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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Thursday, May 2, 2019 at 12:00 AM










Here’s the straight facts:

You have to go all the way back to the spring of 2001 to find the last time the Philadelphia 76ers played in an Eastern Conference Finals – remember the Allen Iverson-led Sixers bested the Milwaukee Bucks in a seven-game series way back when – and you can look all you want but the Toronto Raptors have never won an Eastern Conference Finals (they lost in the 2016 Eastern Finals to the LeBron James-led Cleveland Cavaliers in a four-game sweeperoo).

So, there’s plenty on the line when Raptors-76ers battle it out this evening in a Game 3 in Philly in Eastern Conference semifinal play with the series knotted at a game apiece – winner gets a berth in this year’s Eastern Finals against the Boston vs. Milwaukee series winners although it’s painfully obvious that the oddsmakers (and many members of the wagering public) don’t “believe” in this 76ers team at all.

The price tag here for Game 3 is Raptors – 1 point and we’ve seen some Raptors – 1.5 floating around in some locales and do keep in mind that in regular-season play this past 2018-19 season it was Toronto that won/covered three of the four tilts with the lone Philadelphia winner (see 126-101 on Dec. 22nd) happening when Toronto megastar Kawhi Leonard was a DNP.

As you see by our chart below, each team has won/covered a game so far in this conference semifinal series:


Here’s the game-by-game playoff update between the Raptors and the 76ers. Note home teams are in CAPS below:

DATE                      WINNER                 SPREAD          LOSER                     SCORE

4-27                        TORONTO             - 6.5                Philadelphia          108-95

4-29                        Philadelphia          + 7                   TORONTO             94-89


If the Raptors are gonna regain that home-court advantage here tonight, then Toronto’s Kawhi Leonard is going to need some help – one fearless forecast we’re making here is F Serge Ibaka – shooting 4-of-14 in this series with nine fouls – better get a “wake-up” call plus Toronto must bag at least 17-or-18 trifectas here after shooting “3’s” at a 10-of-37 rate in Game 2. On the flip side, home pup Philadelphia needs its bench brigade to aid/abet Jimmy Butler / Joel Embiid here – tell us that Sixers’ subs James Ennis III and lefty Greg Monroe score 23 points (or more) here as was the case in Game 2, then Philly’s gonna make it two in a row.


And now hear this …

Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers keep banging out loads of winners in this year’s NBA Playoffs – we won a Best Bet play with the 76ers in that above-mentioned five-point win North of the Border (remember the Sixers were a 7-point pup) in Game 2 and last night we cashed with Portland’s outright upset against 4-point fav Denver in Game 2 – and there’s action each/every night this week, so make sure you’re cashin’ all post-season long plus get all the daily Major-League Baseball action too right here at or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Get in the winner’s circle today!


In last night’s NBA action, it was …

PORTLAND 97, DENVER 90 – Series tied 1-1

The zig-zag theorists partied hard last night – the Portland Trail Blazers pounded out a relatively easy wire-to-wire win despite a shabby 5-of-17 shooting night from G Damian Lillard along with the quietest 20-point playoff game you ever saw from backcourt mate CJ McColum (who shot a rather unimpressive 8-of-20 from the floor) but the Nuggets scored just a dozen points in the second quarter and kept missing three-after-three that nobody should have been surprised that Denver wound up shooting 6-of-29 from deep … egads! We’ll all have to see if there are any Game 3 suspensions after that late-game skirmish that was nothing more than a backyard shoving match – please, NBA, don’t overreach here, okay.



Here’s the eight remaining / still-alive playoff teams (thru Wednesday, May 1st)


TEAM                     WON              LOST               TIE                   PCT

Milwaukee            5                      1                      0                      .833

Boston                   4                      1                      1                      .800

Philadelphia          5                      2                      0                      .714

Houston                 4                      3                      0                      .571

Portland                 4                      3                      0                      .571

Toronto                  4                      3                      0                      .571

Golden State         4                      4                      0                      .500

Denver                   4                      5                      0                      .444




Okay, so we’re some 30-or-so games into this current Major-League Baseball campaign and go ahead and raise your hand if you thought the defending World Series champion Boston Red Sox would have the 11th-best record in the American League or that there would be only a few National League teams sporting better records than the San Diego Padres (17-14)? Yet we’re not gonna list these Manny Machado-led Pods or the aforementioned Red Sox as the biggest surprise / disappointment teams thus far in 2019 … here’s our nominees:


BIGGEST SURPRISE – Arizona Diamondbacks (18-13)

The preseason prognosticators claimed the D-Backs would win only 75 or 76 games (okay, they still might) but this club has managed to play plus-.500 ball despite the fact the team ranks 10th in the NL in home runs and dead-last in the senior circuit in ERA. This week’s two-game home sweep over the New York Yankees showed the Diamondbacks have some stellar pitching – the Yanks scored a grand total of 3 runs in the short set in the desert – and maybe there is a playoff berth for the D-Backs at the end of this ’19 rainbow.


BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT – Washington Nationals (12-17)

Go ahead and disagree and say the Red Sox are the bigger duds … what, you didn’t expect some type of World Series “hangover” for the Fenway Park gang? The truth is these Nats are 6-11 at home this year, sport a team-wide ERA of 4.95 and have far too many holes in this everyday lineup – yes, we know 3B Anthony Rendon’s been out for a while – and, sorry for piling on, but second-year manager Dave Martinez is not gonna remind anyone of Sparky Anderson anytime soon.



NOTE: More NBA Playoffs and MLB all this week right here at Jim Sez.



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