Hurley Sweeps on Tuesday
Grizzlies (+5.5) Clippers 103-93
Yankees (1.5 Runs -135) Astros 7-4
Blue Jays (+120) Red Sox 9-7
Jim Sez for Wednesday, May 1 ...
OUR NBA PLAYOFFS MID-WEEK UPDATE -
WILL THE KNICKS AND/OR THUNDER DELIVER THE
FIRST-ROUND KO BLOWS TONIGHT? ...
BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES:
A MONTH INTO THE SEASON
AND HERE’S OUR BIGGEST SURPRISE TEAM
(AND THE BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT TOO!)
We seemingly ask this question each and every NBA Playoffs season … and so we shall ask it again:
Will we be witnessing many – or any – seven-game series here in Round I?
Gotta believe that those four-game sweep-‘em series by both the Miami Heat and the San Antonio Spurs in this post-season round proved to one and all that these marquee teams “meant business” but there’s still a relatively strong chance that both the Eastern Conference set between the Atlanta Hawks and the Indiana Pacers and the Western Conference set between the Memphis Grizzlies versus the Los Angeles Clippers both could go the distance – now that would be lots of fun, eh?
Meanwhile, today we will turn our Jim Sez attention to a pair of Game #5’s tonight where a pair of home teams look to lock down their first-round playoff series.
The New York Knicks have not won a playoff series since 2000 – really! – and so if Mike Woodson’s three-point-minded team really wants to get “The Big Apple” talkin’ hoops than it will bust Boston this evening at the “World’s Most Famous Arena” while out West the defending conference champion Oklahoma City Thunder goes for the knockout blow against the pesky Houston Rockets.
All of that Jim Sez analysis in a moment but first let’s get you up to snuff with some key NBA Playoff Pointspread Stats:
Through Monday night, NBA Playoff Favorites stood at 19-14 ATS (against the spread) for a solid .576 winning rate and it’s worth noting through the league’s first 33 post-season games that Road Favorites are actually below the .500 mark at 3-4 versus the vig – just sayin’!
NBA PLAYOFFS POINTSPREAD CHART
(thru Monday, April 29)
TEAM WON LOSS TIE PCT
Golden State 4 0 0 1.000
San Antonio 4 0 0 1.000
Memphis 3 1 0 .750
Miami 3 1 0 .750
Brooklyn 3 2 0 .600
Atlanta 2 2 0 .500
Boston 2 2 0 .500
Houston 2 2 0 .500
Indiana 2 2 0 .500
New York 2 2 0 .500
Oklahoma City 2 2 0 .500
Brooklyn 2 3 0 .400
LA Clippers 1 3 0 .250
Milwaukee 1 3 0 .250
Denver 0 4 0 .000
LA Lakers 0 4 0 .000
Now hear this …
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers are proving once again that they are the champions of the NBA Playoffs and stay with us straight through the end of June plus there are loads of winners this 2013 Major-League Baseball season too and so sign up today and get it all – Hoops and Baseball every day and nights!
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THE NBA PLAYOFFS –
In Eastern Conference action, it's ...
#7 BOSTON at #2 NEW YORK – Knicks lead series 3-1
No one needs to remind the Boston Celtics that 24 good minutes of basketball inside Madison Square Garden simply ain’t good enough.
The Celtics – who staved off elimination and thus a four-games-to-none series sweep with last Sunday’s 97-90 overtime win against 1 ½-point favorite New York – came out of halftime asleep in both Game #1 and Game #2 in this series and so head coach Doc Rivers must get his club’s energy level up here and the Knicks – on the other hand – must not fall into the trap of believing the league’s leading scorer Carmelo Anthony must take every single shot!
Okay, so no big deal that Anthony missed 25 of his 35 field-goal attempts last Sunday in Beantown as he was expected to haul up a bunch of shots with the absence of then-suspended Sixth Man star J.R. Smith but how about the fact that the Knicks reserves scored a grand total of 7 points in that Game #4 loss?
The game plan for the Knicks here is get into the paint via the drive-and-dish moves of New York point guard Raymond Felton (27 points and 3 assists in Game #4) and get better screens set up so Anthony isn’t guarded so closely on his three-point attempts – and that means Boston PG Avery Bradley must take some charges and harass Felton big-time or else it’ll be curtains for Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Company.
One key factor to keep in mind here:
The Celtics pulled down just three offensive rebounds in that Sunday win – the Knicks, meanwhile, snagged 16 offensive boards in that tilt – and no doubt that the C’s won’t be around past this evening if that stat line isn’t fixed … are you listening, Brandon Bass and friends?
In the Western Conference, it's ...
#8 HOUSTON at #1 OKLAHOMA CITY – Thunder leads series 3-1
Wonder how OKC’s Serge Ibaka slept following Monday night’s 105-103 loss in Houston?
Ibka – now famously – missed that easy put-back lay-up at the buzzer that would have forced overtime in Game 4 but instead the Rockets lived to play for another day and Ibaka was forced to answer about a gazillion questions about that fateful miss.
But here’s a news flash for any/all Thunder fans: Without PG Russell Westbrook -- who is out for at least the next few weeks -- Okie City must show a bit more toughness:
Consider that the Rockets out-boarded Oklahoma City 39-to-36 in that Game #4 lollapalooza plus Houston managed to drain 12-of-27 three-point tries – that’s a nifty 44.4 percent accuracy rate – and we’re wondering why Scott Brooks’ team is often one step late to the dance on “D” (and would that necessarily be the case if the aforementioned Westbrook was playing?).
Now, the Thunder’s back home in what figures to be the close-out game of this series but folks will be closely watching to see if superstar scorer Kevin Durant (38 points in Game #4 on 12-of-16 FG tries to go along with 13-of-15 free throws) gets more triple looks – note four Thunder teammates attempted more treys than did Durant who nailed 1-of-2 from beyond the arc – and whether Houston’s bench brigade starring a emotionally-charged Carlos Delfino (see 13 points and lots of hustle plays in Game #4) can make some noise here.
THE BASEBALL REPORT
The 2013 MLB season is a month old but plenty has happened from coast-to-coast and here’s a couple of quick-hitters:
SURPRISE TEAM -
BOSTON (18-7) – “Sweet Caroline” indeed!
The Red Sox were expected to be pack in the pack in the American League East but manager John Farrell’s club is playing .720 ball while ranking third in the league in scoring (averaging 5.1 runs a game) and the one-two punch of RHP Clay Buchholz (5-0, 1.19 ERA) and LHP Jon Lester (4-0, 2.27 ERA) has been dynamic. Hats off to the Bosox for their “healing” part of the post-Boston Marathon bombings as this pride-of-New England team has been the numero uno surprise team in the bigs with a very honorable mention going out to the Colorado Rockies (16-10).
MOST DISAPPOINTING TEAM -
LOS ANGELES ANGELS (9-16) – It would have been easy to stay right there in the aforementioned AL East and make this year’s Toronto Blue Jays (9-17) the here-and-now Most Disappointing Team in the big leagues one month into this current campaign but the injury to SS Jose Reyes and the apparent neck problems being endured by RHP R.A. Dickey has us calling the Halos the biggest busts at this stage. Note that the Angels entered Tuesday’s action with a wobbly 3-10 road mark and how about the fact that right now LAA ranks 13th in the league in team ERA (4.72) and ninth in both runs scored (3.88 runs per game) and total home runs (20) and did you happen to notice where RF Josh Hamilton went 0-of-8 with three strikeouts in Monday’s 10-8 loss in 19 innings?
BEST INDIVIDUAL STORY -
MARIANO RIVERA, NEW YORK YANKEES – Same old, same old you say?
Well, consider that the Yankees’ ancient closer – soon to be an author of some renown – has bounced back from last year’s early-May season-ending knee injury and already has registered nine saves and that marks a personal high for most saves in a month in this Hall of Fame career. The stats are as follows: 10 innings pitched with 10 strikeouts and 1 walk with a 1.80 ERA.
Hey, what if Rivera’s farewell season wound up being his best ever? Wow!
NOTE: More NBA Playoff News & Notes in the next edition of Jim Sez.
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