Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, May 28, 2019 at 12:00 AM
THE NBA FINALS PREVIEW - WARRIORS GO FOR THREE IN A ROW BUT CAN UNDERDOG RAPTORS PULL ANOTHER POST-SEASON SHOCKER? ...
THE BASEBALL REPORT: HITS AND MISSES FROM A BUSY MEMORIAL DAY
Imagine that. The Golden State Warriors - NBA champions for the past two straight years and in three of the last four years - are nearly a 3-to-1 betting favorite to win the NBA Finals that begin Thursday night against the Toronto Raptors even though A) megastar Kevin Durant isn't likely to play either of the first two games of this series for the Dubs (and they're being played in Toronto) and might be forced to sit out this entire best-of-seven set; B) DeMarcus Cousins is nowhere near 100 percent healthy and probably won't be able to give the Warriors more than 7-to-10 good minutes per game even if he plays at all; C) the Raptors have the home-floor advantage with potential Game 6 and Game 7 tilts being played North of the Border; and D) Golden State's coming in having not played a game since May 20th - a full 10 days which also begs the question of "rest versus rust".
Still, go ahead and check your betting report and there it is ... Golden State -290; Toronto + 235 for this upcoming series.
Well, the Raptors know they'll have their hands full with the Hall of Fame players that Golden State does put on the floor with G Stephen Curry, G Klay Thompson and F Draymond Green simply brilliant in that four-game sweep over Portland in the NBA Western Conference Finals but - if you'd like to put some numbers on things here - then we say for the Raptors to pull off a second straight series upset (remember the Milwaukee Bucks were a similar - 280 betting fav in the Eastern Conference Finals against Toronto) then Curry/Thompson/Green must score no more than 75 combined points per outing and Toronto hero Kawhi Leonard likely needs to score 30+ and he's gotta get another 50-or-so points from the trio of Kyle Lowry / Pascal Siakam / key reserve Fred VanVleet plus Toronto must win the "hustle stats" - offensive rebounds, steals and blocks - if they're gonna win four games here.
We'll have a Game 1 preview in the next edition of Jim Sez but keep in mind right now Toronto is a 1-point home fav for this series opener (down a tick from minus 1.5) with a totals price at 214.5 points (down a touch from 215 points).
Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the NBA Playoff Conference Finals winners this week beginning with Thursday's Game 1 clash between the Golden State Warriors at the Toronto Raptors. Get the Sides & Totals in all the showdowns in this best-of-seven series plus get all the Major-League Baseball winners via our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453.
BASEBALL'S NEWS & NOTES
Please don't ask us why there were four National League teams (that's St. Louis, Philadelphia, San Francisco and Atlanta) that were NOT on the schedule to play on Memorial Day - why, MLB? - but there were still lots of holiday happenings on the diamond and so let's go 'round the bigs and check out some goodies ...
The Miami Marlins were able to dodge a four-game wraparound weekend holiday sweep at the hands of the Washington Nationals with Monday's 3-2 road win and take note that the Nats were a minus 310 in that tilt with RHP Max Scherzer on the hill. Scherzer was fine - he allowed one run and seven hits in six innings of work but Washington fell to an ungodly 2-10 in games he's started this year. Now, how can that be, right? ...
The New York Yankees - a 5-2 Memorial Day matinee game winner at home against San Diego - keep on truckin' with a 35-18 won/loss mark despite the avalanche of injuries. The Yanks were laying a cheap-o minus 125 in this tilt and Aaron Boone's bunch seems to get multiple home runs in every game. In Monday's win, OF Clint Frazier banged his 10th dinger of the year and he's surely gonna be the centerpiece of a big summertime trade with either San Francisco - for LHP Madison Bumgarner - or Washington (for the aforementioned Scherzer) - providing the Bombers can settle on an eventual trade partner. Frazier's shaky outfield defense notwithstanding, he's a big-time hitter with a "quick bat" and note he enters Tuesday night's home game against the Padres with four home runs and 10 RBI in his last seven games ...
Finally, here we go again with another long winning streak by the Oakland A's (29-25). Okay, so this is actually Oakland's longest winning streak in 13 years; it just seems as if the Moneyballers get twin-digit winning streaks every year. The A's bested the visiting Los Angeles Angels 8-5 on Memorial Day to make it 10 wins in a row for the green-and-gold and suddenly the A's are now "only" 6.5 games back of the American League West-leading Houston Astros. Third baseman Matt Chapman homered for a third straight game in Oakland's holiday win and DH Stephen Piscotty - who registered a two-run single in the victory - now has reached base in 23 consecutive games. Don't look now but Oakland has not lost since May 14th and this rather no-name pitching staff has allowed 3, 2, 1, 3 (a seventh-inning suspended game versus Detroit), 4, 3, 2, 2, 5, 1 and 5 runs in these 11 games or an average yield of 2.8 runs an outing and that's helped the A's rise up to 10th overall in MLB with a team ERA of 4.04.
NOTE: Catch our NBA Finals coverage all this week right here in these Jim Sez columns.