Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, May 2, 2012 at 9:48 AM
You know how folks like to say that NBA games "all come down to the last two minutes"- well who would have thought that last Sunday night when the Memphis Grizzlies were waltzing around with a 27-point lead with 1:34 remaining in the third quarter?
No doubt plenty of TV sets were turned off than and there but alas the Los Angels Clippers- a 5-point underdog in Game #1 and now a 6-point pup here tonight in Game #2- rose from the dead in that scintillating 99-98 win and so the here-and-now 2012 NBA Playoffs showed us that no lead is safe ... and now you wonder if the Grizz can "get even" here at home tonight.
Heck, it's not as if they won't have a collective hangover!
In all there are three NBA Playoff games on the docket on this first Wednesday in May and we'll have short-and-sweet analyses of all of 'em right here in today's mid-week edition of Jim Sez plus we'll bring back from NFL Draft Winners and Losers too but first this key reminder:
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.
THE NBA PLAYOFFS
Tonight in the Eastern Conference, it's ...
#3 INDIANA at #6 ORLANDO- Series tied 1-1
The Pacers- quite simply- claimed they didn't play with enough energy in their 81-77 Game #1 loss last Saturday night and so they banged the boards nicely in Game #2 (they grabbed 12 of the first 13 rebs in the third quarter and sported a 26-13 board advantage in the second half of the 93-78 win/cover in Game #2 this past Monday) and now Frank Vogel's club wants to match that energy level here with the series shifting to Orlando.
Memo to the Dwight Howard-less Magic: You better get some "gimme baskets" here because getting outscored 22-2 in fast-break points (see Game #2) is a sure sign of doom. No question that Orlando often lives and dies from three-point land where Ryan Anderson was the NBA's king this past lockout-shortened season but his 3-of-8 triple shooting in Game #2 wasn't nearly enough to allow Stan Van Gundy's club the right to hang in there and so Anderson and others must fare better than 8-of-25 overall from beyond the arc and those quick-hitter points must come off some steals and turnovers.
One thing to watch here: Indiana shot only 2-of-20 from outside the arc in that tilt the other night and so don't be surprised if Danny Granger and mates cut back on the three-ball here and go straight to the hoop.
Tonight in the Western Conference, it's ...
#8 UTAH at #1 SAN ANTONIO- Spurs lead series 1-0
Okay, so much was made afterwards of the fact that San Antonio finally won a series opener as the Spurs' never-in-doubt 106-91 triumph over 11 ½-point dog Utah in Sunday's Game #1 tilt marked the first time in four years that San Ant won a playoff opener but looking ahead now to this uber-important Game #2 in the Alamo City, you have to wonder if Gregg Popovich's crew will have similar success in pick-n-roll plays and when dishing outside for three-point shots.
The Spurs drained only 6-of-17 trifectas in Game #1 but banged home three in the final two minutes of the third quarter and for all intents and purposes put that game in the fridge right than and there.
No doubt you must expect the two nights of rest between games here to benefit the older Spurs crew (San Antonio is listed right now as an 11 ½-point fav once again) plus the holy trinity of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and Manu Ginolbili should do even better than combine for 52 points here but the real key is whether those bench guys like Stephen Jackson and Matt Bonner (they combined for 23 off-the-bench points in Game #1) can be effective.
One word of advice to the Jazz: Make sure F Gordon Hayward gets to the hoop plenty as he canned all 12 of his FTs in the playoff opener and probably has to be a 25-plus type point scorer here for Utah to even think about getting the split in Texas.
#5 LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS at #4 MEMPHIS- Clippers lead series 1-0
Let's get one thing straight regarding the aforementioned Clips comeback win in Game #1 of this best-of-seven series:
It had to be the proverbial "perfect storm" for Vinny Del Negro's club and so that meant three-point corner shooter Nick Young had to drill all three of those trifectas during a wild 26-1 fourth-quarter run and power forward Reggie Evans (13 rebounds and 7 points plus some great defense) had to be a major impact star in his 21 minutes of action and the Grizzlies also had to fall asleep at the wheel as they attempted too many perimeter jumpers after falling in love with the three (hey, Memphis did connect on 11-of-16 triple tries).
Toss into the mix the fact that Memphis played for one shot late- the TNT gang really got on Lionel Hollins and his squad for that faulty strategy and especially when Rudy Gay's contested jumper missed and so here's Memphis hoping a couple of days/nights to digest that disaster can have 'em in the right mindset set but no doubt Memphis needs to fare better with in-the-paint points (lost that stat category 54-to-38) and so lefty Zack Randolph (3-of-13 FG shooting in Game #1) better get his act in gear here.
MORE POST-NFL DRAFT TIDBITS
Let's take a few minutes and hand out a "Winner" and "Loser" tag from last week/weekend's NFL Draft:
WINNER- Indianapolis Colts
Okay, so before you pass any wise-guy comments here regarding a Colts club that had the first pick in the whole 2012 Draft and snagged Stanford QB Andrew Luck, keep in mind that Indy had 10 picks overall and we contend that three of 'em- Luck, TE Coby Fleener (also of Stanford) and TE Dwayne Allen (Clemson) all are legit first-round talents even if the latter two pass-catchers were nabbed in Rounds II and III, respectively.
Throw in the fact Indianapolis- which is in the process of turning over its entire organization these days- grabbed an impact player in WR/KR T.Y. Hilton (Florida International) and bagged a solid RB in Miss State's Vick Ballard. A very good haul- plus Mr. Irrelevant too in QB Chandler Harnish of Northern Illinois- and we'd say that was a very good start for new GM Ryan Grigson.
LOSER- Seattle Seahawks
Yes, everyone's been bashing that first-round choice of OLB Bruce Irvin (West Virginia) but we have bigger issues with the fact this NFC West crew didn't reach out for a running back prior to that 106th overall draft pick of Utah State's Robert Turbin and shouldn't the Seahawks have gone after a CB or RB in Round II when instead Pete Carroll's club selected Utah State's OLB Bobby Wagner?
Either the scouting for Seattle uncovered a couple of real gems in the first two rounds or the 'Hawks merely blew it when they could have had folks such as South Carolina OLB Melvin Ingram and/or Boise State RB Doug Martin. Hmmm.