Submitted by Jim Hurley on Saturday, April 20, 2019 at 12:00 AM
THE HOLIDAY WEEKEND’S NBA SHOWDOWNS –
WE EXAMINE ALL EIGHT MATCHUPS …
MORE NFL DRAFT COVERAGE:
THE TOP DEFENSIVE LINEMEN
Here’s the holiday weekend menu when it comes to the ongoing first round of these NBA Playoffs – get a load of these stats:
On Saturday, it’s …
PHILADELPHIA at BROOKLYN 3 p.m. ET, TNT / 76ers leads series 2-1
No way the host Nets are gonna even this series if shooting just 8-of-39 from beyond the three-point arc, right? Plus, toss into the mix the fact Philly’s Game 3 numbers featured 26 assists (including nine by do-it-all star Ben Simmons). Spiffy stuff!
DENVER at SAN ANTONIO – 5:30 p.m. ET, TNT / Spurs lead series 2-1
If the Nuggets are gonna regain their footing here and square this series – remember Denver was a – 275 betting favorite right at the start – then Game 2 hero G Jamal Murray (21 fourth-quarter points) better show up instead of the Game 3 Murray who scored only 6 points in his 31 minutes of play. Ugh!
MILWAUKEE at DETROIT – 8 p.m. ET, ESPN /Bucks lead series 2-0
Two blowouts so far – the Bucks were 15- and 15.5-point favorites and won by a combined 56 points – and Milwaukee’s bench has been brilliant with G Pat Connaughton piling up a stat line of 18 points / 9 rebounds / 4 blocks / 3 assists in the 120-99 win in Game 2.
HOUSTON at UTAH – 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN / Rockets lead series 2-0
How’s this for a non-James Harden, pro-Rockets stat: Houston’s other players canned 21-of-25 free throws in the 118-98 win in Game 2 and reserve G Austin Rivers was a plus 21 in his 20 minutes of game action.
On Sunday, it’s …
BOSTON at INDIANA – 1 p.m. ET, ABC / Celtics lead series 3-0
Now that the Pacers are facing the Boston brooms here on Easter Sunday, gotta wonder if F Domantas Sabonis (12 points / 7 rebs / 6 assists in Friday’s 104-96 home loss) is gonna play more than 24 minutes here. C’mon coach Nate McMillan!
GOLDEN STATE at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS – 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC / Warriors lead series 2-1
The Kevin Durant haters were quiet following his 38-point showing in Thursday’s Game 3 – but did you know K.D. was a mind-numbing + 32 in just 29 minutes of play? We kid you not. Durant’s attempted 23 FG tries in that last game and no other Warriors player had more than 11 FG attempts.
TORONTO at ORLANDO –7 p.m. ET, TNT / Raptors lead series 2-1
Toronto’s Pascal Siakam (30 points in Friday’s 98-93 non-cover win Orlando) scored more than teammates Kawhi Leonard / Kyle Lowry combined (28 total points) but major stat line in Game 3 was fact Magic starters shot a woeful 7-of-27 from trey-land.
PORTLAND at OKLAHOMA CITY – 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT / Trail Blazers lead series 2-1
Simple stuff: The OKC Thunder shot 10-of-61 from beyond the 3-point arc in losing Games 1 and 2 in “Rip City” but bounced back for 15-of-29 triple makes in Friday’s 120-108 emotionally-charged Game 3 win/cover at home. As Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook might say … “next”!
Note that Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers keep banging out winners in this year’s NBA Playoffs with action each/every night this week, so make sure you’re cashin’ all playoffs long plus get all the daily Major-League Baseball action too right here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.
NFL DRAFT REPORT
The 2019 NFL Draft is set for Thursday, April 25-thru-Saturday, April 27 and we’ll be bringing you position-by-position looks for the next couple of days and note Thursday it’s our annual NFL Mock Draft. In today’s column, we highlight the defensive linemen:
QUINNEN WILLIAMS, DL, Alabama – Is he the best overall player in this year’s draft? Could be as the 6-foot-3, 303-pounder regularly disrupts enemy ground games and collapses the pocket all the time. Williams has been a center-stage player for the perennial national championship-hopeful Crimson Tide and some folks labeled him the best defensive player the past 10 years in Tuscaloosa. You might see someone trade up to #3 or #4 to grab Williams or else he’ll simply land on the New York Jets’ laps at #3.
ED OLIVER, DT, Houston – Major enigma here ‘cause he publicly argued with head coach Major Applewhite and then generally ruffled feathers of NFL execs/scouts, so there’s been some talk he could be drafted lower than originally projected … could go between #3 and #15 pick. At 6-foot-2, 288 pounds he’s a physical brute that sports a low center of gravity. Something tells us Oliver will be sitting there at #10 for the Denver Broncos.
RASHAN GARY, DL, Michigan – Figures to be a defensive end in the NFL after playing inside a whole lot in his college career; at 6-foot-4, 277 pounds he’s a wonderful athlete with an uber-quick first step. Don’t be shocked if he’s picked a bit higher than forecasters believe – let’s put ‘em at #8 with the home state Detroit Lions.
CHRISTIAN WILKINS, DL, Clemson – Gut feeling is this 6-foot-3, 315-pounder will play inside on this “next level” and he discards blockers about as well as any incoming rookie. Wilkins -- part of that fantastic foursome that starred on the defensive line for the national championship Tigers – likely lands somewhere in the top 20 picks. Could be a good fit with the Tennessee Titans at #19.
DEXTER LAWRENCE, DT, Clemson – Speaking of the defending champs, here’s another interior defensive lineman that is adept at swatting down passes and generally causing chaos to an opponent’s short passing game. Let’s plug ‘em in at #26 with the Indianapolis Colts.
JERRY TILLERY, DL, Notre Dame – The dude’s 6-feet-6, 295 pounds and a tower of power and plays with a real awareness as he sniffs out run or pass very well. How does the Los Angeles Chargers at pick #28 sound for this ND Fighting Irish star sound?
NOTE: Get our NFL Mock Draft in the Thursday edition of Jim Sez.