The NBA Playoffs Midweek Report

THE NBA PLAYOFFS MID-WEEK REPORT:

THE HEAT "HOLD SERVE" (AND IT'S EASY STREET HERE, FOLKS) AND NOW GO UP THREE GAMES TO TWO IN BAD BLOOD SERIES AGAINST THE PACERS ...PLUS TONIGHT'S CELTICS-76ERS GAME 6 PREVIEW TOO!

By Jim Hurley:

Someone call the police department!

The Miami Heat's lopsided 115-83 win in Game 5 of their Eastern Conference semifinal series against the Indiana Pacers last night made as many late-night highlight shows for the brutal on-court activities as it did for the hoops made by the likes of LeBron James (30 points on 12-of-19 field-goal shooting) and born-again G Dwyane Wade (28 points on 10-of-17 FG shooting).

Not only was Wade karate-chopped in the head by Indiana reserve Tyler Hansbrough - they do still call him "Pyscho", you know! - but there was Miami forward Udonis Haslem retaliating with a major body block to Hansbrough and thus expect Mr. Haslem (a true Game 4 hero, remember) to earn a one-game suspension for Thursday's Game 6 clash in Indianapolis.

Toss into the mix the very late elbow thrown at Indiana's unpopular youngin' Lance Stephenson - he of the infamous choke sign to James earlier this season after The King missed some critical free throws - and you have the makings tomorrow night of an old-fashioned donnybrook elimination game.

Hey, it's a lot like Celtics-Lakers back in the mid-1980s for all of you NBA fans who can remember back a quarter century ago!

Two things regarding last night's Miami victory that has nothing to do with all the knockdowns, elbows and band-aids:

The Heat crushed the Pacers 49-to-35 on the boards and now Indy may have to go without forwards Danny Granger and/or David West after both exited with injuries (check status) and no doubt Indiana needs the bench to be more active on the glass here;

Secondly, Miami now knows the "tough guy" act by Indy has worn a touch thin and so going to the rim hard is key here ... did you see where Miami had a 46-to-26 points-in-the-paint advantage in Game 5?

There's been plenty of real-life drama in this Heat-Pacers series ever since it began back on Mother's Day and now Indiana is the one facing the end of its season.

Perhaps it's truly time to get tough here for Frank Vogel's guys but it's tough to win "the war" with all these wounded soldiers.

Tune in tomorrow night and see if the Heat's headed back to a second consecutive Eastern Conference Finals or are we all headed for a Game 7 come Saturday.

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are rock-n-rolling through this year's NBA Playoffs and we will continue to bang out the post-season winners right through the end of June plus get all the 2012 Major-League Baseball Winners too -- so sign up today and get it all as that's plenty of Hoops and Baseball action every day and night! 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.

EASTERN CONFERENCE
Tonight at 8 p.m. ET, it's ... BOSTON at PHILADELPHIA - Celtics lead series 3-2
Can somebody win back-to-back games in this series ... just wonderin'!

It's the Celtics opportunity this evening to close down and close out the Philly 76ers and it's Boston that's gunning for back-to-back wins in a best-of-seven series that has experienced more than just a few momentum swings.

The latest swing - in Boston's favor - came two nights ago when a chap named Brandon Bass poured in a game-high 27 points (in 37 very active minutes) and whether it was some forceful dunks or his nifty free-throw shooting (see 9-of-10 from the charity stripe) the fact of the matter is the player the C's acquired from Orlando in that Glen "Big Baby" trade back in the dead of winter really paid major dividends here on a night when the now "Big Four" of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, Ray Allen and Rajon Rondo combined to shoot just 19-of-41 from the floor with Allen's return to the starting lineup not exactly translating into a big night (just 5 points in 33 minutes).

Okay, so something tells us that Bass isn't gonna go for another 27 points here in Game 6 and that Allen had better pump up some triples - the smooth-stroking guard connected on just 1-of-5 trifectas in Game 5 - but maybe the single-biggest key for this tilt (and note the Sixers are 2-point betting favorites at press time) is that Philadelphia must make more points happen off offensive rebounds. The 76ers snagged 14 offensive boards in Game 5 but didn't convert all that many of them into put-back baskets plus it's become evident that Philly needs to get another big scorer into the mix the way Bass came through with flying colors for Boston the other night.

Perhaps C Steve Hawes (10 points in Game 5) -- who was a much bigger offensive factor in the Round I series triumph over Chicago - can ratchet up his offensive game here.

Here's how the Celtics-76ers Eastern Conference Semifinal Series has gone so far (note all home teams are in CAPS):

DATE FAV SPREAD DOG RESULT
5-12 BOSTON - 5.5 Philadelphia BOSTON 92-91
5-14 BOSTON - 4.5 Philadelphia Philadelphia 82-81
5-16 PHILADELPHIA - 2 Boston Boston 107-91
5-18 PHILADELPHIA - 2 Boston PHILADELPHIA 92-83
5-21 BOSTON - 5.5 Philadelphia BOSTON 101-85

Here's our up-to-date NBA Playoff Pointspread Standings - here we've only included those teams that are playing or already played in the conference semifinal round:

NBA PLAYOFF POINTSPREAD STANDINGS
(thru Tuesday, May 22)

TEAM

WON

LOSS

PUSH

PCT

San Antonio

6

2

0

.750

Miami

6

3

1

.667

Oklahoma City

5

3

1

.625

Philadelphia

6

5

0

.545

Indiana

5

5

0

.500

Boston

5

6

0

.454

LA Lakers

4

7

1

.364

LA Clippers

4

6

1

.400

Note that NBA Playoff Betting Favorites enter the Boston-Philadelphia Game 6 clash with a 33-27-3 ATS (against the spread) mark - a .550 winning rate.

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