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Jim Sez : 5/24/2013
THE MEMORIAL DAY HOLIDAY WEEKEND IS HERE
CHECK OUT THE NBA CONFERENCE FINALS REPORT AS WE PREVIEW TONIGHT'S PACERS-HEAT GAME 2 BASH, PLUS TOMORROW NIGHT'S SPURS-GRIZZLIES GAME 3 IN MEMPHIS
By Jim Hurley:
What is this year's Memorial Day Weekend gonna bring the NBA's so-called"Final Four"?
Now that the NBA defending champion Miami Heat gulped-and-gasped its way to a Game 1 overtime win against the Indiana Pacers this past Wednesday night, will LeBron James and Company get a stranglehold on this best-of-seven Eastern Conference Finals and lead it 2 games-to-1 or even 3-0 at the conclusion of this holiday weekend?
And can the Memphis Grizzlies repeat recent history and make up a two games-to-none series deficit against the San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference Finals ...or is Tony Parker, Tim Duncan and the folks wearing black-and-silver gonna get that shot at another championship ring for this proud organization (see 1999, 2002, '05 and '07)?
There's nightly hoops action all throughout this Memorial Day Weekend with the Eastern Conference Finals on the docket tonight and Sunday night (both tip off at 8:30 p.m. ET) and the Western Conference Finals slated for Saturday and Monday nights (both of them tip off at 9 p.m. ET) - so slap those burgers onto the backyard grill, grab a cold bottle of soda pop (?) and get ready for four straight nights of stirring NBA action ...Let's get it rollin' right now:
Tonight, it's ...
Let's face it: You needed a couple of days just to sort out all that happened in the Heat's one-point overtime win back in Game 1 of this series but here's a few observations that have not exactly been making the rounds:
Miami allowed Indiana to score 60 points after halftime in that 103-102 triumph (that's 50 points in the third/fourth quarters and 10 more in the OT session) and that completely goes against the grain of this defense-first Heat team. No doubt one thing that happened in Game 1 is that Indiana's Paul George discovered a real nice rhythm in going to the hoop (he nailed 10-of-11 free throws while making more trips to the charity stripe than anyone else in this series opener) and Miami simply didn't have the answer for him plus the Pacers finished with a whopping 48 points in the paint and that may well continue to be an issue for Miami.
Or as TNT's Charles Barkley said,"Miami ain't gonna grow any more between Game 1 and Game 2."
It's in Indiana's best interests here to continue going to F David West whose 26 points wound up being one behind the aforementioned George and you tell us right here and right now that this duo is gonna go for 50-or-more points in this Game 2 and we're inclined to believe Frank Vogel's crew will knot up the series at one game apiece.
Now, another observation:
In Game 1, Miami sported a 24-assist-to-20-turnover ratio - okay, better than Indiana's 18 assists/20 turnovers figures, we know - but not nearly what Heat boss-man Erik Spoelstra wants or needs here in Game 2. Consider that the smaller Heat need to move the ball quickly and find cutters who can do damage and pick up fouls on C Roy Hibbert (and others) and than when you think back to Game 1 most of the time it was James (10 assists) or Dwyane Wade (5 assists) hitting Chris"The Birdman" Andersen who scored on all seven of his field-goal tries.
The question we have is how come James, Wade and others were not recipients more than they were in cutter situation - or, put more bluntly - why did the Heat seemingly stand around for too much of the shot clock and not generate a side-to-side ball movement attack that had Indiana on its collective toes.
Two stats to watch for here in Game 2:
The Heat must add to its assists total and trim back on those whopping 20 turnovers or else the 7-point home favorites will be in for another late-game donnybrook and Indiana needs to figure out how to spot up more three-point shooters. It's tough to beat the"better team" when you're making only four trifectas in a game and - while the Pacers may not necessarily be geared to take a slew of triples - the combo of George, Lance Stephenson and George Hill have to fare better than 3-of-13 from beyond the arc.
P.S., keep in mind that the Heat now is a sub-par 2-4 ATS (against the spread) in its six playoff home games this year. Just sayin'!
Here's how the Pacers-Heat Eastern Conference Finals Series has gone so far (note home teams are in CAPS):
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have all the Side/Totals winners in these NBA Conference Finals plus there's lots of Major-League Baseball Winners too when you sign up today - so cash in big with Hoops and Baseball each and every day! Just be sure to check in with us either right here online or else at our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the daily and nightly NBA and MLB winners.
NBA PLAYOFFS POINTSPREAD CHART
Note: The four"still-alive" teams in this year's NBA Playoffs enter this holiday weekend a combined 34-14 versus the vig - that's a scintillating .708 winning percentage - and based on $100 per play wagers this post-season the Grizzlies/Pacers/Spurs/Heat would have (so far) netted you $1,860. Yowie!
On Saturday, it's ...
The three full days off between Game 2's overtime tilt and this bash in Memphis could help San Antonio more than you might think:
The Spurs' mega-star PG Parker has been receiving treatment for his bruised/sore calf plus you might have noticed that late in Tuesday's game Parker was poked in the eye pretty good (remember he underwent eye surgery last year following a crazy night-club fracas in New York City) and so the down time likely helped his cause while no question Memphis head coach Lionel Hollins spent oodles of his valuable time trying to figure out how to get power forward Zach Randolph untracked in this series. You know"Zebo" had a bummer Game 1 with just one made field goal (on a freaky tip-in, no less) but his Game 2 performance wasn't exactly Hall of Fame worthy either as Randolph shot just 6-of-18 from the floor en route to a 15-point, 18-rebound showing.
Simply put, if Randolph and front-court cohort C Marc Gasol (4-of-12 FG shooting for 12 points in Game 2) can't connect on better than 33 percent of their shots from the field than the Grizz's home court magic could go up in smoke - yes, Memphis is a perfect 5-0 SU (straight-up) and ATS this post-season when playing in its own backyard but this challenge is a whole new ball game and especially if Randolph's lacking some confidence these days.
Plus, Hollins ain't exactly been enthralled with many on-court decisions made by folks other than classy and ambidextrous point guard Mike Conley (see 18 points and only one turnover in 35 minutes in Game 2). There was kid Jerryd Bayless hoisting up an ill-fated triple late after it was clear a different play had been drawn up on the Grizzlies' sidelines plus it made little sense for defensive-minded starting G Tony Allen to keep chucking up shots en route to an ugly 2-of-11 FG game. And let's not even comment on his Oscar Award"injury" following that correctly called flagrant foul on San Antonio's Manu Ginobili. Geez!
Think about it: Randolph and Gasol missed 20 shots, Allen and Bayless combined to miss another 20 FG attempts and still there was the Grizzlies with a shot to win the other night in OT but unable to handle Mr. Duncan on a couple of big shots in the extra session that proved to be turn-back-the-clock moments (we had visions of 2003 or 2005 all over again!).
Now, Duncan - who piled up 17 points and 9 rebounds in 31 minutes of action (remember we said Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich should do his best to get Duncan into the game for 30-to-32 minutes per night) - has had extra days to rest his limbs and gotta believe he will be fresh here and so don't discount a quick start for San Antonio here even though all the heat's on Memphis to get back into this series here.
Finally, let's look at a couple of X-factor types here in Game 3:
The Spurs' length on defense has bothered just about every single member of the Grizzlies and keep in mind San Antonio registered a dozen blocks in Game 2 - and what that means is Memphis players are getting a bit spooked when they get near the basket and so even if a shot isn't blocked or tipped, it's been effected in some form. If Duncan (4 blocks in Game 2) and the long-armed Danny Green (3 blocks in Game 2) make defensive differences here than Memphis - not normally a three-point shooting team - may have to resort to firing up more triples.
And, lastly, the bench is always a very big deal in these games and keep tuned to how many threes Spurs F Matt Bonner gets to launch here.
Just one little trifecta spurt (see Game 1) could sway the direction of this game. You have been duly warned, Grizzlies Nation!
Here's how the Spurs-Grizzlies Western Conference Finals Series has gone so far (note home teams are in CAPS):
NOTE: There's plenty more Jim Sez goodies this holiday weekend with NBA and MLB News/Notes straight ahead.
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