWO SUMMARY
OKLAHOMA CITY 102, DALLAS 99
Field Goal Pct: Dallas 42%, Oklahoma City 45%
Three-Pointers: Dallas 5/23, Oklahoma City 5/16
Free Throws: Dallas 28/32, Oklahoma City 37/39
Rebounds: Dallas 35, Oklahoma City 37
Turnovers: Dallas 13, Oklahoma City 16
Vegas Line: Oklahoma City by 6.5, total of 193.5
You can see that free throws determined the winner here. Oklahoma City was +9 points from the line in a game they only won by three. And, every point they scored in the last four-and-a-half minutes was from the line when they were trying to win the game. The Thunder really does attack the basket with authority, so you can’t blame all of that on officiating. Mark Cuban may have something to say about that though.
Durant has now played two bad games in a row by his standards. He’s still getting to the free throw line and getting on the scoreboard. But, he’s missing a lot of shots and turning the ball over way too often. Last year, Dallas got into Russell Westbrook’s head. Westbrook is playing better this time around, and appears to have made some adjustments. Now it’s Durant who needs to re-think what he’s doing if this team is going to advance easily as serious favorites.
In an evenly matched series, home court often doesn’t end up mattering much. That’s why it’s interesting that this line has moved such a big distance. Maybe this is destined to be a dog series where every game goes right down to the wire. Dallas is a smart team that knows how to get the most from its veterans when the season is on the line. Oklahoma City is disturbingly replaying its “young pups” mistakes from last season. We don’t think the Mavericks can take the series. But, they sure have a chance to make things even more interesting than they already have been.
You can purchase our TNT PARLAY right here at the website with your credit card. Games always go up a few hours before first tip. Don’t forget that baseball goes up early on Wednesdays and Thursdays when there are day games. There are multiple diamond delights set for Thursday afternoon (including Philadelphia at Atlanta and Miami at San Francisco).
If you have any questions about multi-sport packages or seasonal service,call our office at 1-800-323-4453. NETWORK representatives are standing by ready to help. Don’t forget that THE KENTUCKY DERBY goes this Saturday! Be sure to ask about our weekend specials. JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK has more horse racing customers than most places have sports customers. We have special packages for the big race…for the full day at the races at Churchill Downs…and for the full Triple Crown extravaganza that also includes the Preakness and the Belmont.
That wraps up Thursday’s previews. Back with you Friday to preview this TV Tripleheader:
Atlanta at Boston on ESPN
Chicago at Philadelphia on ESPN2
LA Lakers at Denver on ESPN
Wow…big stories there. Rajon Rondo returns for the Celtics as they try to take command of their series with the Hawks. Chicago has to bounce back quick or their 1-8 series with Philadelphia may get away from them quick. You won’t believe the stats from that game when we run the numbers. And, Denver is in a do-or-die situation against the Lakers after falling behind 2-0. The strongest home court in the NBA could push them back to 2-2 by the end of the weekend.
The NOTEBOOK has the numbers you need. JIM HURLEY’S NETWORK HAS THE BIG JUICY WINNERS THAT YOU CRAVE!