Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, April 15, 2016 at 10:02 AM
THE NBA PLAYOFF REPORT - THE POST-SEASON HAS ARRIVED AND WE GET ALL REVVED UP BEGINNING WITH SATURDAY'S FOUR SERIES OPENERS
Okay, so here' a quick primer when it comes to the 2016 NBA Playoffs:
The defending champion Golden State Warriors are the heavy-duty betting favorites to repeat (see our chart below) following that electric and record-breaking 73-win regular season;
In all, five teams that won 55-or-more regular-season games - that's Cleveland and Toronto in the Eastern Conference; Golden State, San Antonio and Oklahoma City in the Western Conference - are pretty much considered the only teams that can win this year's crown, so if anyone else can pull off the feat it qualifies as an upset;
And, lastly, we soon will discover if some of the "new blood" in the league will make some noise here in this post-season with the likes of Charlotte and Boston drawing lots of praise in the East - can either make it to the conference finals or even beyond?
Last year the NBA post-season didn't end till June 16th and so, buckle up your seat belt and get ready for the long and thrilling ride … and get ready for loads of winners with Jim Hurley - America's #1 Handicapper!
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers/Bloggers are all geared up for the NBA Playoffs - just go online right here or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day during these NBA Playoffs and we'll send you straight into the winner's circle. Or remember that you can sign up for the whole NBA Playoffs today - check it out online here or at our toll-free telephone # now! Plus, remember there's Major-League Baseball on tap every day and so the time is just right to cash in big this spring as the NBA Playoffs and Baseball pounds out major profits for you!
Now, here's the up-to-the-minute NBA Odds to Win it All this year (all based on $100 per-play wagers):
|Golden State||- 150|
|San Antonio||+ 400|
|Oklahoma City||+ 1200|
|LA Clippers||+ 3000|
THE NBA PLAYOFFS
Now let's take a peek at the Four (4) NBA Playoff first-round series that begin Saturday and note below we've included in chart form all regular-season meetings below:
#7 INDIANA (45-37) vs. #2 TORONTO (56-26) - 12:35 p.m. ET, ESPN
Plenty of in-the-know folks such as ABC/ESPN game analyst Jeff Van Gundy believes this one's gonna be a knock-'em-down, drag-'em-out series fight even though the favored Raptors won three-of-four head-to-head matchups and copped 11 more regular-season wins. Could the gritty Pacers handcuff either of the Raptors' star guards DeMar DeRozan (23.5 ppg) or Kyle Lowry (39 percent three-point shooter) here?
Indiana's Paul George (23.1 ppg) needs help from sidekick Monta Ellis who seems a step slow these days.
(Note all home teams below in charts are in CAPS):
#5 BOSTON (48-34) at #4 ATLANTA (48-34) - 7:05 p.m. ET, ESPN
On paper, this might well be the series that gives us the best shot at a go-the-distance/seven-game set and so the $64,000 question will be who's more apt to win two road games?
The Celtics - who concluded regular-season play with a come-back-from-26-point deficit to beat Miami the other night - have plenty of firepower led by lefty G Isaiah Thomas (22.2 ppg) but the key for Brad Stevens' squad is ramping up the half-court defense against F Paul Millsap and red-hot G Jeff Teague.
#8 HOUSTON (41-41) at #1 GOLDEN STATE (73-9) - 3:35 p.m. ET, ABC
You could tell by Steve Kerr's post-game comments following that record-breaking 73rd win the other night that the Warriors' boss-man was not thrilled to be opening on Saturday and not Sunday here … think the NBA folks who devise the playoff sked give a hoot!
Kerr's club might well be a tad emotionally drained but the coach gave 'em Thursday off (save for film study) and gotta believe G Steph Curry (league-leading 30.1 ppg) and mates will "have their legs" here while we remind you the Rockets ranked fourth in per-game scoring this year (106.5 ppg) and lefty James Harden (29.0 ppg) could make things uncomfortable at times if he gets on one of his hot streaks. Still, if this series goes six games the Rockets will have shown us something.
|10-30||Golden St.||- 1||HOUSTON||112-92|
|12-31||Golden St.||+ 3.5||HOUSTON||114-110|
|2-9||GOLDEN ST.||- 14||Houston||123-110|
#6 DALLAS (42-40) at #3 OKLAHOMA CITY (55-27) - 9:35 p.m. ET, ESPN
The OKC Thunder won all four regular-season games in this Western Conference rivalry but - as you see from the chart - two of those games were decided by only three points and so don't totally dismiss the heavy-underdog Mavs so quickly here.
Still, with Oklahoma City's tag-team tandem of Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook combining for nearly 52 points a game the big question is how does Dallas make someone else beat 'em here?
Gut feeling is Durant/Westbrook will get off their 60-or-so FG attempts between 'em per game and so either Dallas' Dirk Nowitzki (18.3 pgg) needs to turn back the clock or the Mavs need all hands on deck just to make this a longer-than-5-game series.
|11-22||OKLA CITY||- 5.5||Dallas||117-114|
|1-13||OKLA CITY||- 12.5||Dallas||108-89|
|1-22||Okla City||- 6.5||DALLAS||109-106|
|2-24||Okla City||- 5.5||DALLAS||116-103|
NOTE: Catch more NBA Playoff Series Previews in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez.