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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, April 13, 2019 at 12:00 AM

HERE'S THE NBA PLAYOFFS - SUNDAY'S GAMES

The first round of the NBA Playoffs is just startin' this April weekend in Boston, in Milwaukee, in Portland and in Houston ... there are Game #1s all around the Sunday schedule.

Our quick-hitter previews along with "Series Price" and regular-season "game-by-game" notes are also included right below but first this key reminder ....

Editor's Note -- Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are revving things up with this year's NBA Playoffs - as we said, they tip off Saturday / Sunday this weekend with all eight post-season series on tap and make sure you're cashin' all playoffs long plus get all the daily Major-League Baseball action too here at 1-800-323-4453.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

#5 INDIANA (48-34) at #4 BOSTON (49-33) - 1 p.m. ET, TNT
Take note that the Celtics' easy-as-pie win in Indiana earlier this month is what clinched home court for this playoff round ... and it made Boston a perfect 3-and-oh SU (straight-up) and 2-1 ATS (against the spread) versus the Pacers ever since Indy was forced to play without injured star G Victor Oladipo. In all, the Pacers were a mere .500 team without Oladipo - that's 23-23 SU - and oddsmakers now give Nate McMillan's club only a puncher's shot here even though the C's will be going without defensive demon Marcus Smart who is out for up to six weeks with an oblique injury. True, this has not been a vintage Celtics season with PG Kyrie Irving toting way-too-much drama to the scene - remember they played great without 'em in last year's playoffs - but maybe head coach Brad Stevens can have 'em on the proverbial same page here. If Indy can swipe one of the first two games in Beantown, it'll be interesting to see how the moody Irving reacts.
Series Price: Boston - 540 / Indiana + 395

Here's the game-by-game history this season between the Pacers and the Celtics. Note home teams in CAPS below:

DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
11-3INDIANA+ 3.5Boston102-101
1-9BOSTON- 7Indiana135-108
3-29BOSTON- 7Indiana114-112
4-5BostonPKINDIANA117-97

 

#8 DETROIT (41-41) at #1 MILWAUKEE (60-22) - 7 p.m. ET, TNT
Let's see ... the Bucks own the numero uno seed in the East, they sport an uber-serious MVP candidate in Giannis Antetokounmpo (27.7 ppg) and they just swept the .500 Pistons this past 2018-19 season while going 3-0-1 ATS. So, what does Mike Budenholzer's squad really have to worry about? Well, for one thing the heavy-duty underdog Pistons - who rank seventh in the NBA in defensive points per game (107.3) -- have a veritable monster on the back line with 7-footer Andre Drummond (17.3 ppg / best-in-the-league 15.6 rpg) plus the Motowners have five double-digit scorers and never rely on just one scorer to get 'em through rough patches. Could this be a bit trickier than the "Series Price" shows or will the "Greek Freak" and friends own this best-of-seven set after winning the four regular-season matchups by an average of 14.8 ppg?
Series Price: Milwaukee - 4130 / Detroit + 1630

Here's the game-by-game history this season between the Pistons and the Bucks. Note home teams in CAPS below:

DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
12-5MILWAUKEE- 7.5Detroit115-92
12-17Milwaukee- 3DETROIT107-104
1-1MILWAUKEE- 10Detroit121-98
1-29Milwaukee- 7DETROIT115-105

 

WESTERN CONFERENCE

#6 OKLAHOMA CITY (49-33) at #3 PORTLAND (53-29) - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Here's the one-and-only series where the Game #1 road team is the series betting favorite ... and no wonder when you consider the Okie City Thunder swept the season's series four games-to-zip including a wild overtime tilt back in early March. P.S., Portland has been swept in the opening playoff round each of the past two years and so there's a degree of pressure on the Trail Blazers here as they've quickly become known as a "regular-season" team. Obviously, Thunder PG Russell Westbrook was a king in regular-season action with 34 triple-doubles but it says here that Westbrook and Paul George - a duo that averages 51 ppg - may need some "paint" scoring here. Meanwhile, Portland brings its 20-plus ppg scorers Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum into action here with the latter healthy after missing 10 late-season games with injuries.
Series Price: Oklahoma City - 165 / Portland + 140

Here's the game-by-game history this season between the Thunder and the Trail Blazers. Note home teams in CAPS below:

DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
1-4Okla CityPKPORTLAND111-109
1-22OKLA CITY- 3.5Portland123-114
2-11OKLA CITY- 5Portland120-111
3-7Okla City+ 3.5PORTLAND129-121 (ot)

 

#5 UTAH (50-32) at #4 HOUSTON (53-29) - 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Maybe you've noticed that the underdog Utah Jazz has been taking money: The Rockets opened as - 350 betting favorites and it's dipped but truth is the defensive-minded Jazz will need to go toe-to-toe and point-for-point at times with high-flying Houston and so Donovan Mitchell (23.8 ppg) may need some 35-plus point games here in this set just to get Utah's head above water. No doubt Rockets' point machine James Harden (36.1 ppg) has mucho pressure on 'em this post-season after his gang came up short of the NBA Finals these past two years but maybe H-town should lessen his load in an earlier round ... but can they afford to here? The Jazz would love to keep these games right around 100 ppg on both sides and then hope C Rudy Gobert can make the big defensive play / rebound / etc.
Series Price: Houston - 315 / Utah + 255

Here's the game-by-game history this season between the Jazz and the Rockets. Note home teams in CAPS below:

DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
10-24Utah+ 1HOUSTON100-89
12-6UTAH- 1.5Houston118-91
12-17HOUSTON- 5Utah102-97
2-2Houston+ 7UTAH125-98

 

NOTE: Lots more NBA Playoff News & Note plus NFL Draft goodies too all next week here at Jim Sez - so don't miss out!

 

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