Cavs Look To Stay Unbeaten in the Playoffs
THE NBA UPDATE:
ARE THE CAVS EVER GONNA LOSE
A PLAYOFF GAME AGAINST
AN EASTERN CONFERENCE FOE?
WE CHECK OUT TONIGHT’S GAME #2 IN BOSTON …
BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES:
KEY HURLERS ON CONTENDING CLUBS
No doubt you’ve heard all the hoopla … the NBA’s defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers have yet to lose a single playoff game this spring (that’s 9-and-oh straight-up) and they’re even “batting” .714 against the spread (see chart below).
Folks, not sure if that’s gonna last throughout this here-and-now Eastern Conference Finals but right now the Cavs zoom into tonight’s Game 2 tilt in Boston riding a fancy seven-game streak without a wagering loss as Cleveland’s a haughty 5-0-2 ATS (against the spread) in post-season play since April 20th … staggering stuff, indeed.
Now, let’s get you the NBA Playoffs Pointspread Breakdown chart with just the still-alive teams (entering play Friday, May 19):
TEAM WON LOST TIE PCT
Cleveland 5 2 2 .714
Boston 9 5 0 .643
Golden St. 6 4 0 .600
San Antonio 8 6 0 .571
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers have all the NBA Playoff and Major-League Baseball winners – get ‘em at www.jimhurley.com or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453. And don’t forget it’s Preakness Weekend too as Always Dreaming goes for the second leg of this year’s Triple Crown on Saturday!
On Friday night, it’s …
CLEVELAND at BOSTON – Cavaliers lead series 1-0; Game 2 at 8:30 p.m. ET, TNT
And some media folks were wondering whether or not Cavaliers’ megastar LeBron James and mates were gonna be “ready or rusty” for Game 1 of this best-of-seven series!
James’ stat line of 38 points – most on sheer bully-ball moves to the hoop against overmatched defenders – with 9 rebounds and 7 assists stole the headlines but better believe that C Tristan Thomas (20 points, 9 rebounds and some great help defense) and F Kevin Love (32 points and 12 boards) were huge in that series opener the other night but we must say the Celtics appeared tired, flat and a tad disinterested following on the heels of that epic seven-game series win against Washington.
If you’re looking for some specifics in this Game 2, then you might want to check this out:
The Celtics must give help on James the moment he catches the ball – there can be no other real game plan – and naturally Boston G Isaiah Thomas (7-of-19 field goals for 17 points and a minus 20 when he was on the court) must be the take-charge guy he’s been for most of this season. If that means 25-plus shots from Thomas, so be it but consider that he was bring some early-game energy here because the Celtics need to play from “ahead” or haven’t you noticed that Cleveland tends to pile it on once they smell blood in the water.
One other huge X-factor for Brad Stevens’ club is the bench: No question F Kelly Olynyk was a star in Game 7 versus the Wizards but was AWOL in Game 1 versus the Cavs with two points in 16 minutes. The C’s need 20-plus points from the bench and Olynyk and mates must provide a couple of scoring spurts … or else!
Note all home teams are in CAPS below:
DATE WINNER SPREAD LOSER SCORE
5-17 Cleveland - 4 BOSTON 117-104
BASEBALL NEWS & NOTES
Just wanted to dive in right here/right now regarding a trio of Major-League Baseball starting pitchers who are set to take to the mound tonight and who are mucho important to their respective teams if they’re gonna make a run at a post-season berth. So here goes ….
CHRIS TILLMAN, RHP, BALTIMORE – No secret that the Orioles need all the starting pitching they can get behind ace Dylan Bundy who got rapped around for a pair of dingers in Thursday’s 6-5 series-ending loss in Detroit and the veteran Tillman must get well in a hurry here in just his third start of the season. Buck Showalter’s squad ranks 9th in the American League in team ERA (4.24) and here’s Tillman coming off a shaky showing versus Toronto last Saturday in a 4-3 loss North of the Border: Tillman surrendered three runs and eight hits while walking two in 4.1 innings – if he stays mediocre (or worse) than the Birds will begin to sink in the standings. On this Friday night, Tillman and the O’s host enigmatic Toronto and the Orioles are a – 125 betting favorite.
TREVOR BAUER, RHP, CLEVELAND – You may best remember this 26-year-old for bleeding all over his uniform last October following that silly drone accident but we bring you up to date here with these numbers: Currently, Bauer is 3-4 with a 6.92 ERA and he’s allowed 8 home runs in 39 innings. Bauer better get his act together – and soon – or the Indians will be in a real fight to the finish for a post-season berth one year after making it all the way to the World Series and then being one “W” away from winning it all. Tonight Bauer goes up against the mighty Houston Astros down in the Lone Star State and the ‘Stros are a – 145 betting fav.
ALEX WOOD, LHP, LOS ANGELES DODGERS – Does this 2017 Dodgers’ team have enough quality arms to make it to their first World Series in 29 years? Okay, so we all know about the “other” lefthander on this staff with the initials C.K., but there’s major battles for the other starting spots and this 26-year-old North Carolina native son believes he will be a key to LA’s success this summer (and beyond). Note that the Dodgers/Wood are heavy-duty favorites this evening at home against slumping Miami – Dodger Blue is laying minus 230 – after the southpaw struck out 10 batters in six innings in last weekend’s electric 4-0 win in Colorado. Wood is 4-0 with a 2.27 ERA but he’s started only six times and hard to believe that second-year manager Dave Roberts might be inclined to shift Wood back to the bullpen. Not yet, skip!
NOTE: More NBA Playoff coverage in the next Jim Sez.