Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, April 29, 2012 at 11:42 PM
All the openers are in the books, and we jump right into Game Two rematches Monday Night in Miami, Indiana, and Oklahoma City. Traditional handicapping theory says you’re supposed to take the loser of Game One against the spread in Game Two. Oddsmakers know that and will sometimes shade the line against the strategy. Let’s crunch some pointspread numbers and boxscore numbers to set the stage for tonight’s potential bounce backs.
Games are presented in rotation order…
MIAMI vs. NEW YORK
Game Two Vegas Line: Miami by 9.5, total of 184
Miami leads 1-0
No line adjustment here for a bounce back. That tells you oddsmakers aren’t at all afraid of dog money in tonight’s rematch. In fact, by lifting the line up to Miami by 9.5, they seem more afraid of the public loading up on LeBron James again because he played so well Saturday. Note that the total has dropped four points from the series opener because Miami played such great defense against the Knicks in a game with a very slow tempo. There’s plenty of room to rise up from the scoreboard final of 167 and still stay Under tonight’s Over/Under.
GAME ONE SUMMARY
MIAMI 100, NEW YORK 67
Field Goal Pct: New York 36%, Miami 49%
Three-Pointers: New York 7/21, Miami 8/21
Free Throws: New York 10/11, Miami 24/33
Rebounds: New York 41, Miami 38
Turnovers: New York 24, Miami 14
Vegas Line: Miami by 9, total of 188
You probably watched this game Saturday, or at least the first half. There wasn’t much point in watching the whole game unless you were an avid Miami fan! Let’s talk about Miami’s defense here. The Heat held New York to 36% shooting while also forcing 24 turnovers. That should be impossible! That’s something you might see in a 1-16 matchup in the round of 64 in the Big Dance…if the superpower leaves their starters in the whole game. Fantastic defensive performance by the Heat, and extreme sloppiness from the seemingly ill-prepared Knicks.
Can New York bounce back? The math says they should bounce back some just because 33-point losses are so rare. But, they’re not going to compete in this series if they don’t get themselves a lot of open looks on treys. Even turnover is a non-look. It takes ball movement and good shooting to beat the Heat. New York showed neither Saturday, and has trouble doing that with Carmelo Anthony’s ball-stopping tendencies clogging up the offense.
Miami didn’t breathe fire in the final weeks of the regular season. They may have been pacing themselves for the games that matter most. If that’s the case, then this is going to be an easy series that sees the Knicks having trouble getting in range of the number. JIM HURLEY is working closely with his New York-based sources to get a read in the Knicks mindset here. If we hear the right thing, New York could be a big dog play for us. If not, we’ll look elsewhere for a bounce back special.
INDIANA vs. ORLANDO
Game Two Vegas Line: Indiana by 9, total of 187.5
Orlando leads 1-0
Another big adjustment on a total, as the 192 from Game One is down almost five points as we go to press. Both teams played solid defense in the series opener Saturday evening. Neither offense moved the ball or shot with confidence. Indiana is still getting respect as a team side even though they lost outright as big favorites in the opener. Do the Pacers deserve that respect? This isn’t a team that has experience as a favorite in the postseason. They weren’t favored in any games last year in their first round loss to Chicago. They watched the playoffs on TV with the rest of us in the years before that. You can’t draw too many conclusions from just one game. We are definitely considering the possibility that Indiana and Orlando are much closer together than everyone was thinking a few days ago, which means line value would be on the Magic if Vegas doesn’t adjust.
GAME ONE SUMMARY
ORLANDO 81, INDIANA 77
Field Goal Pct: Orlando 40%, Indiana 35%
Three-Pointers: Orlando 9/24, Indiana 4/13
Free Throws: Orlando 8/11, Indiana 13/22
Rebounds: Orlando 45, Indiana 50
Turnovers: Orlando 12, Indiana 10
Vegas Line: Indiana by 9.5, total of 192
Stan Van Gundy teams always try to win from long range. They were +15 points here from behind the arc in a game they only won by four. Neither team did much from the free throw line. Indiana had its chances but kept launching bricks. Orlando really didn’t play all that well for a team scoring such a big upset. No reason to celebrate 81 points, and the team lost rebounds and turnovers. It was Indiana’s horrible shooting that determined the straight up winner. If the nerves don’t go away, we’re going to have another tight ball game. If Indiana settles their stomachs, then we may have a blowout here followed by a close Game Three in Orlando.
OKLAHOMA CITY vs. DALLAS
Game Two Vegas Line: Oklahoma City by 6.5, total of 195
Oklahoma City leads 1-0
This was the best game of opening weekend, and felt more like a conference final than a 2-7 first round showdown. Vegas has dropped the line a point from OKC -7.5 in Game One because this was such a thriller. Heck, Dallas led by seven fairly late and would have won the game if not for a friendly roll on Kevin Durant’s buzzer beater. The total actually jumped up three points because the opener cleared 192 fairly easily.
GAME ONE SUMMARY
OKLAHOMA CITY 99, DALLAS 98
Field Goal Pct: Dallas 44%, Oklahoma City 48%
Three-Pointers: Dallas 10/22, Oklahoma City 6/16
Free Throws: Dallas 20/25, Oklahoma City 17/20
Rebounds: Dallas 42, Oklahoma City 36
Turnovers: Dallas 15, Oklahoma City 14
Vegas Line: Oklahoma City by 7.5, total of 192
Both underdog covers saw the visitors win three-point shooting by a good bit. Dallas was +12 points here from behind the arc in a game they only lost by one. It’s very tough to win a series hoping all the bombs fall. It’s also tough to bounce back from a loss when you won treys that big. Dallas is going to shoot BETTER than 10 of 22? This is why handicapping Game Two rematches is so tricky, and so nuanced. The score by itself doesn’t tell you what you need to know. You have to understand the personnel matchups, the coaching, and some advanced math if you want to pick winners!
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That wraps up Monday’s previews. Back with you Tuesday to preview this Game Two Tripleheader:
Boston at Atlanta on NBA Network
Philadelphia at Chicago on TNT
Denver at LA Lakers on TNT
How will Chicago fare without Derrick Rose? Can the Celtics and Lakers make history again even though neither earned a top two seeding? So many questions every night…be sure you link up with the man who has all the answers…JIM HURLEY!