Submitted by Jim Hurley on Monday, May 20, 2019 at 12:00 AM
THE NBA PLAYOFFS –
PUT THE BROOMS AWAY IN
THE EAST AS RAPTORS SNAG GAME 3
PLUS, HERE’S A LOOK AT TONIGHT’S
POSSIBLE CLINCHER OUT WEST FOR THE WARRIORS …
MLB’S TOP 10 TEAMS RIGHT NOW
In TV parlance, the NBA partners sure needed some “inventory” – after all, the two-time defending champion Golden State Warriors are looking to go clean sweep tonight in the Western Conference Finals against the Portland Trail Blazers and it was entirely possible that the Milwaukee Bucks were gonna make short work of the Toronto Raptors in the Eastern Conference Finals too prior to last night’s twin-overtime win by the “We The North” crew.
Think about it: The NBA Finals will begin on Thursday, May 30th and so, if Milwaukee and Golden State each would have swept their respective best-of-seven series, then the league could have been “sitting dark” for almost nine days … egads.
So, last night’s thrill-a-minute tilt—Toronto 118, Milwaukee 112 – brought some energy into the NBA Conference Finals at large and ensured that there will be hoops through this Thursday (May 23rd) and maybe beyond.
You can breathe easier, Commissioner Silver!
We’ll get to both series in a sec, but first here’s the up-to-the-minute playoff pointspread standings for the teams still in search of a title:
2019 NBA PLAYOFFS POINTSPREAD CHART
(thru Sunday, May 19th)
TEAM WON LOST TIE PCT
Milwaukee 10 2 0 .833
Golden State 7 8 0 .467
Portland 7 8 0 .467
Toronto 7 8 0 .467
Jim Hurley’s Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the NBA Playoff Conference Finals winners this year – yes, that’s Sides & Totals -- plus there’s Major-League Baseball winners too right here at www.jimhurley.com or via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Stay hot with the pro hoops right through the upcoming NBA Finals!
Tonight, it’s …
WESTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
GOLDEN STATE at PORTLAND – 9 p.m. ET, ESPN / Warriors lead series 3-0
That’s what these here-and-now Golden State Warriors have been while charging out to this three-games-to-none series lead as Steve Kerr’s crew has overcome 13- and 18-point deficits to win Games 2 and 3 in this set and – let’s face it – the Dubs have snatched the heart right out of the Trail Blazers’ collective chests.
Okay, so feel free to criticize Portland for not hanging onto those monster leads and go ahead and dump on Blazers’ guard Damian Lillard (rib injury and all) for his shoddy shooting, but the proverbial bottom line is the pre-Kevin Durant Warriors of Stephen Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green have been masterfully clutch with the latter piling up a triple-double stat line in last Saturday’s 110-99 triumph at 3-point fav Portland (see 20 points / 13 rebounds / 12 assists for Mr. Green) and the former shooting lights out with 36 points for Mr. Curry.
Now, Golden State’s zipped out to a 3-0 series lead without the aforementioned Durant (calf) and now the Warriors are also expected to be without swingman Andre Iguodala (leg) here for Game 4 but note the oddsmakers have flipped the script … the Warriors are a 3.5-point betting fav and might we remind you that G-State has failed to cover four of its last six games while laying points and this is a sizable 6.5-point swing in the Las Vegas line from last game to this one.
Spread Notes – Golden State is 4-3 versus the vig away in this post-season; Portland is 3-4 against the odds at home in the playoffs.
Here’s the NBA Western Conference Finals game-by-game results between the Warriors and the Trail Blazers. Note home teams are in CAPS below:
DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
5-14 GOLDEN ST - 7 Portland 116-94
5-16 GOLDEN ST - 7 Portland 114-111
5-18 Golden St + 3 PORTLAND 110-99
On Tuesday, it’s …
EASTERN CONFERENCE FINALS
MILWAUKEE at TORONTO – 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT / Bucks lead series 2-1
Here’s another game where the oddsmakers have turned the beat around: The visiting Bucks were a 2.5-point dog for that epic twin-OT game on Sunday night but they’re a 2.5-point betting fav here for Game 3.
Call it counteracting the old zig-zag theory or maybe it’s a plain-and-simple belief that Milwaukee megastar Giannis Antetokounmpo scored just 12 points in 44 minutes of game action before fouling out on a bogus block/charge call in the opening minute of that second overtime … glad we agreed with you, TNT’s Charles Barkley!
Antetokounmpo did haul in 23 boards in that 118-112 loss but he missed five free throws and never did get into any real rhythm throughout his time on the floor – better expect Bucks’ head coach Mike Budenholzer (who is worth about 3 or 4 more points to his team than novice Nick Nurse is to his Raptors) to get the “Greek Freak” the ball earlier on team possessions instead of getting double-teamed the minute he’s thrown the ball in the paint.
Spread Notes – Milwaukee’s scintillating 10-2 ATS (against the spread) mark features four-of-five road covers this post-season; Toronto failed to cover both games as dogs this series and is just 1-2 spreadwise as pups in these playoffs.
Here’s the NBA Eastern Conference Finals game-by-game results between the Bucks and the Raptors. Note home teams are in CAPS below:
DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
5-15 MILWAUKEE - 6.5 Toronto 108-100
5-17 MILWAUKEE - 6 Toronto 125-103
5-19 TORONTO - 2.5 Milwaukee (2ot) 118-112
THE BASEBALL REPORT
Okay, so everyone and his brother is ranking teams in Major-League Baseball these days – you know, power ratings – and so let’s get into the action and declare our Top 10 Teams one week out from Memorial Day:
1.Houston Astros (31-16) – An MLB-best + 92 in the runs differential category is eye-catching stuff.
2. Los Angeles Dodgers (31-17) – Did you know the Dodgers are on pace to go 62-19 at home this year?
3. Chicago Cubs (27-17) – A slow start had Windy City fans worried but pitching / defense has improved greatly.
4. New York Yankees (28-17) – If Aaron Boone isn’t the AL’s Manager of the Year at the quarter pole then we’ll eat our hats!
5. Tampa Bay Rays (27-17) – The Rays have won 18-of-25 outside the AL East.
6. Minnesota Twins (30-16) – Minny’s 262 runs scored is best in the bigs … really.
7. Milwaukee Brewers (28-21) – Can you imagine OF Christian Yelich’s stats if he hadn’t missed a batch of games?
8. Philadelphia Phillies (27-19) – New OF Bryce Harper K’s too much but he’s given the Phillies a lengthy lineup.
9. Boston Red Sox (24-22) – Defending champs get an “A for effort” after rotten start.
10. Pittsburgh Pirates (24-20) – Buccos are a – 39 in runs diff but they sure win a lot of close games.
NOTE: Catch all the NBA Conference Finals News / Notes in tomorrow’s next edition of Jim Sez.