Big Sports Weekend: Derby, NBA Hoops and Lots More
TODAY’S JIM SEZ IS CHOCK FULL OF GOODIES –
TONIGHT’S NBA PLAYOFF GAME PREVIEWS
PLUS A QUICKIE LOOK AT NFL WEEK 1
AND MLB’S BEST WEEKEND MATCHUPS TOO!
And a Happy Cinco de Mayo to you too!
The weekend’s sports schedule is maddeningly delightful with the Kentucky Derby taking center stage on Saturday while NBA Playoffs and Major-League Baseball regular-season action is heatin’ up and today – just ‘cause we’re in a good mood – we’ve got a taste of the NFL Week 1 sked to chew on including a batch of prime-time games such as Kansas City at New England, the New York Giants at Dallas and New Orleans at Minnesota and we think that’ll be fun a bit later in this Jim Sez column space.
For now, we’ll dig into the Friday night NBA menu after we remind y’all that …
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have NBA Playoffs and MLB action right here online at www.jimhurley.com or when you call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. Plus get the Kentucky Derby selections too!
NBA PLAYOFFS –
CLEVELAND at TORONTO – Cavaliers lead series 2-0; Game 3 at 7 p.m. ET on ESPN
The defending champs are officially calling this a business trip while heading North of the Border … in a perfect world LeBron James (game-high 39 points in the 22-point win in Game 2 the other night) and friends would like to gobble up both Games 3 and Game 4 and get another week’s worth of rest before plowing into the Eastern Conference Finals against the Boston/Washington survivor.
Hey, if the 2-point home underdog Raptors are gonna change the complexion of this series following a pair of blowout wins by the Cavs, then PG Kyle Lowry and his tender ankle must be good-to-go and that DeMar DeRozan/Lowry starting backup must get out of the witness protection plan after combining for a measly 25 points in Game 2.
Look for Cleveland reserves Channing Frye and Iman Shumpert (32 combined points in Game 2) to be important energy players who could well stem any/all Toronto runs here.
(Note all home teams are in CAPS below:)
DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
5-1 CLEVELAND - 6.5 Toronto 116-105
5-3 CLEVELAND - 7 Toronto 125-103
SAN ANTONIO at HOUSTON – Series tied 1-1; Game 3 at 9:30 p.m. ET on ESPN
Get well, Tony Parker.
The 34-year-old multi-champion ruptured his left quad tendon early in the fourth quarter of Wednesday’s 121-96 win/cover by the San Antonio Spurs and he’s gonzo from this post-season. Sure, Parker is no longer the superstar he was a decade ago but he’s been a major playoff contributor this spring – heck, he registered 18 points and 4 assists the other night before suffering the year-ending injury – and you get the feeling that San Antonio likely wins or loses this best-of-seven set depending on how guards Patty Mills and Jonathon Simmons perform on the road here in Games 3 and 4 (Simmons was simply terrific while scoring 14 points in Game 2). And that’s saying that Kawhi Leonard is a given with 30-or-so points and 7-to-10 rebounds and assists.
On the flip side, maybe Houston head coach Mike D’Antoni has to limit the rest time for star James Harden who sat the early minutes of the fourth quarter in Game 2 and that’s exactly when the Spurs made a major run. The Harden/Ryan Anderson/Lou Williams/Eric Gordon quartet has to go for a “buck” tonight or we say the Spurs win.
DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
5-1 Houston + 6 SAN ANT 126-99
5-3 SAN ANT - 5.5 Houston 121-96
NFL WEEK 1
Okay, so the opening week of NFL 2017 doesn’t get fired up till September 7-thru-11 but we wanted to touch on some of the early-bird Las Vegas pointspreads and have some fun:
Thursday, Sept. 7
Kansas City at New England (- 7) – The defending champion Patriots have loaded up this off-season in a rich-getting-richer scenario and, yes, QB Tom Brady is eligible to play right out of the starting box this year. Gotta believe this price goes up, up and up closer we get to game time.
Sunday, Sept. 10
Jacksonville at Houston (- 4) – Smallish price here with host Texans starting either journeyman Tom Savage or Clemson rookie Deshaun Watson at quarterback. Hmm, that could be risky business on either account.
Oakland (-1.5) at Tennessee – The eventually Las Vegas-bound Raiders will be a trendy pick to make it to the Super Bowl this year but remember there’s lots more ammo for rehabbing QB Marcus Mariota of the Titans.
New York Giants at Dallas (- 5) – The seemingly annual Sunday Night opener will give folks their first ’17 look at a Giants’ passing game that will chuck it 50-plus times a game. Don’t know about you, but Giants and the “over” (totals price is 49.5 at this moment) feels right.
Monday, Sept. 11
New Orleans at Minnesota (-3.5) – Everyone will be jabbering about the return of RB Adrian Peterson to the Twin Cities as he is now Saints’ property but did you know New Orleans went 6-1-1 against the odds on the road last year with A.P.?
Los Angeles Chargers at Denver (- 4) – Annual battle royale and consider that the Bolts are 8-2-1 spreadwise in their last 11 trips into the Mile High City? Just sayin’!
MLB WEEKEND MATCHUPS
Naturally, the much-hyped and much-anticipated New York Yankees at Chicago Cubs interleague series is stealing all the weekend headlines in Major-League Baseball but let’s keep tabs too on the under-the-radar National League West set between the Arizona Diamondbacks at the Colorado Rockies and the American League showdown set between the AL West-leading Houston Astros at the Los Angeles Angels.
Note that ‘Stro starter LHP Dallas Keuchel goes for 6-and-0 on this Friday night in Orange County while in D-Backs versus Rockies there will be plenty of attention paid to Arizona 1B Paul Goldschmidt who owns a .460 on-base percentage with a team-best 21 runs scored.
Big Baseball doings in what’s gonna be a great sports weekend … don’t forget to check in with Jim Hurley for all the winners!
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