Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, April 19, 2018 at 2:51 PM
THE NBA PLAYOFF UPDATE –
WARRIORS AIM TO MAKE
IT A SHORT-AND-SWEET SERIES VS. SPURS
WITH GAME 3 ON THE THURSDAY NITE MENU …
MORE NFL DRAFT GOODIES:
THE TOP RBs/WRs/TEs
IN THIS ROOKIE FIELD
So, what’s the best path for the Golden State Warriors if – indeed – they wish to cop a second straight NBA Championship and a third title in the past four years?
Well, for starters the simple answer is to make this opening-round Western Conference playoff series against the San Antonio Spurs as short as possible as in clean sweep / broom job … what have you!
No doubt the Warriors – up to a 3.5-point betting favorite here for Game 3 in the Alamo City – would like a better start here after trailing the Spurs by six points at halftime of Game 2 – okay, so then the dynamic duo of Kevin Durant (32 points) and Klay Thompson (31 points) went on fire as it really seemed neitjer missed a jump shot from the early part of the third quarter on. No question that Thompson’s broken right thumb – that caused him to miss two weeks in March – is healed and he’s coming off screens and popping up clean swishers and so San Antonio must jam up his lanes and also be quicker to get in Durant’s grill for those top-of-the-key jumpers.
Let’s just say that it behooves the Warriors to win this best-of-seven series in a timely fashion what with a batch of other NBA teams – including old NBA Finals nemesis Cleveland -- fighting hard just to survive this opening playoff round.
Two X-factors to check out for this Thursday night affair in San Ant:
Let’s see if Golden State’s defense “doubles” Spurs’ star F LaMarcus Aldridge who powered up 34 points in 37 minutes in Game 2. Gotta believe Warriors’ head coach Steve Kerr and staff will favor giving help on the weak side and so maybe they can even strip Aldridge in the post;
Finally, Golden State must continue to play solid 3-point defense … or didn’t you notice that San Antonio shot a woeful 4-of-28 from downtown in Game 2?
In other NBA Playoff news …
Both Cleveland and Utah “got even” with Game 2 wins on Wednesday night and while the Cavaliers’ LeBron James was super-special with 46 points / 12 rebounds / 5 assists it was Kyle Korver’s four treys and hustle that really helped Cleveland get over the hump in its 100-97 non-cover win against Indiana.
Meanwhile, the Jazz snagged a 102-95 road win at 3.5-point fav Oklahoma City and who would have given Utah a chance when it trailed by 10 points in the third quarter but Okie City couldn’t hit the side of a barn in the final few minutes and Utah rookie G Donovan Mitchell shook off a foot injury to register a game-high 28 points and how about Ricky Rubio draining five triples? The Jazz is alive and well.
Just note …
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 at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 and keep piling up the profits this spring!
It’s our annual position-by-position look at the top players as we close in on the NFL Draft set for April 26-28. We continue our coverage with the top Running Backs / Wide Receivers / Tight Ends:
SAQUON BARKLEY, RB, Penn State – The drama is building towards next Thursday’s draft and most in-the-know folks believe this six-foot, 235-pounder will be a top three pick though the jury is still out on whether the New York Giants at #2 will snatch ‘em up or whether someone may trade up to get ‘em (San Francisco?). Barkley has elite down-the-field speed and note last year he averaged a haughty 5.9 yards a pop and also caught 54 balls while scoring 21 total TDs in his junior/final season at Happy Valley.
COURTLAND SUTTON, WR, SMU – This lanky 6-foot-3, 218-pounder nabbed 31 touchdown passes the past three years and averaged 16.5 yards per catch and his college career included a lot of whiffs by enemy defensive backs who had trouble catching up and then wrapping up this former Mustangs’ star. Word is that both of the Super Bowl teams from a year ago – Philadelphia and New England – are antsy to trade up into the top six or seven picks in order to land him.
DERRIUS GUICE, RB, LSU – Last season’s 1,251 yards rushing (and 11 TDs) pretty much flew under the radar but the pro scouts know ‘em/love ‘em and so this Bayou Bengals star should go somewhere inside the top 15 picks. Note that Guice is the only SEC running back to register a pair of 250-plus yard rushing games and his vision/balance makes him uber-dangerous behind a great blocking wall.
JAMES WASHINGTON, WR, Oklahoma State – The Okie State Cowboys were one of the premier passing teams in the land last year when this 5-foot-11, 215-pounder was busy catching 74 balls worth 1,549 yards with 13 TDs. Washington may be considered a tad undersized as a pro pass-catcher but he sports great hands and often out-fights enemy DBs for up-for-grab throws. Last year’s Biletnikoff Award winner figures to go somewhere in the top 25.
RONALD JONES II, RB, USC – This three-year starter for the Trojans upped his rushing yardage totals / touchdown totals from his freshman year in 2015 (987 yards and 8 TDs) to his sophomore season (1,082 yards and 12 TDs) to his junior/final season (1,550 yards with 19 TDs) and some NFL talent evaluators think he’s just hitting his peak as a runner who isn’t afraid to operate between the tackles.
DALLAS GOEDERT, TE, South Dakota State – We expect this 6-foot-5, 255-pounder to get nabbed before Penn State TE Mike Gesicki comes off the board but both players figure to slip into Round II. Note that Goedert caught 72 balls worth 1,111 yards with 7 TDs and he caught 92 passes for 1,293 yards with 11 TDs as a junior.
MICHAEL GALLUP, WR, Colorado State – One of our favorite college players the past couple of years, this former CSU Rams’ star snagged 100 passes for 1,413 yards and 7 TDs last season and the combo of strong/sure hands and great agility makes him a darling pick somewhere in the #20-thru-30 range.
NOTE: More NBA Playoff analysis in the next Jim Sez.