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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Wednesday, May 3, 2017 at 4:48 PM



It's one of the greatest questions in NBA handicapping history: What do you do after the road underdog pummeled the home favorite in Game 1 of a best-of-seven series?

Some folks will tell you that laying the price with the Game 2 home favorite is close to "automatic" and, of course, fans of the always-popular "zig-zag theory" which states you wager on the team that is coming off a straightup (SU) and ATS (against the spread) loss will tell you to "lay it" here with the home guys in Game 2.

Ahh, but there's another school of thought and that's handicap each playoff game/each playoff series on its own merits - in this case, do you think the Houston Rockets are "satisfied" to have nabbed Game 1 of this Western Conference semifinal round series against the San Antonio Spurs?

Do you think this is merely a "bad matchup" for the slower/older Spurs and so gobbling up any available points with Houston is the way to go here?

No doubt we'll have action for you on Rockets-Spurs in Game 2 of this all-Texas series when you check in with us on game-day afternoon. In fact ...

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers continue to pile up the profits in this year's NBA Playoffs - we indeed smashed the books with Monday's runaway 27-point win by the Houston Rockets -- and we'll continue to rock-n-roll through the post-season all week and all month long. Go online right here or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day and cash in with all the NBA Playoffs and remember there's Major-League Baseball on tap every day too!

On Wednesday, it's ...

TORONTO at CLEVELAND - Cavaliers lead series 1-0; Game 2 at 7 p.m. ET on TNT

If you checked out the "Inside the NBA" show following Monday's doubleheader, then you know it was "unanimous" that panelists Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal and fill-in Baron Davis all believed the Toronto Raptors played "scared" in the series-opening 116-105 loss at "The Q".

Sure, Dwane Casey's club made a little second-quarter run at the defending champion Cavaliers but that was cosmetic stuff as the real highlights of this game included a Kyrie Irving-to-LeBron James pass-and-stuff off the glass and The King pretending to sip a beer after getting fouled and then running towards a sideline vendor.

In other words, the Cavs didn't exactly take Toronto seriously in Game 1 even after that extended rest time following the four-game series sweep against Indiana. James pounded out a 35-point, 10-rebound game while the whirling dervish Irving wound up with 24 points/10 assists and so here you've gotta wonder whether Toronto guards DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry (a combined 39 points on 14-of-29 FG shooting) can get enough supporting cast help to steal (or at least cover) Game 2.

The Barkley/O'Neal/Davis trio has its doubts.

Note all home teams are in CAPS below:

5-1CLEVELAND- 6.5Toronto116-105


HOUSTON at SAN ANTONIO - Rockets lead series 1-0; Game 2 at 9:30 p.m. ET on TNT
Forget the fact that the Game 1 whupping the Rockets put on the Spurs' rumps was the most lopsided playoff loss for San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich since 2001 (see Los Angeles Lakers 111, Spurs 72) and consider that this here-and-now SAS crew had no answers for all those three-pointers chucked up by Houston team that attempted 50 trifectas.

When asked after the game if that might be "too many" three-ball attempts, Rockets' head coach Mike D'Antoni said it wasn't and who's to argue after they canned 22 of them including Trevor Ariza going 5-of-10 from downtown.

Okay, so it was a relatively quiet Game 1 for Rockets' mega-star James Harden (20 points but a whopping 14 assists) but the proverbial bottom line is Houston shared the ball wonderfully and San Antonio always appeared a step too slow not to mention the fact San Antonio suffered off nights from one-two punch featuring Kawhi Leonard (5-of-14 FGs) and F LaMarcus Aldridge (only 4 points in 25 minutes).

Does Popovich pull in the reigns here and milk the 24-second clock so the Rockets don't get off another 87 shots or does San Antonio's perimeter defense simply have to step it up and guard better, thus forcing this more into a "paint" affair? Stay tuned.

5-1Houston+ 6SAN ANT126-99



Okay, so coming straight from the "they're-better-than-you-thought-they'd-be" department we present to you the 2017 Baltimore Orioles. The Las Vegas numbers-posters said at season's start that the "over" wins total for Buck Showalter's team was 81 - and the O's were listed at a hefty 35-to-1 to win it all this year.

We know, we know. There's a long way to go while we're just one month into this current campaign but entering Tuesday's night game in Boston, there were the Orioles sitting atop the rough-and-tumble American League East at 16-8 (only the Washington Nationals are better at 17-9) with a mere + 4 in the runs differential category - yes, Buck's boys are winning lots of close ones - and the usual formula is at work with Baltimore ranking third in the junior circuit in home runs (31) and 11th in team ERA (4.10).

You're right, Jim Palmer and Dave McNally and Mike Flanagan are not "walking through those doors" anytime soon to save a pitching staff that's at least no longer devoid of an ace - see Dylan Bundy who is 4-1 with a 1.82 ERA and 1.03 WHIP following Monday's 5-2 win in Boston - and every night you see the crazy highlight-reel defensive plays made by 3B Manny Machado who already has 5 dingers, 15 RBI and 12 runs scored.

Too early to crown the O's a division winner or even a wild card winner? Of course it is but go ahead and raise your hand if you thought the Birds would be playing .667 ball at any point of this season.

NOTE: More NBA Playoff coverage in the next Jim Sez.

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