Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at 11:18 AM
THE NBA PLAYOFFS: IS IT FINALLY TIME TO SAY BYE-BYE TO TIM DUNCAN AND THE SPURS?
THE BASEBALL UPDATE: THREE CHEERS FOR THE PHILLIES
Just for the record, the San Antonio Spurs - one of the model franchises at this or any time in professional sports history - own five NBA titles (see 1999, 2003, '05, '07 and 2014) but in order for them to add another trophy to the case, the Spurs must win Game 6 and Game 7 of this Western Conference Semifinal round series, then beat defending champ Golden State and then win in the NBA Finals.
Not happening, you say?
Well, let's face it the odds appear weighted against another San Antonio championship right now although the all-knowing Las Vegas oddsmakers have placed the Spurs as a 1.5-point betting favorite for tonight's Game 6 clash with the Oklahoma City Thunder and if Gregg Popovich's crew can survive tonight's game then you'd think they would be right around a 6- or 6.5-point favorite for Game 7 in the Alamo City come Saturday.
The Spurs have lots of reasons to bellyache regarding the outcomes of both Game 2 and Game 5 - both home losses for Pop's guys - but all those "zebra" mess-ups must be placed in the proverbial rear-view mirror right now and the five-time champs have to focus ... as in focus on slowing down Oklahoma City G Russell Westbrook who piled up 35 points, 11 rebounds and 9 assists in that harrowing 95-91 upset win in Game 5 two nights ago.
Westbrook took over with Oklahoma City down 88-82 with just four minutes remaining and - even when the Spurs tried to foul him - he still blasted his way to the hoop, scored and got the "and one" that finished off San Ant once and for all in that tilt.
The Spurs also need to focus on hitting a late-game clutch shot - something the likes of LaMarcus Aldridge (see 6-of-21 from the field in Game 5) and G Tony Parker (4-of-12 FG shooting including a terrible off-the-mark miss late) failed to do in Game 5.
And as far as the above-headlined Tim Duncan goes, well, folks he has aged a million years right before our eyes in this series with just one made field goal in some 28 minutes of game action the other night and save for that neat blocked shot in the final few minutes, Duncan was MIA and all too slow to guard anyone on the Thunder. Now or never, indeed.
The San Antonio Spurs have been one of the great - if underappreciated - organizations in our lifetime but unless they get slow down Westbrook, shoot it better than 40.2 percent from the field (35-of-87 in Game 5) and get something from Duncan, this ship could sink tonight. And the Spurs' so-called "window" of winning any more titles in the foreseeable future could be gonzo too.
Here's how this playoff series has gone so far between the Spurs and the Thunder (home teams are in CAPS):
|4-30||SAN ANTONIO||- 6.5||Okla City||124-92|
|5-2||Okla City||+ 7||SAN ANTONIO||98-97|
|5-6||San Antonio||- 2.5||OKLA CITY||100-96|
|5-8||OKLA CITY||- 2||San Antonio||111-97|
|5-10||Okla City||+ 7||SAN ANTONIO||95-91|
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have been bashing the books right from the start of this year's NBA Playoffs and nothing's gonna change here as we dig deeper and deeper into Round II. We'll continue to rock-n-roll our way through the NBA post-season – and you can purchase Jim's NBA Post Season program right here www.VegasSportsMasters.com or call 1-888-777-4155 each/every day and be sure that we'll send you straight into the winner's circle.
Plus, there's Winning Major-League Baseball on tap every day in either Jim's Hit and Run Baseball Club or the Highly Rated Blue Ribbon Baseball Club… Don't miss another opportunity to cash in big RIGHT NOW!
THE BASEBALL UPDATE
Want to know who's really given bettors a "bang for their buck" so far this 2016 Major-League Baseball season? Introducing the Philadelphia Phillies, that's who!
The Phillies - 19-14 upon entering last night's game in Atlanta - already have far exceeded expectations as you might remember this National League East crew have been piling up the greenbacks and here's a week-by-week look at the goodies based on $100 per-play wagers:
|WEEK||PROFIT OR LOSS|
|April 4-10||- 30|
|April 11-17||+ 110|
|April 18-24||+ 88|
|April 25-May 1||+ 901|
|May 2-8||- 22|
|May 9-||+ 105|
Add it all up and thru Tuesday night's action the Phillies are a plus $1,152 - not too shabby especially when you consider most folks had the Phils buried somewhere near the bottom of the division (sorry, that's reserved for the hapless Atlanta Braves!).
Consider that prior to the start of the season the Phillies had an over/under price of 66.5 wins which means a 67-95 record would still net you a winner on the "over" and so now Philadelphia just has to go 48-81 to clinch the bet ... now you don't think these first five-plus weeks has just been some big tease now, do you?
Among other things, the Phillies are an electric 12-3 in one-run games and a perfect 3-0 in extra-inning games and so - despite some real no-names in the back of the bullpen - the Phils have managed to be clutch in late-and-close affairs and contrast that with the likes of the Toronto Blue Jays (3-7 in one-run games) and the Texas Rangers (0-4 in extra-inning tilts) and you see lots going right with a Phillies team that wasn't supposed to even be a blip on the screen this season.
NOTE: More NBA Playoff coverage in the next Jim Sez plus there's MLB News/Notes too!