NBA Playoff Reports - NFL 2010 Schedules: The Colts, Vikes & Chargers

MORE NBA PLAYOFF REPORTS - THE CELTICS WALLOP THE HAPLESS CAVS IN A GAME 5 LANDSLIDE AS LEBRON (AMONG OTHERS) GOES AWOL ...

THE NFL 2010 SCHEDULES: CHECKING OUT WHAT'S AHEAD FOR THE COLTS, VIKES & CHARGERS

By Jim Hurley:

Just when you thought it was safe to "figure out" this NBA Eastern Conference Semifinal Playoff Series between the Boston Celtics and the Cleveland Cavaliers, along came Tuesday night's Game 5 bash.

The fact that it was a lopsided result was not entirely a shock - remember that we call it like we see it and this year's NBA Playoffs have been pretty much devoid of late-game wild finishes - but the fact that it was 7-point home favorite Cleveland getting battered from proverbial pillar-to-post has to rank as a real mind-blower no matter the current condition of LeBron James' well-documented right elbow.

James and the Cavs showed zero fight - and zero character - in getting behind three games-to-two with Game 6 slated for Thursday night in Beantown and we'll delve more into this wacky best-of-seven series in a moment but first this important message:

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the NBA Playoffs and MLB winners each and every day when you either call the toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else when you go online right here. Check-in times are after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday afternoon Baseball games; after 1 p.m. ET for all the NBA and MLB weeknight games; and, of course, anytime after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays. Go ahead and pile up your spring-time profits with America's #1 Handicapper - the one-and-only Jim Hurley.

Okay, so let's tip things off first with a look at this NBA post-season from a pointspread perspective:

NBA PLAYOFFS - POINTSPREAD NOTES
(Thru Tuesday, May 11)

Round I Favorites

29-15-1

.659

Round II Favorites

  8-9-0

.471

Playoff Favorites

37-24-1

.607

As you can see, the NBA Playoff chalk still rules the roost in this year's post-season although the Celtics' Game 5 upset win has pushed underdog sides to the plus side of the .500 mark in second-round play.

EASTERN CONFERENCE

Boston 120, Cleveland 88 - Celtics lead series 3-2
Game 6 is Thursday at 8 p.m. ET

Let it be known that LeBron James wasn't the only Cavaliers player to stink up Quicken Loans Arena on Tuesday night: Sure "The King" scored just 15 points on 3-of-14 shooting from the floor (he didn't score his first field goal till halfway through the third quarter) but where was the supporting cast to lift their respective games?

The East's top seed - down 50-44 at the halftime break - allowed back-to-back triples by the Celtics right out of the chute in the third quarter and, truth be told, the Cavaliers never did get close the rest of the way.

No doubt that the Celtics had something to do with the "off" game by Cleveland as Doc Rivers' well-prepared team won points in the paint 44-to-30, won second-chance points 23-to-7 and really/truly won all the hustle plays out there with veterans Paul Pierce (21 points and 11 rebounds), Kevin Garnett (18 points and 6 boards) and Ray Allen (25 points including 6 made triples) playing with a little extra pep in their collective step

The fact that point guard Rajon Rondo was invisible in the first half - he wound up with a decent stat line of 16 points and 7 assists - didn't matter to the Celts who now need to nail down Game 6 or else they'll be forced to win three games in Cleveland in order to advance to the Eastern Conferences Finals versus Orlando.

A Game 6 prediction: It goes without saying that James must take the bull by the horns here and take over this game but Cleveland also must get A+ efforts from the likes of Anderson Varejao and Delonte West, two reserves that need to energize the Cavs in the 30-or-more combined minutes they're likely to get here.

Or else it's onto the free agency market for James - with Cleveland probably not having as good a chance at signing him as it thought just days ago.

Hey, that's a discussion for another day!

Here is the game-by-game breakdown of the Cavaliers-Celtics series while heading into Thursday's Game 6 (all home teams are in CAPS):

DATE

FAV

SPREAD

RESULT

5-1

CLEVELAND

- 7

CLEVELAND 101-93

5-3

CLEVELAND

- 6

Boston 104-86

5-7

BOSTON

- 1

Cleveland 124-95

5-9

Cleveland

- 1.5

BOSTON 97-87

5-11

CLEVELAND

- 7

Boston 120-88

BEANTOWN BRAWL

 What a showdown is ahead of us in Beantown tonight, as Cleveland and Boston go at it in Game 6. This is about survival and advancement now and the Jim Hurley Network is supremely confident we've got the winner. Our Vegas connections have come through and we've found that the strong opinion of our NBA experts correspond to the view of the three top syndicates on the Strip. When there's this sort of agreement, the game wins at 90 percent! Will Boston stop LeBron? Will the Cavs team that buried Boston at this building in Game 3 show up, or will the one that lost here in Game 4 be on hand again. WE KNOW! And we'll get the money! It's a Beantown Brawl, but the only one who's going to be knocked flat at night's end is your bookie!

CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP ONLINE FOR $15
or call the office at 1-800-323-4453

Now, here's to the winners in the other conference semifinal rounds:
     ORLANDO - The Magic know all about "sitting tight" after sweeping a playoff opponent as Stan Van Gundy's guys will have (at least) a handful of days to prep for the next foe in the Eastern Conference Finals.
     Both Charlotte and Atlanta were whisked away in four straight - the Magic wound up winning the games in the Hawks' series by an average of 25 points - and can you believe here's an NBA team that has not lost a game of any kind since April 2nd: San Antonio 112, Orlando 100 ... remember?
     No doubt you can point to a slew of reasons why Orlando is sitting back with its feet up right now after extinguishing an overrated Atlanta team but you gotta hand it to Van Gundy who has this club ultra-focused on a nightly basis and thus a six-game winning streak to wrap up regular-season play and now an 8-and-oh SU (straightup) mark in the post-season.
     The Magic's defense has been stepped up to a new level - note that Orlando held Atlanta to 40.5 percent shooting from the floor in Monday's easy series-clinching 98-84 win at Phillips Arena - while Magic point guard Jameer Nelson (16 points and 9 assists in Game 4) has proven to one-and-all that he should be mentioned among the top handful of NBA point guards.
     Center Dwight Howard had a pedestrian stat line of 13 points and 8 rebounds in the clincher but - then again - who needed a monster night from "Superman" as Orlando's three-point bomb-away nature (16-of-37 from beyond the arc) set the tone here and now it's sit-and-wait time for Orlando ... again!
     Here was the final game-by-game breakdown of the Magic-Hawks series:

DATE

FAV

SPREAD

RESULT

5-4

ORLANDO

- 9

ORLANDO 114-71

5-6

ORLANDO

- 9.5

ORLANDO 112-98

5-8

Orlando

- 2.5

Orlando 105-75

5-10

Orlando

- 6

Orlando 98-84


WESTERN CONFERENCE

LOS ANGELES LAKERS - Just call it a case of been there, done that.

When the Lakers completed their four-game Western Conference semifinal series sweep of the Utah Jazz, it marked the third time in as many years that LA eliminated Jerry Sloan's crew from the post-season - but, more importantly, it showed that the Lakers' "killer instinct" was alive and well.

There had been some talk in that six-game series win against Oklahoma City in Round I that the Lakers might have let their foot off the gas pedal in a couple of games but that surely wasn't the case here as F/C Pau Gasol (33 points and 14 rebounds in the 111-96 clincher in Game 4) and guard Kobe Bryant (32 points in the close-out win) turned into cold-blooded on-court killers with big baskets/free throws every time the Jazz inched close.

Now, the Lakers will have a week's wait till opening up the Western Conference Finals at home against Phoenix - and we'll have plenty to analyze in the coming days.

Here was the final game-by-game breakdown of the Lakers-Jazz series:

DATE

FAV

SPREAD

RESULT

5-2

LAKERS

- 6.5

LAKERS 104-99

5-4

LAKERS

- 5.5

LAKERS 111-103

5-8

UTAH

- 4.5

Lakers 111-110

5-10

UTAH

- 3.5

Lakers 111-96

 
PHOENIX - Memo to the rest of the NBA: These aren't your older brother's Phoenix Suns!

Nope, those teams in the 2000s always wound up getting sand kicked in their faces (and, more often than not, by the San Antonio Spurs) but nowadays Alvin Gentry's club has grit, has guts and even plays defense!

Okay, so no one will ever confuse the 2009-10 Suns with the old Detroit Pistons or even those six-time champion Chicago Bulls teams but Phoenix did batten down the hatches on "D" in key moments in that series versus the Spurs and we all saw the toughness from the Phoenix bunch from point guard Steve Nash playing with one eye swollen shut for the last quarter-plus in Game 4 to the likes of reserves Jared Dudley (16 points and 6 rebs in Game 4) out-fighting San Ant's more experienced players for key boards and loose balls.

If you put an effort-meter on the Suns for that series sweep over the four-time champion Spurs, then it would have registered off-the-charts numbers as Phoenix never hung its head when down and never showed any cracks in their armor with bench players (see Game 3 hero Goran Dragic) real heroes in these games and with Nash, Amar'e Stoudemire (29 points in Game 4) and Grant Hill (all the intangible plays all series long) all playing superb team ball.

Here was the final game-by-game breakdown of the Suns-Spurs series:

DATE

FAV

SPREAD

RESULT

5-3

PHOENIX

- 4

PHOENIX 111-102

5-5

PHOENIX

- 3

PHOENIX 110-102

5-7

SAN ANTONIO

- 7

Phoenix 110-96

5-9

SAN ANTONIO

- 4.5

Phoenix 107-101


MORE NFL 2010 SCHEDULE STUFF: TAKING A PEEK AT WHAT'S IN STORE FOR THE COLTS, VIKES & CHARGERS

Let's take a look at three more NFL teams and what's in store with their 2010 regular-season schedule:

INDIANAPOLIS - The defending AFC champs face what's considered to be the 11th-toughest schedule in the league this coming season but take note that the usual cat-quick start for the Colts may be tough to achieve. Indianapolis plays three of its first four games on the road - including stops in Houston, Denver and Jacksonville and note the Colts only play two home games before ever getting to their Week 7 bye.

Obviously, the flip side of this rather rugged start is that Indy will play four of its final six regular-season games at home in Lucas Oil Stadium and the lone road game the final three weeks of play is at Oakland - so don't be surprised if this Colts team finishes with a flurry (providing they need the games).

If you wish to circle a couple of marquee matchups on this 2010 Colts card, then look at Week 2 - it's the Manning Brothers Bowl with the New York Giants coming to town - and then check out the Sunday Night game against the visiting San Diego Chargers on Thanksgiving Weekend (Nov. 28th). Both of these non-divisional affairs will go a long way in determining whether or not Indy gets a #1 or #2 seed in this year's AFC Playoff picture.


MINNESOTA - Here's what catches your eye when it comes to the 2010 Vikings' schedule: With or without QB Brett Favre, this NFC North crew has non-divisional road games at New Orleans (the season-opening Thursday Night game on Sept. 9th), at the New York Jets (Week 5), at New England (Week 8) and at Philadelphia (Week 16) and so it's not a total leap to say Minny might lose all of the above away tilts and may have to pile up the wins inside its division if it wants to make the post-season this year.

The Vikings also have the unusual - yet pleasant - experience of playing back-to-back-to-back home games in Weeks 13-14-15 (versus Buffalo, the New York Giants and Chicago with the latter tilt a Monday Night Football affair). Minnesota's toughest stretch of games comes during the Weeks 5-thru-Week 8 portion of the schedule when the Vikes play at the Jets, home to Dallas, at Green Bay and at New England and you know head coach Brad Childress would sign for a split in this quartet of games.

SAN DIEGO - No doubt the fortunes of NFL teams can change quickly from year-to-year but right now the league's saying this 2010 Chargers club will be playing the 29th-toughest schedule (or, in other words, the fourth-easiest sked) and note SD has a nine-week stretch from Week 7 thru Week 15 where the Bolts play six home games plus there's the Week 10 bye.

This AFC West crew will be playing three games on "short weeks" with two Sunday games following Monday Night Football tilts in Week 1 and Week 11 and then don't forget that Norv Turner's team hosts San Francisco on Thursday, Dec. 16th on the heels of a divisional home game against Kansas City in Week 14 play.

Here's one footnote to check out on this here-and-now San Diego schedule:

The Chargers will only play two games at the 1 p.m. Eastern time slot - road games in St. Louis in Week 6 and at Houston in Week 9 play - and the Chargers are slated for five prime-time games and that figure could go higher if SD's "flexed" into this time slot in the final regular-season weekend against Denver.

NOTE: More NBA Playoffs and Baseball Updates in the next edition of Jim Sez.

18
Aug
19
Aug

Today’s Hot Plays