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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, April 16, 2018 at 12:49 PM

THE NBA PLAYOFFS ARE OFF-AND-ROLLIN' WITH THE ROCKETS JUST HANGING ON WHILE THE WARRIORS FLEX THEIR MUSCLES IN A PAIR OF GAME 1 WESTERN CONFERENCE TILTS ...
WHAT'S AHEAD ON THE NBA MONDAY NITE CARD? WE PREVIEW HEAT-SIXERS GAME 2

"The Beard" is boss.
"Dub Nation" is happy again.
But "The King" and his on-the-court guys have plenty to worry about ... and we've only just begun the NBA Playoffs.

The approximately two-month chase to land the golden ball - a/k/a, the NBA Championship - began this past weekend and whatta doozy couple of days we had as the playoffs revved up its engines.
Heck, in a 25-hour span from Saturday night through Sunday night there was New Orleans' two-point thriller win at Portland; an overtime win/cover by Boston over a gritty Milwaukee gang; a king-sized loss by the three-time Eastern Conference champion Cleveland Cavaliers; a 36-point performance by a dude nicknamed "PG13" (that's Paul George who didn't even play much late because of some leg/hip tightness); and - last but certainly not least - there was the NBA's Western Conference number one seed Houston Rockets fending off the 11.5-point underdog Minnesota Timberwolves 104-101 behind 44 points from regular-season MVP-to-be James Harden (again, you know 'em as "The Beard").

When the dust finally settled on the first two days/nights of these 2017-18 NBA Playoffs, home teams had won six of the eight games played while Home Betting Favorites managed a 5-3 ATS (against the spread) mark and condolences to anyone that had the Bucks plus the 4 points in that aforementioned 113-107 loss Sunday afternoon in Boston.

The NBA Playoffs are always a major money-making time of the year for Jim Hurley's Network ... So, make sure you cash in big with all our pro hoops winners plus there's load of Major-League Baseball winners too. check it all out right here online or 1-800-323-4453 and keep piling up the profits this spring!


Here's some NBA Playoffs News & Notes ...

As you probably saw for yourself, Houston's above-mentioned three-point win against Minnesota was far from a slam-dunk winner for Mike D'Antoni's crew as the Rockets shot a gruesome 10-of-37 from beyond the arc - Harden drained 7 trifectas but the rest of the cast went just 3-of-25 from downtown and both PG Chris Paul (see six turnovers and overall shoddy play) and Sixth Man star Eric Gordon (just 1-of-7 from three-ball land and some of the shots weren't close) were horrific and that's gotta be a concern when Houston looks to "hold serve" in Wednesday's Game 2 ...

Golden State, meanwhile, marched its way to a walk-in-the-park 113-92 winner against 8-point pup San Antonio in the first playoff game of the past weekend: True, Warriors' veteran sharpshooter Klay Thompson scored 27 points while Kevin Durant banged out a stat line with 24 points / 8 rebounds /7 assists as Golden State - a/k/a, "Dub Nation" - really sparkled while blasting the Spurs even though two-time league MVP Stephen Curry rode the bench while rehabbing a knee injury. Gotta say that the Spurs were lost in space here - even head coach Gregg Popovich claimed his club played like a "deer in the headlights" while digging themselves an 11-point deficit at the end of the first quarter. This just in: San Antonio has not won a road game since Feb. 25th (that's now nine in a row lost away from the Alamo City);

Finally, what did happen to those Cleveland Cavs? LeBron James - who wore "I'm King" stitched onto the back of his sneakers earlier in the week while beating the woeful New York Knicks - was indeed his usual stat-sheet stuffer with 24 points / 12 assists / 10 rebounds in his team's humbling 98-80 home loss against 7.5-point pup Indiana in Game 1 of that Eastern Conference set but that supporting cast was dreadful: Did you know Cleveland's other starting five members combined for only 25 points on 10-of-30 field-goal shooting? Okay, so "The King" didn't fret when asked afterwards whether this Cavs club had something to worry about but let's just say that if Pacers' All-Star Victor Oladipo goes off for another 32-point showing in Game 2 (and note Oladipo was a + 21 for you plus/minus folks) then Cleveland - a nearly 7-to-1 betting fav at the start of this series - could be in boiling hot water real fast.

On this evening's NBA Playoff menu, it's ...

MIAMI at PHILADELPHIA - 8 p.m. ET, TNT
The 76ers' overall win streak is at 17 games ... and that includes the rollicking 130-113 playoff opener this past Saturday night when Philly flicked off a 10-point, late-half deficit and absolutely steamrolled over a Miami squad that didn't know what hit 'em: Philadelphia rocked the home joint even without C Joel Embiid (eye) as smooth-stroking JJ Redick scored 28 points and key reserve G Marco Belinelli popped in 25 points including some off-balance/off-kilter perimeter jumpers that had Miami crying uncle. If the Heat is gonna "get even" here, then C Hassan Whiteside (2 points in 12 minutes) needs to step it up.

Here's the series between the Heat and 76ers so far (home team in CAPS):

DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
4-14PHILADELPHIA - 6Miami130-113


SAN ANTONIO at GOLDEN STATE - approximately 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Okay, so we already touched on the Warriors' runaway win in Game 1 but here's one real key while checking out tonight's tilt in Oakland: The Warriors - namely head coach Steve Kerr - put physical F JaVale McGee on Spurs' star LaMarcus Aldridge to start Game 1 and McGee actually outscored Aldridge 9-to-4 in that opening quarter of play. Expect McGee on 'em again to start off Game 2 but Popovich may opt for more pick-n-rolls at the top of the key to confuse the Golden State ace defender. If Aldridge is hitting his shots while rolling towards the after setting screens, then San Ant will have a shot.

Here's the series between the Spurs and Warriors so far (home team in CAPS):

DATE WINNER  SPREAD LOSER SCORE
4-14GOLDEN ST. - 8San Antonio 113-92

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

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