Jim Sez Playoff Report and Baseball Gossip
THE PLAYOFF UPDATE: ALL EYES NORTH OF THE BORDER TONIGHT AS RAPTORS LOOK TO "GET EVEN" WITH THE HEAT
OUR BASEBALL GOSSIP PAGE: WHEN WILL THE YANKEES WAVE THE "WHITE FLAG"?
Make no mistake about it ... It may only be Game #2 of this Eastern Conference Semifinal playoff series between the Miami Heat and the Toronto Raptors but the hosts are in a true do-or-die way this evening.
And the funny thing is Toronto hasn't exactly been a team that bettors can count on thus far in this post-season.
In fact, the Raptors enter tonight's game just 2-6 ATS (against the spread) this playoff season and it's worth noting the only other NBA team with a worse winning percentage is the long-ago extinguished Houston Rockets who happened to cover just once in their five-game opening-round playoff series loss against Golden State.
So, here's Toronto a 4.5-point home betting fav for tonight's game with the Raptors already a miserable 1-4 versus the vig as hosts this post-season - get the feeling the Heat will play extra loosey-goosey and have a real shot to snap up a second straight road upset following on the heels of Tuesday's wild 102-96 triumph?
Miami - which announced yesterday that F Chris Bosh (blood clots) won't play at all in this year's post-season - somehow survived that now-legendary half-court heave by Toronto G Kyle Lowry (funny how he missed 10 other field-goal attempts from much closer range in Game 1!) at the end of regulation to whack the Raptors in overtime and now that head coach Erik Spoelstra's club has already gotten its "W" there it could be a real nothing-to-lose attitude espoused by the Heat here at the Air Canada Centre.
Two things to watch if Miami is indeed gonna swipe either the outright win or at least the pointspread "W here: Late-game mental mistakes must be eliminated - shouldn't veteran F Luol Deng know by now you can't run the end line while trying to inbound the ball following a turnover? - and G Dwyane Wade (see 24 points on 21 FG tries in Game 1) has to give Miami another 35-plus minutes. Wade played 37 minutes in all in that Game 1 OT tilt and he displayed some fierce perimeter defense against Lowry and still-slumping G DeMar DeRozan (they combined to go 12-of-35 from the floor in Game 1).
Lots of folks thought when these NBA Playoffs first started back on the afternoon of April 16th that the Raptors - the second seed behind Cleveland in the East - were going to be the team most likely to KO the Cavaliers prior to the NBA Finals but right now you've gotta wonder whether the "We the North" crowd are even gonna get their shot at LeBron James and Company in another week-plus.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have been bashing the books right from the start of this year's NBA Playoffs and nothing's gonna change here as we dig deeper and deeper into Round II. We'll continue to rock-n-roll our way through the NBA post-season - and so just go online right here or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day and be sure that we'll send you straight into the winner's circle. Plus, there's Major-League Baseball on tap every day and so the time is just right to cash in big this spring!
BASEBALL GOSSIP PAGE
The talk radio sports shows in New York City have been buzzing with loads of unhappy - nah, make that, unhappy Yankees fans.
Heck, we're barely a full month into this 2016 Major-League Baseball season and already die-hard "Pinstripe" fans are ready to throw half the team overboard ... go ahead and pick out your least favorite Yankee whether it's 3B Chase Headley (no extra base hits yet this season while heading into last night's game), RHP Luis Severino (0-4, 6.31 ERA) or maybe it's DH Alex Rodriguez who just landed on the DL after suffering a hamstring injury running out a ground ball in Baltimore.
Speaking of Baltimore, the Yankees entered last night's game at Camden Yards with an 8-16 record and a $228 million payroll - hardly getting a bang for the buck, eh? - and did you know that this franchise has not suffered through a 100-loss season since 1912 when they were known as the Highlanders.
Right now the Yanks are "on pace" to lose 106 games and nobody should be shocked if by mid-June there's now-annoyed GM Brian Cashman dealing off pieces to contenders ... no, the Yanks don't often fold their tents early even in the occasional lost year but this could be different with nine or 10 players on the current 25-man roster having some semblance of importance to other teams.
Maybe 1B Mark Teixeira (/217 batting average with 3 HRs) can help out the Pittsburgh Pirates or perhaps CF Jacoby Ellsbury (see a lowly .293 on-base percentage) can be a spark for the Houston Astros. And might soon-to-return reliever LHP Aroldis Chapman be a goner even before Yankee fans get to know who he is ... who knows?
One long-time sports radio talkie on WFAN insists the Yankees won't call it quits on this current campaign till it's long over (say mid-August) but if the Bombers are 20 games below .500 a month from now you better believe Cashman will be throwing folks overboard faster than you can say Joe DiMaggio!
P.S., in case you were wondering the Yankees has a projected wins total of 81.5 this year ... hmm.
Note: Catch more NBA Playoff Previews/Recaps in the next edition of Jim Sez plus more MLB News & Notes.