Submitted by Jim Hurley on Friday, May 18, 2018 at 12:00 AM
NBA PLAYOFF UPDATE:
LET'S LOOK AHEAD TO SATURDAY'S GAME 3 BASH BETWEEN BOSTON AT CLEVELAND ...
PLUS, BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES WITH KEY NL AND AL WEEKEND SERIES
Say what you will about these here-and-now Boston Celtics, but the fact remains they've been a bit Jekyl-and-Hyde-ish when it comes to home and away play this playoff season. The Celtics are 9-0 both SU (straight-up) and ATS (against the spread) at home this post-season while the green gang is just 1-4 SU and 2-3 versus the vig away in prior playoff series against Milwaukee and Philadelphia.
So, should that "comfort" a desperate Cavaliers team as they return home for Games 3 and 4 this Saturday/Monday?
It shouldn't ... the reality of the situation is that Cleveland's really not been all that competitive while losing the first two games of this best-of-seven set by 25 and 13 points and, truth be told, that 107-94 loss in Game 2 this past Tuesday night came all the while mega-star LeBron James was pouring in a game-high 42 points.
What can we expect from Celtics-Cavaliers here in Game 3? Ahh, plenty to say in a moment but first this quick reminder:
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
BOSTON at CLEVELAND - Celtics lead series 2-0; Game 3 is Saturday at 8:35 p.m. ET, ESPN
So, The King piled up all the big number stats in that Game 2 loss - 42 points / 10 rebounds / 12 assists - but it was Boston's spread-the-wealth mentality that got "mission accomplished" as Jaylen Brown, Terry Rozier and Al Horford combined to score 56 points while key reserve Marcus Smart sported the fill-up-the-box score line of 11 points / 5 rebs / 9 assists / 4 steals in a plus 21 performance for the ages (and don't forget about the emotional lifts Smart provided throughout that comeback victory.
Here, it's the Cavaliers that need an emotional lift from someone other than James who - quite frankly - may have played less ferociously following that shoulder bump in Game 2 but will there be a wake-up call for the likes of J.R. Smith (zero points in 27 minutes in Game 2) and/or fellow guard mate George Hill (3 points in 33 minutes of game action)?
Hey, whether or not you wish to place Boston head coach Brad Stevens in the "genius" role, the fact remains that the Beantowners have had all the answers ... so is Cleveland minus the 6.5-point price a bit too high even considering Boston's road woes this playoff season? Stay tuned.
Here's the 2018 playoff head-to-head matchups between the Cavaliers and the Celtics (all home teams in CAPS):
BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES
Great weekend of Major-League Baseball action on top as we inch through the month of May and here's the top National League and American League series:
In the NL ...
PHILADELPHIA (25-16) at ST. LOUIS (23-18) - Thurs-thru-Sun
Last night's 6-2 win by the Philadelphia Phillies got this four-game set off-and-rollin' as RHP Victor Velasquez threw shutout ball into the seventh inning while 1B Carlos Santana and SS Pedro Florimon whacked home runs and - from the did-you-know department - the Phillies have gone 24-12 in their last 36 games after bumbling out of the starting gate at 1-4 under rookie manager Gabe Kapler ... hmm many Kapler jokes being tossed 'round these days, right? If the Cardinals are gonna gain at least a split in this set at Busch Stadium, then LF Marcell Ozuna better get heated up. The former Miami Marlins star has only three home runs in 160 at-bats.
In the AL ...
CLEVELAND (21-21) at HOUSTON (28-17) - Fri, Sat & Sun Nite
Let's get this straight: The defending World Series champion Astros have been an under-the-radar team so far even though they sport a far-and-away MLB-best + 94 in the runs differential category with CF George Springer's eight dingers tops on the team while 3B Alex Bregman leads the way with a .378 on-base percentage. So, the $64,000 question here is can a Cleveland bullpen that's been downright awful for much of this 2018 season clean up its act in time for this high-profile set? The Tribe's pen has just seven saves in 13 opportunities and recently rehabbed LHP Andrew Miller has yielded nine base hits and nine walks in less than 12 innings ... ouch!
NOTE: Lots more NBA & MLB in the next Jim Sez.
Jim Hurley just missed the Preakness last year when Classic Empire ran second, but collected on 7 of the previous 9 races on the undercard. He cashed Rolling Daily Doubles, Pick 3's and Pick 4's plus 6 Exactas and 4 Trifectas in Races 4-12. Once again his "Network" team will be ready with the Preakness win/exotics and the 7 Under Card Stakes Races.
You can get the Preakness and these 7 races plus bonus action on Friday's 1-2-3-4 Black-Eyed Susan finhers for ONLY $40. CLICK HERE OR...if you only want to Play the Preakness Winner/Exotics you can do so ALONG WITH the winner/exotics for Friday's Black-Eyed Susan...ONLY $20