Looking for expert picks or help handicapping? Jim Hurley has been a sports handicapper for 26 years and in that time has built a huge network of insiders. Jim uses a team-approach to picking winners. First, there's his number-crunchers in his home office who work in tandem with computer programmers to create the sharpest simulations in the industry. Add to this his huge network of on-the-scene insider sources around the country, providing him with vital intangible information that may not be reflected in the statistical probabilities, things like who's got a nagging injury, what teams have chemistry problems, what horses are set to be turned loose. Jim's got access to the sharpest minds in the Strip. It's the kind of comprehensive approach any sports handicapper would dream of, and Jim Hurley has been doing it since 1985.
Jim Sez : 2/13/2011
Hurley Hits At 3-of-4 tracks coast to coast Sunday!
THE NBA WEEKEND REPORT - SUNDAY'S TV TWINBILL STEALS THE SPOTLIGHT AS HEAT-CELTICS, LAKERS-MAGIC COLLIDE ON ABC ...
PLUS, LOOKING AHEAD AT WHAT NBA TEAMS CAN MAKE A LATE-SEASON PUSH
By Jim Hurley:
Tell us who you think - right here and right now - is gonna be playing in this June's NBA Finals.
Maybe you think it'll be a repeat of Lakers-Celtics ... or maybe not.
The fact of the matter is you could put together a whole slew of potential championship round matchups and you couldn't lose as a pro hoops fan and that's the feeling you get this Sunday-before-Valentine's Day when four mighty NBA teams - three from the Eastern Conference (see Miami, Boston and Orlando) and one from the Western Conference (yes, the aforementioned two-time defending champion Lakers) - put forth their best stuff in a killer TV doubleheader on ABC.
Okay, so we know at this time last week you were getting ready for Super Bowl XLV but the gridiron campaign is now in the rear-view mirror and what lies ahead are months of great basketball games ... and odds are that Miami at Boston and then the Los Angeles Lakers at Orlando will be spellbinding stuff.
We'll be watching!
Extra, extra: Jim Hurley will have the winners on both Heat-Celtics and Lakers-Magic when you check with America's #1 Handicapper on Game-Day morning after 10 a.m. either right here online or at the toll-free # of 1-800-323-4453. Plus, there's lots of great College Basketball action too - so don't miss out on Marquette-Georgetown, Purdue-Illinois and more on a jam-packed Saturday card.
SUNDAY'S NBA TV PREVIEWS
MIAMI (39-14) at BOSTON (38-14) - 1 p.m. ET, ABC
Share the ball better than they did in that opener months ago. Note that the Heat piled up 28 assists in beating the Pistons the other night at The Palace and that included 10 "dimes" by James and another 7 assists by Wade and no doubt a review of the game film from back in late October would reveal too much one-on-one junk.
If Boston needs any motivation for this clash, then remember that Doc Rivers' club is coming off Thursday's 92-86 loss to the Lakers - it was all find and dandy that Ray Allen broke the NBA's all-time three-point shooting record (if you ask us, way too much was made of that by the Celtics, their fans and the TV talking heads!) and one problem in that game for the C's was Boston got out-boarded 47-to-36 and that included just six rebs by the hyped bench.
If the Lakers and their cast are looking to hand out awards these days than no doubt Kobe Bryant could be the leading man in "Best Basketball Player on Earth" as the five-time champ registered an eye-popping 33 points on 7th Avenue and 33rd Street - a/k/a Madison Square Garden - in Friday's easy-as-pie 113-96 victory against the 3-point pup New York Knicks and than there's big man Pau Gasol who could be a shoo-in as "Best Supporting Teammate" following on the heels of his 34-point game at New Orleans that started the road swing. Finally, there's the aforementioned Jackson who could win "Best Director" every year but one thing the Lakers/Jackson have to do here is prevent the Magic from beyond the three-point arc.
Note that Orlando shot just 5-of-21 from trey-land in Friday's 99-93 home loss to 8 ½-point dog New Orleans (including an 0-for-3 three-point night for reserve G Gilbert Arenas).
MORE NBA NEWS & NOTES
Check it out:
Most of the NBA teams already have played nearly two-thirds of their 2010-11 regular-season schedule and so here's a good as time as any to examine what teams are most likely to make a late-season push. Here's a couple we have in mind:
ATLANTA (33-19) - No doubt the Hawks have been in and out of the clouds this year with some tremendous wins but some unbelievably bad losses (see last Tuesday's 117-83 home loss against Philadelphia) but this Southeast Division team has four players averaging 15-or-more ppg in Joe Johnson (20.1), Josh Smith (16.3), Al Horford (16.2) and Jamal Crawford (15.7) and that means there's plenty of firepower to get on a winning streak. The Hawks have been accused by many in-the-know folks for playing unemotional ball this season - even head coach Larry Drew considers this a shortcoming for his team - but now the challenge of a seven-day road trip that starts Monday night in Detroit and doesn't end till Feb. 28th at Denver actually could help this club bond. Don't be shocked if the Hawks win 45-to-47 games overall and makes things sticky in terms of playoff seeding for divisional foes Miami and Orlando.
MEMPHIS (29-26) - There are a slew of NBA insiders waiting for the Grizzlies to "put it all together" and what Lionel Hollins' crew really needs in the final one-third of this season is to garner a lengthy winning streak. No doubt the Grizz are playing well right now having won seven of their last eight games following Friday's gutty 89-86 non-cover triumph over Milwaukee. Point guard Mike Conley had 23 points and 8 assists to key that win and keep an eye on the former Ohio State Buckeyes whiz 'cause he could get the Memphis hoop engines in high gear. P.S., they better make some hay before the home-and-home set with San Antonio on Feb. 27th/March 1st.
NOTE: Get our weekend College Basketball re-caps and more in the next edition of Jim Sez.
IT'S TIME TO GET UP TO SPEED WITH BRACKETOLOGY 101 ...
You can start up the countdown clock ... Selection Sunday is now just one month away.
No kidding, the NCAA Tournament's field of 68 teams will be announced on Sunday, March 13th and so that means it's time for us here at Jim Sez to "go back to school" and bring you the latest Bracketology 101.
We'll get into our crystal ball look at what the NCAA Tournament's top 16 seeds will look like in just a second but first this important reminder:
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the College Basketball and NBA Winners all week long when you check in on Game Days anytime after 1 p.m. ET Monday-thru-Friday and after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays/Sundays/Holidays either right here online or at our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Go ahead and make sure to be with America's #1 Handicapper as he takes you through a thrilling and profitable b-ball ride that lasts deep into June!
Let's have a little fun with next month's NCAA Tournament as we reveal our here-and-now top 16 overall seeds. As you well, know, the NCAA Tournament no longer simply puts four seeded teams in each region as it's instead a rather scatter-shot way of placing the teams but here's what things may look like at tourney time in terms of the first two rounds. Note overall NCAA Tournament seeds are listed below:
#1 OHIO STATE - The Buckeyes (24-0, 11-0 in the Big 10) may not stay perfect throughout this 2010-11 campaign but odds are they'll win the Big Ten Tourney and will snag the top overall seed come NCAA Tournament time. Thad Matta's club has plenty of ammo including National Player of the Year candidate Jared Sullinger and a better-than-you-think bench.
#2 TEXAS - Give the Longhorns (21-3, 9-0 in the Big 12) lots of credit for squashing foe-after-foe since the start of the Near Year as Rick Barnes' club has stepped up its collective power rating with some lopsided wins with the latest being that 68-52 waltz at 10 ½-point underdog Oklahoma. If Texas can race through the Big 12 Tourney in Kansas City next month than the 'Horns will secure a premier seed for the "Big Dance. P.S., there's also a little room for error here as Texas could still lose two more games and still get a #1 regional seed.
#3 PITTSBURGH - No doubt that next month's Big East Tournament will be a major free-for-all with as many as six or seven teams quite capable of winning that mini-tourney in New York City but it says here that Pitt's the favorite to snag the Big East crown as long as G Ashton Gibbs (16.3 ppg) has fully recovered from his left knee injury.
#4 KANSAS - No question that we would revise this whole shooting match should the Jayhawks (23-1, 8-1 Big 12) run the table the rest of the way and that's quite possible the way Bill Self's gang is going at the current time. The one thing you have to love about this Kansas team is its unselfish play as the 'Hawks really swing the ball around until they get the perfect shot.
#6 VILLANOVA - If the 'Nova Wildcats were to cop the Big East Tournament, than Jay Wright's guys would elevate into a #1 seed somewhere but let's play it safe here and say the Philly gang gets a #2 seed in one of the regions.
#7 SAN DIEGO STATE - There are skeptics out there who believe the Aztecs - even should they win the Mountain West Conference Tournament - won't get a #1 or #2 seed in the NCAAs but we think Steve Fisher's club will be rewarded should it finish with 30 wins and a mini-tourney crown.
#8 WISCONSIN - Maybe we have the Badgers rated a tad higher than everyone else but we expect Bo Ryan's guys to have a strong run in the Big 10 tourney and some other non-Big 10 upsets will pave the way for a neat #2 regional seed for the men from Madison.
#9 CONNECTICUT - Think this is too high for a Huskies team that just was blitzed 89-72 by St. John's? Look for UConn to play early-round games in Washington, D.C.
#10 ARIZONA - If the U of A Wildcats win the Pac-10 than they'll leapfrog over a few higher-ranked teams in terms of seeds but they won't get Round I and/or Round II games in Tucson (probably a Denver locale is likely).
#11 FLORIDA - No doubt the Gators are climbing back from a faulty start and Billy Donovan's club could land a #3 seed as long as they win the SEC Tournament inside the Georgia Dome. Expect Florida's first weekend of "Big Dance" action to come in sunny Tampa.
#12 GEORGETOWN - The Hoyas have some nice wins on their resume including last Wednesday's 64-56 triumph at Syracuse ... talk about a gut-check win! Sorry, but G-town won't be kept in D.C. early and we'll look for them to hit the Tampa trail too.
#13 BYU - The Cougars could get a #2 seed with a Mountain West Conference title. Hey, remember that BYU has to play the Thursday/Saturday games in the NCAA Tournament and so it's a trip to Tucson for starters.
#14 SYRACUSE - Let's hedge our bets here and say that if the Orange get whacked in Round I of the Big East Tournament (as they have been wont to do) than Jim Boeheim's crew might well fall out of the top 16 seeds. In any event, look for the 'Cuse to play early NCAA Tourney games in D.C.
#15 NORTH CAROLINA - The Tar Heels are #20 in the current Associated Press rankings but should be a top 4 regional seed even if Duke sweeps 'em this year. Hey, both the Heels and the Devils will call Charlotte home for the first weekend of action in the NCAAs.
#16 PURDUE - The body of work is good enough to get the Boilers a top four seed somewhere but the NCAA Tournament Committee folks won't cut 'em any slack and give Matt Painter's team any tourney games in Chicago. Probably a nice long plane ride to Tucson, if you ask us!
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