NBA Sunday Playoff Previews

NBA SUNDAY GAME PREVIEWS

By Jim Hurley:

First things first:

The NBA Playoffs Opening Round ended after 43 games in all and did you know that NBA Betting Favorites went a horrific 15-26-2 ATS (against the spread) during the first-round (folks, that's a lowly .366 winning percentage)?

Maybe law-of-average guys/gals then will be looking for the chalk to "even things out" here in Round II but - than again - maybe it's simply one of those years where dogs keep on barking right through the hoops post-season ... so stay tuned!

We'll get to the Western Conference Semifinal Series pitting #8 Memphis versus #4 Oklahoma City plus the Eastern Conference Semifinal series between #3 Boston versus #2 Miami in just a second - both sets begin Sunday while the two other best-of-seven series (that's #5 Atlanta versus #1 Chicago in the East and #3 Dallas versus the #2 seed Los Angeles Lakers in the West) get underway come Monday night.:

First, this quickie reminder as we head into a great sports weekend:   There's lots of NBA Playoff and Major-League Baseball action on the daily menu and Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers get you all the winners each/every day when you either call our toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 or else when you go online right here. Keep in mind the check-in times are after 11 a.m. ET for the weekday afternoon Baseball games; anytime after 1 p.m. ET for all weeknight NBA Playoffs and MLB games; and after 10 a.m. ET on Saturdays and Sundays. Keep on piling up the profits in Hoops and Baseball right here with America's #1 Handicapper.    

THE NBA PLAYOFFS - ROUND II PREVIEWS

WESTERN CONFERENCE
    
MEMPHIS at OKLAHOMA CITY - Game #1, 1 p.m. ET

As one can see by our Jim Sez chart below, the Grizzlies copped three-of-four regular-season head-to-head showdowns with the Thunder and that included an early February overtime triumph in Okie City - so there's really no need to ask here whether or not "Can Memphis win on the road"?

If Memphis is gonna pull a second straight playoff series surprise than the numero uno priority here is a no-brainer mission:

Keep NBA leading scorer Kevin Durant from going nuts as he did in Oklahoma City's five-game series win against Denver. Durant - who takes (and usually makes) all the big shots for Scott Brooks' squad - finished that series with 41, 23, 26, 31 and 41 points and he can bank on seeing lots of defensive looks here and one thing the Grizz might like to do is pick up Durant once he crosses half-court and than "body" him for much of the 24-second clock. Hey, it can't hurt!

Conversely, the Memphis scoring machine that is lefty F Zack Randolph registered 25 points or more in three wins in that six-game set against top-seeded San Antonio and he must get off 20-to-25 shots here per game or it will be hazardous to Memphis' overall health. Hey, keep an eye peeled on Memphis rookie G Greivis Vasquez who scored 11 points and chipped in some defense (and a keen alley-oop pass to Randolph) in 23 minutes of action in Game #6 as he stepped in neatly for a foul-prone Mike Conley.

This series - as we stated in yesterday's Jim Sez - is likely gonna get lost in the shuffle with the other big-name playoff series out there ... but it shouldn't!

Note that all home teams are in CAPS in the accompanying charts below:

DATE

FAV

SPREAD

RESULT

1-4

Oklahoma City

- 1

MEMPHIS 110-105

1-8

OKLAHOMA CITY

- 7

OKLAHOMA CITY 109-100

2-8

OKLAHOMA CITY

- 7

Memphis 105-101(OT)

3-7

MEMPHIS

- 3

MEMPHIS 107-101


EASTERN CONFEERENCE

    
BOSTON at MIAMI - Game #1, 3:30 p.m. ET

Let's just call this one the NBA's version of a "steel-cage match" as Celtics-Heat will be intense, it will be emotional and - it's safe to say - it probably will be very long too ... hey, we haven't had a playoff series go the distance so far and this might be the one!

No doubt that Boston's four-game playoff series sweep over the New York Knicks was a bit funky in that the C's easily could have lost Game #1 and/or Game #2 at home while the flip side says that, save for a couple of asleep-at-the-wheel moments late in Game #4 at Philadelphia, the Miami Heat easily could have swept that series four in a row - guess what we're saying here is that a bounce of the ball here or there would have reversed roles for these two teams and than maybe the "experts" would have been looking at this series from a slightly different perspective.

There will be a "rest versus rust" deal going here in Game #1 for Boston - note that Doc Rivers' veteran-flavored club has not played since last Sunday when it disposed of the Knicks 101-89 at Madison Square Garden - but will that throw off ace scorers Paul Pierce and/or Ray Allen (they combined for 27-of-46 triples in Round I while averaging 22.2 and 22.0 points per game, respectively)?

On the other side of the coin, the Heat - whose "Big Three" of LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh combined to average 66 points a game in the series win against the 76ers - don't exactly live-and-die with triples (only 28 Heat trifectas in the five-game series with Philly) but it says here someone's gonna have to generate some long-distance jumpers (is G Mario Chalmers the key after draining 10 triples against Philadelphia?) or else there's a very good chance that Heat head coach Erik Spoelstra will be answering questions from now till doomsday.

Note from the chart here that these Boston-Miami games could just as easily be played in the 80s as in the 100s but if you're looking to zoom in on a key number than it's this: The Heat must hold the Celtics to 33 percent shooting (or less) from beyond the three-point arc.

DATE

FAV

SPREAD

RESULT

10-26

Miami

- 1

BOSTON 88-80

11-11

MIAMI

- 7.5

Boston 112-107

2-13

Miami

- 3

BOSTON 85-82

4-10

MIAMI

- 5.5

MIAMI 100-77

NOTE: More NBA Playoffs News/Notes in the next Jim Sez.

22
Nov

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