Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, May 16, 2016 at 9:01 AM
IT'S NBA CONFERENCE FINALS TIME!
SO, WE CHECK OUT THE ACTION IN THE WEST BETWEEN THE THUNDER AND THE WARRIORS; AND IT'S RAPTORS-CAVALIERS IN THE EAST
THE BASEBALL REPORT: HERE'S THE "10-OVER-.500" CLUB
Paging the NBA cream of the crop: Okay, so we're (finally) down to the final four teams in this year's NBA Playoffs and all the remaining teams -- that's Oklahoma City, Golden State, Toronto and Cleveland -- won 55-or-more games this past regular season ... nice!
The only plus-55 win team not to make it to these appointed rounds ... the San Antonio Spurs.
Maybe the other teams can send 'em a "wish you were here" postcard, eh?
Now, we'll get things tipped off in the Western and Eastern Conference Finals but first let's do a little "house-keeping":
Take note ...
NBA Playoffs First Round - Betting Favorites went 26-17-1 ATS (against the spread) with one pick 'em game;
NBA Playoffs Second Round - The Betting Favs went 13-8-0 ATS with one pick 'em games;
Overall, NBA Playoff Betting Favorites enter these Conference Finals a collective 39-25-0 ATS with two pick 'em games and so that means chalk sides this post-season have covered at a sizzling .609 winning rate. Whoa!
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 head into the Conference Championships. 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!
On Monday, it's ...
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS - OKLAHOMA CITY at GOLDEN STATE - Game 1; 9 p.m. ET, TNT
Okay, so we didn't get that colossal battle that everyone thought we'd get what with the Spurs exiled in six games by spunky Okie City in the last round but who says this best-of-seven series can't (or won't) be an absolute classic?
In one corner there's the defending NBA champs fresh off a league-record 73-win season and they finally have a healthy MVP Steph Curry on their side (see four games played these playoffs; averaging 24.8 ppg) not to mention sharpshooter mate Klay Thompson (27.2 ppg average this post-season) and do-it-all F Draymond Green (17.7 ppg and 10.4 rpg this post-season). Chuck into the mix the fact F/C Andre Bogut figures to make it back here sometime this series following a hip injury last week and Steve Kerr's crew is loaded and well-rested too.
On the flip side is the Oklahoma City Thunder which sports the hottest/hippest one-two punch in hoops since Shaq and Kobe.
No doubt F Kevin Durant (27.4 ppg this post-season) and G Russell Westbrook (25.5 ppg and 10.8 assists per game) need to be "volume shooters" in this series but we say Billy Donovan's club - a + 280-to-$100 underdog here (you lay a bloated - 340 with G-State) can pull the mega-surprise if centers Enes Kantner and Steven Adams (averaging 21.8 ppg and 17.2 rpg these playoffs) can simply upgrade these numbers by a handful or so in both the points/boards departments.
Here's the regular-season meetings between the Thunder and the Warriors (note all home teams are in CAPS):
|2-6||GOLDEN ST||- 7.5||Okla City||116-108|
|2-27||Golden St.||- 3||OKLA CITY||121-118 (ot)|
|3-3||GOLDEN ST||- 7.5||Okla City||121-106|
On Tuesday, it's ...
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS - TORONTO at CLEVELAND - Game 1; 8:30 p.m. ET, ESPN
The late, great Moses Malone once told media folks his 1983 Philadelphia 76ers were gonna mow down their playoff opponents that year, "Fo' Fo' Fo" as in three consecutive four-game sweeps (okay so those Sixers lost one single playoff game!).
These days the NBA post-season is longer - surprise, surprise - and we would have loved to tell you the Cleveland Cavaliers' super-superstar LeBron James (23.5 ppg this post-season and 8.8 rpg, 7.2 apg) had a "Fo', Fo', Fo'" declaration in terms of the Eastern Conference playoffs beforehand but that would be stretching the truth.
Still, the Cavs have designs on going 12-and-oh SU (straight-up) this post-season up to the NBA Finals with a sweeperoo here against a Toronto team that's played - get this - four playoff games against the Miami Heat since the last time the Cavs suited up for a real competition (see May 8th versus Atlanta).
If James, splendid G Kyrie Irving (team-leading 24.4 ppg this post-season) and Company show any Game 1 rust here, we'd certainly understand but the bottom line is Toronto's played the "max" 14 playoff games so far and it's taken that starry backcourt of DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry to hoist up everything but the popcorn machine to keep the Raptors rollin' (they did combine for 63 points in Sunday's runaway 116-89 triumph over the 4.5-point Heat) ... and no C Jonas Valanciunas (ankle injury) means no shot at all and he's said to be "nowhere close" to a return. Ugh!
Here's the regular-season meetings between the Raptors and the Cavaliers (all home teams are in CAPS):
Now, let's get you the NBA Playoffs Pointspread Breakdown chart with all 16 teams that have participated in this year's post-season (thru Sunday, May 15):
THE BASEBALL REPORT
We're quickly approaching the "quarter-pole" on this here-and-now 2016 Major-League Baseball season and there are four teams that are 10-games-or-more above .500 as we begin the new work week:
In the American League East, there's ...
BALTIMORE (23-13) - No, sir/ma'am, you didn't see this coming as the Orioles lead the AL in home runs (54) and that's no big surprise but how about the Birds pitching to the league's fourth-best ERA (3.45)?
BOSTON (24-14) - Yes, we all realize that DH David "Big Papi" Ortiz (11 HR, 33 RBI) right now is ringing out one of the best-ever "farewell seasons" but lots of young stars have energized this Fenway bunch.
In the AL Central, it's the ...
CHICAGO WHITE SOX (24-14) - Okay, so the Pale Hose are 8-0 in games started by LHP Chris Sale and just 16-14 in all others but Robin Ventura's crew has played with focus despite losing a pair of close games at Yankee Stadium this past weekend.
In the National League Central, it's the ...
CHICAGO CUBS (27-9) - Don't pop those champagne corks just yet even if the Cubbies now are 15-3 inside their division. There's four guys with 25-or-more RBIs and five guys with 30-or-more hits ... yowie!
NOTE: More NBA Playoff coverage in the next Jim Sez.