Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, May 29, 2018 at 12:00 AM
THE NBA FINALS - GUESS WHAT, IT'S CAVS-WARRIORS ONE MO' TIME AFTER GOLDEN STATE OVERPOWERS NO-PAUL ROCKETS IN GAME 7 ...
PLUS, IT'S OUR BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES: THE BEST/WORST IN RUN DIFFERENTIAL
Just think about it: The Golden State Warriors - owners of two of the last three NBA championships and seemingly headed to yet another crown sometime in these next two weeks - actually outscored the Houston Rockets by 59 points in the second halves of Game 6 / Game 7.
Yes, the cream really did rise to the top in those 115-86 and 101-92 win/covers the last two games of the NBA's Western Conference Finals but gotta believe that a perfect storm of sorts is what carried the "Dubs" past the finish line:
First off, the loss of Rockets' do-everything point guard Chris Paul - the numero uno reason that Houston was able to win Game 4 and Game 5 in the series - truly was felt when Mike D'Antoni's team couldn't hit the broad side of a barn from deep as Paul would have likely hit some mid-range jumpers and maybe even a few of those triple tries;
And, let's be fair, the fact that D'Antoni "shortened" his rotation a couple of games into that seven-game series wound up tiring out Houston in the back-end of the go-the-distance set ... if you watched Golden State's brainy head coach Steve Kerr on the TNT post-game show on Monday night then you heard 'em say he believed the Rockets "ran out of gas". So, should D'Antoni thought "bigger picture" in the early-to-mid stages of the Western Finals?;
Finally, there is no question that Warriors' guard Stephon Curry - who was inconsistent at best in his first handful-plus playoff games after missing the early portion of this post-season - saw his game blossom/develop the longer the series went as Curry was sensational in those overwhelming third quarters as he scored 14 of Golden State's 33 points in the 3Q in Game 4.
So, the Warriors are movin' on to a fourth consecutive NBA Finals showdown against the Cleveland Cavaliers and - as we're quite sure you know by now - Golden State is a historic - 1000 betting favorite (you risk $1000 to win $100 if you wish to wager on the Warriors in this title round) or you could have Cleveland at + 625 ... we'll have an NBA Finals preview in our next edition of Jim Sez but let's turn the clock back again for some deeper looks at Warriors-Rockets Game 7.
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
GOLDEN STATE 101, HOUSTON 92 - Warriors win series 4-3
It's still difficult to believe that the Rockets - even without Mr. Paul - could miss 27 consecutive shots from three-point range in Game 7 and the frigid shooting stats from downtown just boggles the mind ... Trevor Ariza went 0-for-9 from beyond the arc, Eric Gordon was 2-of-12 from deep and James Harden - who needed 29 shots from the field to score a quiet 32 points - nailed just 2-of-13 trifectas.
No wonder D'Antoni looked so perplexed in the post-game interview room 'cause his club shooting 7-of-44 from triple-ville likely never entered into his stream of consciousness prior to Game 7.
Hey, but let's salute the Warriors too:
They trailed by double digits for much of the second quarter and had to overcome a 54-43 halftime deficit - okay, so Kerr was a dunce for allowing Klay Thompson to stay in the game after those uber-quick fouls and he wound up getting a third foul halfway through the first quarter - but Curry's third-quarter surge en route to his stat-sheet stuffing night of 27 points / 9 rebounds / 10 assists and those standstill dead-on accurate makes by Kevin Durant (game-high 34 points on 11-of-21 field-goal makes) simply demoralized the Rockets who had their opportunities to open up said second-quarter leads but failed to do so (reserve Gerald Green's 1-of-7 shooting really hurt the Rockets!).
So, Golden State now has zipped its way into the NBA Finals after winning series in which it was - 1100 versus San Antonio, - 900 versus New Orleans and - 220 over Houston ... and now you know why the Warriors were 1-to-2 betting favorites to win it all prior to the start of these playoffs.
Here's the 2018 playoff head-to-head matchups between the Warriors and the Rockets (all home teams in CAPS):
|5-14||Golden St||+ 1.5||HOUSTON||119-106|
|5-16||HOUSTON||- 2||Golden St||127-105|
|5-20||GOLDEN ST||- 7.5||Houston||126-85|
|5-22||Houston||+ 8||GOLDEN ST||95-92|
|5-24||HOUSTON||+ 1||Golden St||98-94|
|5-26||GOLDEN ST||- 12.5||Houston||115-86|
|5-28||Golden St||- 6||HOUSTON||101-92|
NBA PLAYOFF POINTSPREAD CHART
(thru games of Monday, May 28)
Here's the pointspread breakdown this post-season - we've only included the four teams that played in the conference finals:
Note: NBA Playoff Betting Favorites are now 44-31-1 ATS (against the spread) for a .594 winning rate with two Pick 'Em games while heading into this week's NBA Finals between the Cavaliers vs. the Warriors.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are revved up and ready to go in this year's NBA Finals - we'll keep on smashin' the books with NBA Sides & Totals winners and also 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.
BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES
Here's a post-Memorial Day look at the top - and bottom - teams in Major-League Baseball when it comes to run differential this season:
|Chicago Cubs||+ 77|
|NY Yankees||+ 69|
|Kansas City||- 83|
|Chi. White Sox||- 72|
|San Diego||- 55|
NOTE: More NBA Finals coverage in the next Jim Sez.