NBA Finals Wrap-Up + Royals On Fire

THE NBA FINALS:
SPURS (- 5 ½) SMASH THE HEAT 104-87 TO LAND THEIR FIFTH TITLE IN 16 YEARS BUT WAIT TILL WE SHOW YOU SOME OF
GAME 5’S STRANGEST PLUS/MINUS STATS…

THE BASEBALL NOTEBOOK:
IT’S A ROYALS FLUSH IN THE WINDY CITY AS KAYCEE’S THE HOTTEST ITEM IN MLB

Okay, so very early on in this year’s just-completed NBA Finals, the theme had been set:

The San Antonio were bent on revenge after getting stunned in seven games of last year’s Finals by these same Miami Heat, and so the $64,000 question while heading into this playoff round was could the “best team” in basketball beat the “best player” in basketball in this best-of-seven set?

Check!

The Spurs not only ran roughshod over the Heat 104-87 in Sunday night’s Game 5 to clinch the franchise’s fifth crown since 1999 (also won in all in 2003, ’05 and ’07), but in every game San Antonio won in this series it pummeled LeBron James and his Miami squad by 15-or-more points, and thus there was plenty of mention of San Ant’s “clinic-like” play here—yes, the Las Vegas oddsmakers had placed the Spurs as a whopping -155-to-$100 betting favorite for these NBA Finals ever before Game 1 tipped off but didn’t we all expect some sort of drama?

The Spurs won Games 3, 4 and 5 by a combined 57 points (or 19 points per game) and all of the fourth quarters in these last three games featured extended “garbage time”, but before we put an exclamation point on this 2013-14 NBA season, how about a word regarding some of the little-used “plus/minus” stats that rarely (if ever) get brought up by the ABC/ESPN announcing team—and thank goodness we don’t have to listen to syrupy play-by-play Mike Breen for the rest of the summer!

In Game 5, the so-called “Big Three” of Miami—that’s James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh (of course)—were a combined minus 46 points when on the floor and it’s amazing that even James’ semi-heroic 31-point, 10-rebound and 5-assist game came in a contest in which “The King” was a minus 16 points.

As astute ESPN analyst Stephen A. Smith said, you cannot “absolve” James here even though he started out on fire and was brilliant for the first quarter-plus of this game—even the planet’s best player couldn’t stem the tide of this runaway Spurs performance.

Now, check out San Antonio here in this Game 5 clincher:

The Spurs sported five different players with a plus double-digit number including three reserves in Manu Ginobili (a plus 21), the still-underrated Tiago Splitter (+ 16) and G Patty Mills (a plus 15) and maybe that just about says it all for one of the most unselfish NBA champions in the league’s rich 67-year history.

Heck, when 22-year-old F Kawhi Leonard was announced to the crowd as this year’s Finals MVP (not bad for a dude that didn’t really show up to play in Games 1 and 2!) the Spurs’ veterans went nutso and were busy patting Leonard on the head and back after his 22-point, 10-rebound showing.
P.S., Leonard was a plus 15 when on the floor for this championship-clincher.

Now, here’s more on the series finale from the Alamo City…

NBA FINALS—Game 5
SAN ANTONIO 104, MIAMI 87 -- Spurs win series 4-1

Do the math and you see that the Heat started the game by scoring 22 of the first 28 points and then were promptly outscored 98-65 the rest of the way… really!

The Heat’s rarer quicksilver start could have been predicted because everyone had been making such a fuss about the slow starts for Erik Spoelstra’s club, but who knew that San Antonio would absorb some rugged first-quarter body blows and then crush James and Company the rest of the way and gotta give mucho credit to five-time champion head coach Gregg Popovich, who during one of those “Wired” segments calmly told his players that they had “all night” to catch up and play better ball.

When the dust finally settled, the Spurs had won the second and third quarters 25-11 and 30-18—surprise, surprise, it was superb ball movement that was key as San Antonio registered 25 assists and only eight turnovers, and it’s been duly noted that the Spurs canned 12-of-26 trifectas and it only seemed that San Ant shot right around 50 percent from the three-point line all series long while in fact hitting 58 percent of its overall field-goal tries to set an NBA Finals record.

You could sit here and dissect the heart-and-soul plays made by Ginobili—his second-quarter dunk was a rim-rocker that really overpowered Miami—or those five Mills triples, but believe Spoelstar when he says his Heat club is a solid offensive unit and yet they never did “get in rhythm” in this five-game series and sure didn’t here in Game 5 when Miami connected on just 30-of-75 FGs (that’s 40 percent), and G Wade was awful while missing on eight of his dozen FG shots.

From a wagering standpoint, the Spurs copped four-of-five covers in these NBA Finals, and wound up going a modest 13-10 ATS (against the spread) overall in this post-season, but once again we remind y’all that San Antonio actually was 0-6 spreadwise to start the playoffs (all against Dallas) and so the year-ending run featured 13 covers in SA’s final 17 games… a .765 winning rate versus the vig since Sunday, May 4th.

If you wish to sound the death kneel for the Heat, then do so at your own peril.

True, this was not Miami’s “finest hour” and we all would have liked to see a bit more fight from this two-time defending champ, but the truth of the matter is too many guys went AWOL in this series from Wade to G Mario Chalmers to Bosh, etc. and so maybe personnel whiz Pat Riley rolls up his sleeves and gets James—who is going nowhere this summer—some major help whether it’s New York Knicks star Carmelo Anthony via free agency, or maybe it’s a king-sized deal that sees Pau Gasol of the Los Angeles Lakers get shipped to South Beach.

Here’s the Spurs-Heat NBA Finals series in game-by-game chart form (and note that all home teams are in CAPS below):

DATE WINNER SPREAD  LOSER SCORE
6-5   SAN ANTONIO - 5 Miami 110-95
6-8 Miami +4 SAN ANTONIO 98-96
6-10 San Antonio +4 MIAMI 111-92
6-12 San Antonio   +5½ MIAMI  107-86
6-15 SAN ANTONIO -5½ Miami  104-87

Note…
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers raked in major profits in this year’s NBA Finals and NBA Playoffs—sure hoped you were with us from the start!

Now, it’s time to throw our undivided handicapping attention to Major-League Baseball where we will continue to cash in big-time on a daily basis!
Go online right here at www.jimhurley.com or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 for all the MLB winners as Jim plans on staying red-hot right through the Summer of ‘14!

NBA PLAYOFF POINTSPREAD CHART
Here’s the last time we’ll show you this as our NBA Playoff Pointspread Team-by-Team Breakdown Chart is complete through the NBA Finals:

TEAM  RECORD PCT.
Dallas 6-1-0 .857
Golden St. 5-2-0 .714
Houston 4-2-0 .667
Washington 7-4-0 .636
Memphis 4-3-0 .571
SAN ANTONIO 13-10-0 .565
Miami 11-9-0 .550
Brooklyn 6-5-1 .545
Indiana 9-10-0 .474
Okla City  9-10-0 .474
Atlanta 3-4-0 .428
Toronto 2-4-1 .333
Clippers 4-9-0 .308
Portland 3-8-0 .273
Charlotte 1-3-0 .250
Chicago 1-4-0 .200

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THE BASEBALL NOTEBOOK

Maybe “next year” is finally here for the Kansas City Royals (36-32).

Okay, so we’re not quite ready to hand KayCee the American League Central crown or even one of the junior circuit’s two wild card berths but consider that the Royals exited this past Father’s Day weekend riding an MLB-best 7-game winning streak and don’t look now but the Royals are just one full game back of erratic Detroit—and KC currently sports the AL’s third-best team ERA.

In the just-completed weekend sweep over the host Chicago White Sox—that read 7-2, 9-1 and 6-3—Royals starters RHP Jeremy Guthrie, LHP Danny Duffy and RHP James Shields—each earned the “W’s” and Kansas City even whacked a pair of home runs in the Sunday triumph as 1B Eric Hosmer and C Salvador Perez added rare jolts for a team ranked just 13th in the league in home runs.

If the Royals—who won Sunday despite manager Ned Yost getting ejected for the third time this season—can sprinkle in some long balls than this club could be dangerous right through the summer months.

Note that Shields now is 8-3 with a bubbly 3.50 ERA, and did you realize that Kansas City has surrendered just 12 runs in its last five games after that 17-run outburst against ‘em by Cleveland last week.

Maybe it doesn’t feel like 1985 all over again for KC baseball fans just yet… but let’s see if things are still hopping at “The K”—as in Kaufman Stadium—come two months from now.

NOTE: Remember the NBA Draft is set for June 26th and we’ll have previews/coverages all through the next two weeks plus there’s more Baseball News/Notes comin’ soon in these Jim Sez columns.

20
Sep

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