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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Sunday, May 13, 2018 at 12:00 AM

IT'S FINALLY HERE: NBA WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS MOVES CENTER STAGE AS WARRIORS-ROCKETS COLLIDE IN MONSTER MATCHUP PLUS, WE RE-CAP BOSTON'S BLOWOUT WIN IN GAME 1 OF THE EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS ... JIM HURLEY WINS SIDE & TOTAL IN GAME ONE!

BASEBALL'S 10+ GAMES-OVER-.500 SQUADS

Now, who says that "you can't always get what you want"?

Everybody in hoops-land wanted a Golden State Warriors versus Houston Rockets showdown - and wanted it badly! -- in the NBA's Western Conference Finals and it's finally here and you just know the good folks at TNT want a go-the-distance set. After all, in that last round of playoff action we got a sweep and three separate five-game series wins.

Hey, that's not a whole lot of b-ball "inventory", you know!

So, we've cleared the decks in the West and we're just where everyone thought we be with Warriors-Rockets and before we get you our Jim Sez preview, two quickie questions come to mind:
Number one, are the #1 seed Rockers being "disrespected" in the series price that now has Golden State - 220 / Houston + 180? Hmm ...

Secondly, can the Rockets win this series if they don't win a single road game? We ask that 'cause Golden State has won all six of their home playoff tilts and if truly believe that G-State's not gonna lose at home than the Rockets - obviously -- must hold serve in all four of their home games. Is that reasonable?

WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS PREVIEW
GOLDEN STATE at HOUSTON - Game 1, 9:05 p.m. ET, TNT

Okay, saddle up! The Golden State Warriors are the NBA's most potent offensive team (averaging 113.5 points per game) while the Houston Rockets are right behind 112.4 ppg) and suffice to say the 24-second shot clock won't be in play much in this clash-of-titans series.

Still, don't sleep on the fact that the visiting Warriors - a 1-point underdog here in Game 1 - can come out and squeeze you on "D" when necessary and that's why we reason F Draymond Green is every bit or more important here than scoring stars Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson - a trio that's averaging nearly 74 points a game between 'em - as Green's intangible plays, ability to draw fouls and unique ways to get under opponents' skin will be huge here against a Houston team that sports MVP-to-be James Harden (28.5 ppg in 10 playoff games this spring) and PG Chris Paul (see 40-point game in the close-out victory against Utah in that last round) but needs a uber-dependable third- and fourth-scorer here if this is gonna be survive-and-advance time for head coach Mike D'Antoni's crew.

Gut feel? If the Rockets pull this conference finals surprise, then back-seat TV commercial singer Trevor Ariza (shooting just 38 percent from the floor this post-season) has to be a star in at least two of Houston's wins ... got it?

Here's the 2017-18 regular-season head-to-head matchups between the Warriors and the Rockets (all home teams in CAPS):

DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
10-17Houston+ 9.5GOLDEN ST122-121
1-4Golden St- 4.5HOUSTON124-114
1-20HOUSTON+ 3Golden St116-108

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers continue to smash the books with NBA Playoffs Side & Totals winners like Boston andthe UNDER on Sunday, and we're banging out a bunch of daily MLB winners too, so make sure you cash in big every day right here online or 1-800-323-4453. Get all the NBA Conference Finals winners with the start of the Golden State versus Houston series this evening and make sure you're winning in with the NBA Eastern Conference Finals too as it's Cleveland at Boston in Game 2 on Tuesday night. Just $65 gets the rest of the playoffs, and FREE Baseball during that time.

 

EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS

BOSTON 108- CLEVELAND 83 - Celtics lead series 1-0; Game 2 is Tuesday at 8:35 p.m. ET on ESPN

Somebody get the number of that truck! The Boston Celtics - yes, a + 240 underdog for this conference finals set against the Cleveland Cavaliers (- 285 at the start of this round, down to - 125 while heading into Game 2) - surely meant business with this resounding series-opening home win on Mother's Day afternoon but what were the odds that Boston F Marcus Morris would win his "personal battle" with Cleveland's LeBron James hands down? Morris scored 21 points, snagged 10 rebounds and haunted/harassed James into seven turnovers as the Celtics unbelievably opened up a 21-point first-quarter lead and cruised to the finish line on a day when Cleveland missed 22-of-26 three-point attempts ... egads!'

Now, Boston boss Brad Stevens sure has it right when he says his club must be ready to take on a champion's punch right from the start of Game 2 when James likely won't defer to his less-talented teammates, so expect 10-to-12 FG tries in the first quarter alone by "The King" and then we'll see how things stack up after Boston sported a 36-18 lead after a single quarter in Game 1.
Keep in mind that seven different Celts were a + 14 or better in Game 1 (Jason Tatum's + 27 was ridiculous) and now we'll see if Boston can shoot 51 percent here after draining 43-of-84 FGs in the opener.

Here's the 2018 playoff head-to-head matchups between the Cavaliers and the Celtics (all home teams in CAPS):

DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
5-13BOSTON+ 1Cleveland108-83

 

NBA PLAYOFF POINTSPREAD CHART
Here's the pointspread breakdown this post-season - note we've only included the four teams that are playing in these conference finals:

TEAM WON LOSSPCT
Boston103.769
Houston64.600
Golden St.55.500
Cleveland48.333

Note: NBA Playoff Betting Favorites are 36-27-1 ATS (against the spread) for a .571 winning rate with one Pick 'Em game while heading into Game 1 of Warriors-Rockets tonight.

 

THE BASEBALL REPORT

It's that time of the year again ... we're heading real close to the so-called quarter-pole in this here-and-now 2018 Major-League Baseball season and it's time to hail the clubs playing 10-games-or-better over .500:

BOSTON (28-12) - Not a bad start for a Red Sox team that ranks second in the American League in runs scored (213) and team ERA (3.59) ... true, the Bosox began the year at 17-2 and so they're "only" 11-10 since but they managed to salvage that three-game set at Yankee Stadium last week and OF Mookie Betts is the clear MVP frontrunner right now, thanks to 13 homers and a .435 on-base percentage.

NEW YORK YANKEES (28-12) - The Bombers were once-upon-a-time 9-9 to start off the Aaron Boone Era, so they've gone 19-3 since (a mind-numbing .864 winning rate) and they may have the CY Young frontrunner in RHP Luis Severino (see 0.87 WHIP). Too bad they made their fans sit through a three-plus hour rain delay on Sunday but that's a subject for another day.

HOUSTON (26-16) - Gotta hand it to the defending World Series champions 'cause the Astros have been a bit of an under-the-radar team that ranks a lowly 11th in the junior circuit in home runs (44) and has gotten next-to-nothing from ace LHP Dallas Keuchel (2-5 and 8 HR allowed in 21 innings). The 'Stros still think Red Sox-Yankees gets too much press but maybe that'll serve as season-long motivation for this AL West club.

NOTE: More NBA Conference Finals action in the next Jim Sez ... plus we'll be checking out Tuesday's NBA Lottery!

 

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