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Submitted by Jim Hurley on Tuesday, June 4, 2019 at 12:00 AM



It's interesting to see that the Las Vegas numbers-posters all - for now, at least - have the Golden State Warriors as either 5.5-point or 6-point home betting favorites for Wednesday's Game 3 tilt of these NBA Finals.

Do they know whether or not Kevin Durant (calf strain or Achilles) is gonna play for the Dubs?

How about smooth-shooting Klay Thompson (hamstring) who missed the final several minutes of Golden State's 109-104 win in Game 2 after scoring a team-high 25 points?

And then there's unsung board-banger and defensive ace Kevon Looney (back) who played just 10 minutes on Sunday night - is he a "go" here or not in Game 3?

Still, zip around the desert and you see Warriors - 5.5 and/or Warriors - 6 all around.

Call 'em "play it safe" numbers as they are price tags right around where Golden State was for its five playoff home games against the Houston Rockets / Portland Trail Blazers. P.S., the Warriors went just 2-3 ATS (against the spread) in those five playoff home games against the tandem of Houston / Portland with numbers all in the 5- to 7-point range.

But do you or anyone else right this very minute know what you're gonna get with the Warriors should -- let's say -- Durant, Thompson and Looney all miss this pivotal game ... and then throw in the Stephen Curry angle as he was clearly "underneath the weather" in Game 2 while still scoring 23 points but shooting just 3-of-10 from deep?

We know, we know. Smart alecks out there might be quick to state you don't know what you're gonna get from these Raptors, for that matter. Okay, so Toronto "blew" a 12-point second-quarter lead in Sunday's Game 2 loss with that horrifying 18-0 Golden State scoring run absolutely blitzing Nick Nurse's club but you can't be blamed for thinking Kawhi Leonard, Pascal Siakam, Kyle Lowry and Marc Gasol should be good for better than the 65 points they combined for in Game 2 ... right?

Jim Hurley's Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the NBA Playoff Conference Finals winners continuing with Wednesday's Game 3 clash between the Toronto Raptors at the Golden State Warriors. Get the Sides & Totals in all the showdowns in this best-of-seven series plus get all the Major-League Baseball winners too at 1-800-323-4453.


On Wednesday, it's ... TORONTO at GOLDEN STATE - Series tied 1-1 / Game 3 is 9:07 p.m. ET, ABC

Okay, so we've talked up the Warriors and their "questionable" and/or "probable" players for this clash at Oracle Arena in Oakland but what about three key items no matter who plays for Steve Kerr's crew? Number one, what team is gonna shoot it better from deep?

The Raptors shot a putrid 11-of-38 (that's 29 percent) from downtown in Game 2 and it was rather distressing to see Toronto's starting five shoot a combined 7-of-26 from 3-land. If Toronto can shoot closer to 40 percent - and it needs Leonard to do a whole lot better than 2-of-9 - than the North-of-the-Border gang could pull the upset or at least cover the aforementioned price tag.

Number two, Toronto must win the so-called "hustle stats" of blocks /steals (the Raptors were a minus 2 in this category last game) and that means reserves Fred VanVleet, Norman Powell and Serge Ibaka (see six of the team's eight steals in Game 2) must come up big here while Golden State's thorny defense finished with seven steals in Game 2 - but none from the bench brigade.

Number three, will Toronto boss-man Nurse make more timely adjustments / call proper time outs here? Not gonna lay the Game 2 loss all on the Raptors' first-year head coach but fact is Golden State's 18-0 run should have been slowed with some TO's ... hey, Kerr likely rates a couple of points advantage over Nurse and not sure that's reflected in this current pointspread.

Gut feeling? We won't see Durant, we'll see a limited version of Thompson and Looney will be a game-time decision.

Here's the 2019 NBA Finals game-by-game results between the Raptors and the Warriors. Note home teams are in CAPS below:

5-30 TORONTO - 1.5 Golden St118-109
6-2 Golden St + 2 TORONTO 109-104



Let's check out a pitcher in both the National League and the American League that's put up some magical stat through the first two months of this 2019 season ...

In the NL, how about Milwaukee Brewers RHP Brandon Woodruff who is 7-1 with a 3.82 ERA with 80 Ks and 19 BBs. Woodruff's a lead-pipe cinch to be chosen for this year's All-Star Game in Cleveland but what really grabbed our attention was that prior to his last start (that wild 12-10 win in 13 innings last Saturday at Pittsburgh) Woodruff allowed only five earned runs in five starts between May 3rd and May 26th ...

In the AL, Chicago White Sox righty Lucas Giolito just was named the league's Pitcher of the Month for May ... and why not? Giolito (8-1, 2.54 ERA) has a microscopic 0.95 WHIP with a nifty 78 Ks-to-20 BBs but the stat that catches our eye is Giolito has allowed just 44 hits in 67.1 innings. Say what!

We'll be eyeballing both Woodruff and Giolito when they're underdogs or even when they are smallish betting favorites in the coming days, so stay tuned.

NOTE: Catch our NBA Finals coverage all this week right here in these Jim Sez columns.

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