Thursday Night NBA & NFL Draft: DT's

HERE’S THE THURSDAY NITE NBA PLAYOFF MENU WITH THE BEST-OF-7 SERIES’ SHIFTING TO ATLANTA, MEMPHIS & GOLDEN HERE’S THE THURSDAY NITE

OUR NFL DRAFT REPORT: THE TOP DEFENSIVE TACKLES

It’s time for a change of scenery: For the first time in these NBA Playoffs, we’re shifting venues as the Indiana Pacers, Oklahoma City Thunder and the Los Angeles Clippers are all goin’ on the road to try and win back their long-lost home-court advantage.

We’ll preview all three of these Thursday night games in Round One of the NBA Playoffs and make sure you stay with us all through this final weekend in April as we dissect everything hoops-related right here at Jim Sez.

And one more reminder while we’re at it …Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers/Bloggers continue to be all geared up for theNBA Playoffs that roll on this week winning 6 of our last 7 – so just go online right here online or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day during these NBA Playoffs and we’ll send you straight into the winner’s circle. Remember that it’s not too late to sign up now for the entire NBA Playoffs. Plus, there’s Major-League Baseball on tap every day and so the time is just right to cash in big this spring as the NBA Playoffs and Baseball pounds out major profits!

On Thursday night, it’s …

EASTERN CONFERENCE
INDIANA at ATLANTA
– Series tied 1-1; 7 p.m. ET, NBA TV
Just when you thought the Indiana Pacers were on life support, va-voom!
The Pacers roared to a 101-85 win in Game 2 over the 7 ½-point underdog Atlanta Hawks, thanks to that scintillating 53-33 second-half surge, and so suddenly everything is not all gloom-and-doom for Frank Vogel’s squad as it pulls into town.

No doubt that do-everything star Paul George stepped to the forefront for Indy in Game 2 – some folks will claim it was about time! – with his 27 points, 10 rebounds and 6 assists while mate George Hill poured in all of his 15 points following intermission (when the Pacers trailed 52-48) and so the $64,000 question here is can Indiana stay on the straight-and-narrow path here and snag back the home-court advantage or are the “dysfunctional” Pacers gonna show their ugly heads here in Game 3?

If Atlanta wishes to bounce back from that tough-to-stomach loss, than may we suggest F Paul Millsap and G Jeff Teague get off more than 25 total FG tries here (they combined to go 12-of-25 from the floor for 33 points) as Atlanta fans would rather see these guys hoisting ‘em up rather than reserve G Lou Williams attempt 12 shots (while hitting only four of ‘em).

Maybe Indiana’s 25-2 second-half spurt in Game 2 will be what turned the beat around for the Pacers this early in the post-season but this could still get dicey for the East’s top seed – let’s see if Teague can free himself from George here and whether the hosts can hit more triples after going just 10-of-29 from beyond the arc in Game 2.

(Note all Home Teams are in CAPS below)

DATE

WINNER

SPREAD

LOSER

SCORE

4-19

Atlanta

+ 8

INDIANA

101-93

4-22

INDIANA

- 7.5

Atlanta

101-85

         
WESTERN CONFERENCE
OKLAHOMA CITY at MEMPHIS
– Series tied 1-1; 8 p.m. ET, TNT
It’s starting to look like this is gonna be a real bump-and-grind series, after all. The Memphis Grizzlies – who blew a nine-point fourth-quarter lead in Monday’s wild 111-105 overtime win at Oklahoma City in Game 2 play and then still came back to win – now get to see what home court means to them after wresting away home-court advantage with that victory that featured nifty 43-of-87 field-goal shooting (that’s 49.4 percent), some dazzling interior passing to and from big men Zach Randolph (25 points) and Marc Gasol (16 points and 7 assists) and enough defense that helped to hold Okie City gunners Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook to a combined 23-of-56 from the floor.

No doubt that bonehead foul on Gasol on the late-game four-point play by Durant was gonna live in infamy in Memphis hoops history but, thankfully for the Grizz, they dominated the overtime session while playing more composed than the Thunder – we don’t know if we’re “picking on” Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks but for a guy that’s now been around the block some at playoff time he and his players still do some silly things late in close games and we’re including Durant here too as careless turnovers at just the wrong time seem to follow this club around come the post-season.

Maybe the biggest part of this Game 3 battle royal will revolve around OKC’s three-point shooting as the Thunder nailed just 9-of-30 trifectas in Game 2 with Durant (game-high 36 points) netting 5-of-12 triples while the likes of Westbrook (1-of-7) and mates made good on just 4-of-18 triple tries … not good enough and not likely that defensive-minded Memphis will allow lots of “clean looks” here and so put-back baskets like the one Kendrick Perkins scored at the regulation buzzer may be a major staple of play here for the Thunder.

What to watch for with the Grizzlies?

Another solid night from reserves Mike Miller (3-of-4 triples in Game 2 including a monster trey late) and lefty G Beno Udrih – his 14 points on 6-of-8 shooting was the forgotten stat of the night as Memphis simply does not win Game 2 without his contributions – were key and gotta believe the bench guys will be in top form here. It’s your move, Okie City!

DATE

WINNER

SPREAD

LOSER

SCORE

4-19

OKLA CITY

- 8

Memphis

100-86

4-21

Memphis

+ 6.5

OKLA CITY

111-105 (ot)


LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS at GOLDEN STATE
– Series tied 1-1; 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Hey, if you happened to stay up for the entire Game 2 blowout – Clippers by 40 – than bless your soul but the truth of the matter is that “get even” game for Doc Rivers’ squad wasn’t close from the proverbial get-go as Billy Crystal’s favorite hoops team charged out to a 14-4 lead and never looked back but afterwards a quickie review of the game’s key numbers really told it all:

The Clips nailed 12-of-25 three-point shots, hit on 57 percent of their overall field-goal attempts (that’s 47 makes in 83 attempts) and drained a playoff-record 32-of-35 free throws and maybe – just maybe – left the G-State Warriors with a few scars on their collective psyche.

Afterwards, Warriors head coach Mark Jackson called his team’s performance “awful” and said the Clippers played like a “desperate basketball team” and now you wonder if Golden State will play with that sort of intensity here while trying to snag the home-court advantage in this best-of-seven set.

Memo to the Warriors is they better get G Stephen Curry (a misleading 25 points in Game 2) involved from the very start as he scored 20 points in the third quarter when the Clips weren’t even allowing Golden State a sniff and how about the fact the Warriors committed 26 turnovers to boot?

Maybe the home court cooking will do wonders for a Warriors club that needs two-guard Klay Thompson (7 points in 20 minutes in Game 2) to come alive here and gotta say that the absence of injured F/C Andrew Bogut is exposing Jackson’s club in the paint where Jermaine O’Neal (4 points in 15 minutes in Game 2) must shake a leg.
The Clippers rode the 35-point showing of ultra-aggressive F Blake Griffin to victory lane on Monday night – Griffin shot 13-of-17 from the floor and 9-of-10 from the foul line) but we happened to be quite impressed with former Indiana Pacers star Danny Granger who moved free-and-easy and finished Game 2 with 15 points and 3 boards before fouling out and if he’s a major contributor off the pine here, then Golden State’s in mucho trouble!

DATE

WINNER

SPREAD

LOSER

SCORE

4-19

Golden State

+ 7.5

LA CLIPPERS

109-105

4-21

LA CLIPPERS

- 8

Golden State

138-98

THE NFL DRAFT REPORT

Our extensive Jim Sez NFL Draft coverage rolls on with a look at the top incoming Defensive Tackles:

AARON DONALD, Pittsburgh – This city of Pittsburgh native son is considered a borderline top 10 prospect this year but there are questions as to whether or not he’s “undersized” at 6-feet-1 (and 285 pounds). Donald has a lightning-quick first step and is strong enough/active enough and if the rumor mill is correct than he’ll wind up with Detroit at pick #10 or with the New York Giants two picks later. The former Panthers star is an instant impact player on this next level and you might even see a power team trade up for him here (could it be you, Indianapolis?).

TIMMY JERNIGAN, Florida State – Here’s a 6-foot-2, 300-pounder who is considered “light on his feet” and the scouting reports claim the Florida native handles double-teams extremely well but isn’t always quick off the snap. A major part of Florida State’s national championship team, Jernigan figures to be drafted somewhere in the top 20 picks with Dallas at #16 and Arizona at #20 possible destinations. P.S., his pro team hopes he doesn’t get winded at crunch time as was the case in the BCS Championship Game versus Aubun.

LOUIS NIX, Notre Dame – Last year’s issues included knee woes, some weight problems and a sometimes perceived lack of hustle when he did get on the field for the Fighting Irish but still all signs point to Nix becoming a first-round draftee with any of the top 20-to-25 teams potentially gobbling up this 6-foot-2, 333-pounder. Gut feeling is he’ll drop a tad more than the draftniks claim – we say Nix probably goes to New Orleans at pick #27.

STEPHON TUITT, Notre Dame – This 6-foot-6, 305-pounder likely will be a second-round draft choice but some folks believe his athleticism/power/quickness will be too much to pass up in Round One and so he may sneak into the top 32 picks come the May 8th NFL Draft. Not always the most consistent player on the field, he could do well by going to a team with a strong D-line mentality. Could the Super Bowl champ Seattle Seahawks land him at the end of Round One? Perhaps but more likely to drop to a 35-to-40 pick.

RA’SHEDE HAGEMAN, Minnesota – Here’s a 6-foot-6, 310-pounder who often lined up over the center in college and showed major power while pushing piles backwards but don’t look for this former Golden Gopher to go in Round One as he has this quartet of Defensive Tackles in front of ‘em in a truly well-stocked first round. Maybe Jacksonville lands ‘em early in Round Two

NOTE: Get more NBA Playoff goodies in the next Jim
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