The NBA Playoffs: Where are all the Upsets? NFL Draft: D-Line
THE NBA PLAYOFFS: WHERE ARE ALL THE UPSETS?
PLUS MLB NEWS/NOTES
AND OUR LATEST NFL DRAFT UPDATE AS WE CHECK OUT THE TOP D-LINEMEN
Here's a strange but true fact regarding this year's NBA Playoffs:
Through the first four full days of this year's post-season, there had been only two outright upsets registered - and both of 'em involved the Washington Wizards besting the Toronto Raptors!
Okay, so through those same four days/nights of playoff action, NBA Favorites recorded just a modest 7-6 ATS (against the spread) mark - about par for the course, if you ask us - but two of those Underdog winners came with New Orleans slipping under bloated prices to cover Golden State (see chart below) and both Brooklyn and Boston had managed single pointspread wins too.
In other words, the higher seeds were "holding serve" for the most part even if they were not always covering the all-important Las Vegas price tags but even hard-core NBA fans probably were wishing for a bit more juice in these early playoff games ... agreed?
Perhaps we get an upset or two (or three) in tonight's action as we change venues - here's some quick-hitter comments about the Thursday night NBA Playoff games:
#2 CLEVELAND at #7 BOSTON - 7 p.m. ET; Cavaliers lead series 2-0
Soak this one in for a moment or two: LeBron James is ahead of "The Logo" on the NBA's all-time career playoff scoring list. That's right, King James' magnificent 30-point performance in Game 2's 99-91 non-cover win against 11-point pup Boston put him past the great Jerry West in that special category but the league's four-time MVP is warning folks that if his club can't "clean up" some miscues then Boston could climb back into this series faster than you can say Sam Jones!
The Cavs committed 18 turnovers in Tuesday's Game 2 tilt - James was guilty on six of those, we might add - and so the never-say-die Celtics believe their solid bench (scored 51 points in Game 2) can steal one here at home where Boston's listed as a 4.5-point underdog.
Keep in mind James and PG Kyrie Irving (26 points) scored the Cavaliers' final 28 points in that Game 2 victory - didn't Boston boss-man Brad Stevens explain to his guys they are Cleveland's "go-to" folks?
(Note all home teams are in CAPS below):
#3 CHICAGO at #6 MILWAUKEE - 8 p.m. ET; Bulls lead series 2-0
Do the Bucks stop here?
Hey, if Jason Kidd's young-and-spunky Milwaukee team wants to make this series have some juice, as we say, then it's put-up or shut-up time here and the first priority is to get a hand in the face of Chicago G Jimmy Butler who followed up his 25-point showing in the Game 1 series win with a wondrous 31-point showing in Game 2.
Butler - basically on orders from teammates Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah - fired away at every opportunity (it only seemed that he shot the ball more than 19 times in Game 2!) while both Rose (9 assists) and Noah (an incredible 19 rebounds) did their thing against a Bucks bunch too often concerned with mixing it up with mini-fights and fracases that served no real purpose at all.
Hey, can Milwaukee drill a few shots from "downtown" here after netting just 4-of-17 triples in Game 2? Yuck!
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers/Bloggers are all geared up for the NBA Playoffs that continue to roll on this week/this month - just go online right here at www.jimhurley.com 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 or sign up now for the entire NBA Playoffs. Plus, remember 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!
#1 GOLDEN STATE at #8 NEW ORLEANS - 10:35 p.m. ET; Warriors lead series 2-0
The West's best - the G-State Warriors - do have other recipes besides shooting your brains out to win a game.
In the 97-87 non-cover win in Game 2 the other night, the Warriors relied on that better-than-you-think defense to turn the trick as New Orleans scored just 35 second-half points and canned only 31-of-82 field goals overall (that's just 37.8 percent) and it was more than just key defender Draymond Green who was stepping it up on "D" while "Splash Brothers" Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson teamed up for 48 points (or nearly one-half of the team's output) and gut feeling here is Steve Kerr's club will indeed go up three games-to-love in this series if Pelicans' PG Jrue Holiday (right leg soreness) is a no-go as was the case in Game 2.
|4-18||GOLDEN ST.||- 12.5||New Orleans||106-99|
MLB NEWS & NOTES
Let's just say this has - so far - been an April to forget for the bottom feeders in the National League.
Note that heading into yesterday's action, the basement teams in the NL East, Central and West - that's Miami, Milwaukee and San Francisco, respectively - were a composite 10-33 with a combined run differential of minus 86 runs and that was after the SF Giants bested the Los Angeles Dodgers 6-2 behind RHP Tim Lincecum (six innings of one-run/five-hit ball) and a bevy of relievers.
No question there's lots to dig out from for the Fish, Brewers and Giants but - let's be fair - Miami is trying to rebound from a rough start without key RHP Jose Fernandez (out till July) while Milwaukee is attempting to pick itself off the canvas with a team that currently ranks 12th in the NL in runs scored and 15th (that's dead-last) in team ERA.
So, what are we saying?
Well, at least the Giants - buried by many critics right from the start of this 2015 season - have some reasons to believe they will contend for a playoff spot by year's end even though this isn't the even-numbered year the team loves (see World Series crowns in 2010, '12 and '14, of course) as Lincecum could be a key factor in the end and you know C Buster Posey is gonna break out of his early-season funk sooner than later.
THE NFL DRAFT REPORT
Our extensive Jim Sez NFL Draft coverage rolls on with a look at the top incoming Defensive Tackles and Defensive Ends:
LEONARD WILLIAMS, DT, USC - All the draft boards have this 6-foot-4, 305-pounder from Daytona Beach (FL) going in the top three picks thanks in large part to his great passion for the game along with great agility plus raw power. Gotta believe that if Tennessee trades the pick at #2 someone wanting either QB Jameis Winston or Marcus Mariota will slip in here but otherwise the Titans could be Williams' destination. Great quote by Williams: "If you pick a quarterback before me, I'm going to hurt them."
DANNY SHELTON, DT, Washington - Monstrous defender who stands at 6-foot-2, 340 pounds and is expected to land somewhere inside the draft's top 10-to-15 picks. Shelton has been favorably compared to long-time New England/current Houston DT Vince Wilfork and is an absolute bull pushing back O-linemen but not as great a pass rusher as advertised. Seems to be a good solid fit at #12 with Cleveland but could go higher.
SHANE RAY, DE, Missouri - Is this Kansas City native's stock falling as we speak? The draftniks claim the 6-foot-3, 245-pounder was no NFL Combine star with a disappointing time in the 40 and some major issues thanks to a lingering foot injury. All the pre-draft reports seem to say Ray will be snapped up somewhere in the top 12-to-15 picks but it's possible he'll drop some and could still be sitting there at #16 for the Houston Texans where teaming up with J.J. Watt would be a blast. Ray's considered rather raw when it comes to his pass-rush moves but keep in mind he was voted the SEC's Defensive Player of the Year.
ALVIN DUPREE, DE, Kentucky - There's lots to like about this 6-foot-4, 270-pounder who wowed the NFL Combine folks last month (see broad jump, vertical leap and 40 time) and, contrary to the above-mentioned Ray, you might see this SEC star leap a few spots come draft night with New Orleans at #13 a strong possibility.
RANDY GREGORY, DE, Nebraska - No doubt that the recent positive test for marijuana hurt this Big Red's draft status but fully expect him to still go within top 15 or 16 overall selections thanks to quick feet and a quick burst off the line ... could it be that his original status (he was often in the top five picks in many pre-Combine mock drafts) is really where he should go with the pot issue considered no big deal? We'll play it half-way and say he drops but don't be shocked if Gregory is chosen before Ray and Dupree - maybe the Browns at #12 take him if Shelton's already gone.
MALCOM BROWN, DT, Texas - Expected to land late in Round I, this 6-foot-4, 320-pounder from Brenham (TX) is considered a durable/mature player who will work better in a 4-3 defense and could be a nice get for Indianapolis at #29.
NOTE: Catch our NBA Playoff Update plus more NFL Draft Notes in tomorrow's edition of Jim Sez.
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