Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, May 26, 2016 at 10:57 AM
THE NBA CONFERENCE FINALS:
CAN THE WARRIORS STAY ALIVE OR IS THE "FAT LADY" ABOUT TO START SINGING? PLUS CLEVELAND'S RESOUNDING GAME 5 WIN/COVER
BASEBALL'S GOOD, BAD & UGLY
Might it be true ... the Golden State Warriors' record-setting season could be over even before we get to Memorial Day Weekend?
We know, perish the thought, Warrior Nation, but that's the deal heading into this evening's Game 5 bash of the NBA Western Conference Finals between the Oklahoma City Thunder - just maybe the most athletic NBA team we've eyeballed since the "Showtime" Los Angeles Lakers (circa early-to-mid 1980s) - and the defending league champion Warriors.
No doubt OKC's three games-to-one series lead has stunned even the sport's most veteran scribes/broadcasters/experts but it's been that "length" and that "speed" and that "hunger" that's carried Billy Donovan's crew ... now can they seal the deal on the left coast tonight?
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
OKLAHOMA CITY at GOLDEN STATE - Thunder leads series 3-1; Game 6 at 9 p.m. ET, TNT
Can you imagine? The Golden State Warriors won an NBA regular-season record 73 games this year ... now they just need one win to stay alive in this post-season.
You can come up with a myriad of reasons as to why G-State is fighting for its life here - note the smart guys/gals in Las Vegas have 'em a 7.5-point betting favorite for this clash - but one that's rather elementary is that Steve Kerr's club cannot handle that famed one-two punch of Kevin Durrant and Russell Westbrook (although Westbrook surely deserves the top billing these days) as that duo teamed up for 62 points in Tuesday's 118-94 beat-down win against Golden State and the Thunder even received a career game from Andre Roberson (17 points, 12 rebounds in Game 4) and any hint here of Durant/Westbrook going for plus-55 points and a "third party" such as Roberson lending another big mitt could mean a fourth outright upset here (see chart below).
No more excuses, G-State. We don't wanna hear about Stephen Curry's foot/ankle/knee problems or the fact that Draymond Green has played timidly since that kick-to-the-jewels incident with OKC's Stephen Adams.
Do you have any heart, Warriors? Any grit? Let's see it or else your "dynasty" will be dashed.
Here's how this playoff series has gone so far between the Thunder and the Warriors (all home teams are in CAPS below):
|5-16||Okla City||+ 7.5||GOLDEN ST||108-102|
|5-18||GOLDEN ST||- 9||Okla City||118-91|
|5-22||OKLA CITY||+ 2.5||Golden St.||133-105|
|5-24||OKLA CITY||+ 2||Golden St.||118-94|
Now, let's get you the up-to-date NBA Playoffs Pointspread Breakdown chart with the still-alive teams listed below (thru games of Wednesday, May 25th):
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!
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
CLEVELAND 116, TORONTO 78 - Cavaliers lead series 3-2; Game 6 is Friday at 8:30 p.m. on ESPN
All we need to say about the Cavaliers' laugher win last night was we've never seen more extended "garbage time" in our lives. The 65-34 halftime lead - yes, a 31-point bulge - is the biggest halftime advantage for any team in conference finals history and when ESPN's chatty announcing team of Mike Breen, Jeff Van Gundy and Mark Jackson are discussing the "greatest TV shows in history" - and invoking the name of Redd Foxx -- with time still left on the third quarter clock than you know this one was a mismatch.
Hats off to Kevin Love for game-high 25 points and same for Cavs' mate LeBron James (see 23 points, 8 assists and 6 rebounds in 32 minutes) but can you believe afterwards Toronto head coach Dwane Casey told assembled media folks his team had to "tweak some things" before stepping onto the floor for Game 6.
Here's how this playoff series has gone so far between the Raptors and the Cavaliers (home teams are in CAPS below):
THE BASEBALL REPORT
We're closing in on the Memorial Day Weekend and that means it's time to make some public declarations about some teams/players here in this 2015 season - we'll call it The Good, The Bad and The Ugly:
Is it possible that New York Mets' LHP Steven Matz - who starred in yesterday's Jim Hurley Network matinee winner against Washington with eight shutout innings in a 2-0 victory - could be this year's National League Rookie of the Year and Cy Young winner? Don't laugh as Matz (7-1) has won his last seven consecutive starts after getting ripped by Miami back on April 11th and please note the classy Long Island southpaw has yielded only six runs in his last 48 innings of work.
HOUSTON (19-28) was supposed to be the vogue pick to win the World Series this autumn but it's sure looking as if the American League West basement dwellers - 9.5 games back of division-leading Seattle - will miss the post-season party. Okay, there's still four months remaining in this '16 season and there's plenty of 'Stro talent headlined by All-Star 2B Jose Altuve but the bottom line is Houston ranks 9th in the league in runs scored (185), dead-last in team batting average (.228) and a rotten 13th in team ERA (4.45) and it doesn't help that last year's Cy Young winner LHP Dallas Keuchel (2-6, 5.92 ERA).
You may want to wear your shades when catching a Minnesota Twins night game this year - that is so it's better to cover your eyes. The Twins are a brutal 5-20 under the lights this year and, if you thought that stat was ugly, how about the fact the Atlanta Braves are 3-13 in day games? Ugh.
NOTE: More NBA Playoffs News & Notes in the next Jim Sez and stay tuned for MLB, NFL and NCAA Football goodies too in the days ahead!