Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, April 25, 2016 at 9:19 AM
NBA PLAYOFF UPDATE - CELTICS STEAL THE WEEKEND HEADLINES WITH A PAIR OF HOME WINS
THE NFL DRAFT REPORT: IT'S TIME TO CHECK OUT THE TOP LINEBACKERS
There's no doubt this year's NBA Playoffs - at least so far - haven't displayed a whole bunch of real-life drama and so maybe it's only appropriate that the "hottest" series around as we enter the new work week just so happens to involve the league's most decorated team.
Hold on, you say, the Boston Celtics may own a league-best 17 NBA championships - just consider this franchise is a rather ridiculous 17-4 SU (straight-up) all-time in NBA Finals history! - but it's not as if this 2015-16 version resembles those Bill Russell teams back in the 1950s and 1960s.
Still, the ongoing Atlanta Hawks versus Boston Celtics best-of-seven set is all knotted up at two games apiece while heading into Tuesday's action down south and there's been plenty of drama here including Sunday night's wild 104-95 overtime win by the 1-point home underdog Celtics.
Nothing like scoring 45 points and losing (see Atlanta's Paul Millsaps who also pulled down 13 rebounds in the Game 4 OT loss) or getting 20 big points from key reserve Marcus Smart of the C's ... and winning.
Here's how the first four games of this Hawks-Celtics series has gone as we head into Tuesday's Game 5 (note all home teams below are in CAPS):
|#4||BOSTON||+ 1||Atlanta||104-95 (ot)|
In other NBA Playoff Notes ...
Sure looks like injuries - whether it be ankle or knee injuries - to Golden State megastar G Stephen Curry is gonna be the story for much of this post-season as his 19 minutes played in Sunday's 121-94 blowout win against apathetic Houston produced just six Curry points and lots of grimaces by the soon-to-be- two-time MVP. As to your question if G-State can repeat if Curry's in and out of the lineup this spring, we say the answer is no! ...
And while Cleveland and San Antonio were four-game broom-job sweepers against Detroit and Memphis, respectively, in first-round action we need a moment to salute the Cavaliers Kyrie Irving (31 points and 5 assists in Sunday's hang-on-for-dear-life 100-98 non-cover win at the Pistons in Game 4) and the Spurs' LaMarcus Aldridge (15 points and 10 rebs in the 116-95 clincher against the Grizzlies) who often get lost in the shuffle with the other stars. Aldridge - who could be San Ant's make-or-break player in the expected next round duel versus Oklahoma City - just has to stay out of foul trouble as that's his real "kryptonite".
NBA PLAYOFFS POINTSPREAD CHART
(thru games of Sunday, April 24)
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers/Bloggers are all geared up for these NBA Playoffs that continue to roll on this last week in April - so 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. Remember that it's not too late to sign up now for the entire NBA Playoffs plus there's Major-League Baseball on tap every day!
THE NFL DRAFT REPORT
Our extensive Jim Sez NFL Draft coverage rolls on with a look at the top incoming Linebackers (inside and out):
MYLES JACK, OLB, UCLA - Kayoed last year with a September season-ending knee injury, this 6-foot-1, 245-pound do-it-all linebacker has natural ball skills and extremely quick/athletic feet but critics say he's not nearly physical enough and therefore should not be a top 10 pick. Hey, what do they know as Jack likely gets fitted for a "uni" with the Jacksonville Jaguars at #5.
LEONARD FLOYD, OLB, Georgia - It really depends on whom you ask as to where this 6-foot-6, 245-pounder goes 'cause his "fans" say he should be a top 10 pick and his critics believe he's closer to the #20-thru-#25 range ... edge rusher has a quick first step but there's major doubters as to his tackling techniques. Our best guess-estimate is that Floyd goes closer to #10 than #20 ... it's the Chicago Bears with pick #11.
REGGIE RAGLAND, ILB, Alabama - A real heart-and-soul leader for last year's national champions, the 6-foot-1, 248-pounder Ragland ranked second on last year's Tide in total tackles (95) and always seems to be around the football. Look for 'em to go a bit higher than the usual forecasts that have Ragland going in the early 20s. We'll pencil 'em in at #17 with the Atlanta Falcons.
DARRON LEE, OLB, Ohio State - This Ohio native actually played quarterback in high school (he's now listed at 6-foot-1, 232 pounds) and started his college career as a safety, so you know he's highly athletic but flip side says he has a lot to learn at the position and isn't strong enough. Lee may slide down into the 20s; we'll say he goes #21 to Washington.
KAMALEI CORREA, OLB, Boise State - Solidly built 6-foot-3, 244-pounder who played lots of DE in college and most "experts" believe he's a far better pass rusher than he is in pass coverage. Probable second-round pick with Cleveland or Tampa Bay allegedly interested.
SU'A CRAVENS, OLB, USC - Sinewy 6-foot-1, 225-pounder who is adept at recognizing pass routes and really played more like a hybrid LB/DB for much of his final year with the Trojans. Let's slot Cravens into middle of Round II with Detroit.
NOTE: Our next - and final - NFL Draft position-by-position look is the Quarterbacks and then we'll get you our Jim Sez NFL Mock Draft just in time for Thursday's big draft day.