Thursday Playoff Previews - NFL Draft: TE's



Here's a little memo to all of our faithful Jim Sez readers and NBA fans out there …
Nobody's banning you for life and so buckle up and take a ride with us right through this sure-to-be-exciting month of May and let's get the month started with a look at Thursday's three super-important games from Atlanta, Memphis and Oakland:


INDIANA at ATLANTA – Hawks lead series 3-2; 7 p.m. ET, NBA TV

Forgive us for repeating ourselves but the Indiana Pacers – the #1 seed in the NBA's Eastern Conference Playoffs and the league's best top-to-bottom team for much of the 2013-14 regular season – have played a grand total of one great half in this post-season round (see second half of Game 2 when Indiana snagged a runaway 101-85 win after being down 52-48 at halftime) … so it's safe to say the Pacers truly have gotten what they "deserve" so far in this best-of-seven set against the Atlanta Hawks.

Okay, so maybe in an it-can't-get-any-worse scenario we heard the news that Pacers' star Paul George had his home burglarized during that Game 5 loss this past Monday night and so it's been that kind of black cloud run that Indiana's been under for a while now and you have to think it may get worse before it ever gets better.

In this Game 6 bash in Hot-lanta here, the Pacers have plenty of things on their "to-do list" not the least of which is slowing down the Hawks from beyond the arc where Atlanta canned an amazing 15-of-27 triple tries with relative unknown reserve F Mike Scott scorching hot with 5-of-5 trifecta makes in a dazzling second quarter of play.

If the Hawks make 10-or-more treys here at home, then it's lights out on the Pacers' Jekyll and Hyde season … got it?

Next up, Indiana must manufacture its own energy against a ramped-up Hawks' team/crowd and for that expect Frank Vogel's squad to "go small" for much of this affair – C Roy Hibbert played an ineffective 12 minutes in Game 5 and truly appears lost in space these days – and so reserve guard C.J. Watson (15 points and  turnovers in 27 minutes in Game 5) could be asked to "save" Indiana's season before it's lost for good.

4-19 Atlanta + 8 INDIANA 101-93
4-22 INDIANA - 7.5 Atlanta 101-85
4-24 ATLANTA + 2.5 Indiana 98-85
4-26 Indiana - 2.5 ATLANTA 91-88
4-28 Atlanta + 7 INDIANA 107-97

Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers/Bloggers continue to be all geared up for the NBA Playoffs that roll on this week/weekend and right through late June – Jim is right now on a 20-5-3 playoff run and 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!


OKLAHOMA CITY at MEMPHIS – Grizzlies lead series 3-2; 8 p.m. ET, TNT

Wonder if the NBA is having to pay the Thunder and Grizzlies by the minute in this opening-round series? Now that we've gone overtime in four straight games – an NBA playoff record – you wonder if mental fatigue will be setting in here for Game 6 but one thing we know for sure is the Grizzlies have not been the ones to blink first.

In Tuesday's wacky 100-99 overtime triumph in a Game 5 in Oklahoma City, there was veteran G Mike Miller draining all the big-shot triples for the seventh-seeded team – Miller connected on 5-of-8 trifectas in all en route to his highly effective team-high 21 points and counter the fact that he attempted just 11 shots in all with the notion that it took OKC's Russell Westbrook some 31 shots from the floor to register his game-high 30 points.

Naturally, Westbrook – despite that late-game steal and layup that forced the OT session – has been a bit of a whipping boy in the OKC media the past 48 hours (he's used to that!) but what really should bother the Thunder is an inability to force their style/pace on the slower Grizzlies gang that's content to drain clock, move the ball smartly in the paint area and play solid perimeter defense as evidenced by the fact the Thunder canned just 39.1 percent of its overall shots in Game 5.

Hey, no need to belabor the point of whether Westbrook's "taking away" shots from NBA scoring leader/teammate Kevin Durant (10-of-24 FG shooting for 26 points in Game 5) but suffice to say Oklahoma City head coach Scott Brooks will make it abundantly clear that Durant has to take more shots than Westbrook here … end of story!

The Thunder's been unsettled at all the wrong times in this best-of-seven series – the incident with ref Joey Crawford holding up the Durant free throw late in OT should be something the league looks into but Durant's still gotta tie things there with a FT make – but if OKC is gonna forge a Game 7 than one thing we know must happen and that's the road folks must cut down on turnovers (17 of them in Game 5) and some reserve whether it's PG Reggie Jackson (just 2-of-7 FG shooting in Game 5) or vet Caron Butler (an effective 15 points and 5 rebs in 27 minutes in Game 5) must be a major factor, or else!

4-19 OKLA CITY - 8 Memphis 100-86
4-21 Memphis + 6.5 OKLA CITY 111-105 (ot)
4-24 MEMPHIS + 2.5 Okla City     98-95 (ot)
4-26 Okla City - 3.5 MEMPHIS  92-89 (ot)
4-29 Memphis + 7.5 OKLA CITY (ot)  100-99

LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS at GOLDEN STATE – Clippers lead series 3-2; 10:35 p.m. ET, TNT

The whole Donald Sterling Saga has – without a doubt – weighed heavily on the Los Angeles Clippers the past five or six days. Now it's a different kind of pressure that awaits the Clips here in Game 6 … can they finish off pesky Golden State once-and-for-all or are we headed for a Game 7 come Saturday?

The fallout from the Sterling lifetime ban was a unified front by the Clippers who – save for a brief moment late in the third quarter of Game 5 -- always led en route to a 113-103 win/cover against the 7-point underdog Warriors.

And the major rock for the Clips has been C Deandre Jordan who powered up a 25-point, 18-rebound game on Tuesday night and he didn't even flinch when G-State kept going to its Hack-a-Jordan routine (the LA big man canned just 9-of-17 FTs overall but the foul strategy ceased before too long).

In this elimination game, the Clips will continue to get in the grill of Warriors' mega-star G Stephen Curry who produced the all-too-modest stat line of 5-of-10 FG shooting for 17 points but ask us what's really key here for Mark Jackson's crew and we'll answer … defense!

After all, the Clippers connected on 37-of-76 field goals (that's nearly 49 percent) in Game 5 and that included a wobbly shooting line of 6-of-17 from PG Chris Paul (20 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds).

Emotions have been running at a fever pitch in this series – and off the court – ever since this playoff set started back on April 19th but it might well be the emotion this Golden State crowd gets from Curry triples (and Klay Thompson trifectas too) that carries the home crowd into a Game 7 but they better keep Jordan off the glass here or else Doc Rivers' emotionally spent squad will be the ones that survive-and-advance.







Golden State

+ 7.5





- 8

Golden State



La Clippers

- 2.5





+ 2

La Clippers




 - 7

Golden State



Let's continue with our Jim Sez NFL Draft Reports as today we check out the best tight ends … remember the NFL Draft is Thursday, May 8th and we'll post our "NFL Mock Draft" in the Wednesday editions of Jim Sez:

ERIC EBRON, NORTH CAROLINA – The far-and-away top TE on this draft board is a 6-foot-4, 250-pounder who is cat-quick for his size with great hands and his YAC (yards after catch) makes him a top 15-to-20 pick player. Last year Ebron snagged 62 receptions for 973 yards and was a major part of a Tar Heels' offense that had a born-again final two-plus months. Gut feeling is he could get gobbled up at pick #13 with St. Louis should the New York Giants (at #12) not grab 'em.

JACE AMARO, TEXAS TECH – His 98 catches for 1,240 yards and 7 TDs was a major component in the Red Raiders' high-octane passing game last season and here's another guy who is tough to bring down after his receptions. The 6-foot-5, 265-pounder often lined up in the slot for T-Tech and he could be effective in that role in the pros but his lack of blocking prowess likely will keep him as a mid-to-late second-rounder. There's rumors that New England is interested.

AUSTIN SEFERIAN-JENKINS, WASHINGTON – There's a major "up-side" to this 6-foot-6, 263-pounder who probably will see his stock drop as a result of a 2013 DUI charge but be aware that many folks believe not much separates first-round lock Ebron and this former Husky star who caught a school-record for a TE with 146 catches and he might leapfrog Amaro if he wows a team or two in this final week before the draft. A good landing spot would be the New York Giants.

NOTE: More NBA Playoff Previews in the next edition of Jim Sez.


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