Gettin’ Warmed Up for NBA Finals; Plus Harper & Trout Talk
THE JIM SEZ REPORT – HERE’S SOME NBA FINALS CHIT-CHAT (WITH OUR SERIES PREVIEW TOMORROW!) PLUS BASEBALL’S BIGGEST STORIES FEATURING THE NATS’ HARPER, ANGELS’ TROUT AS THE MAIN HEADLINE-MAKERS
We’ve got a question for you:
Can you sit tight for another couple of days until we finally get to Game 1 of the NBA Finals series between the defending champion Cleveland Cavaliers versus the 2015 champion Golden State Warriors?
It all gets started for real on Thursday night in Oakland – at the “Roar-Oracle” Arena – and just in case you were wondering the NBA Playoffs have produced a winning pointspread mark so far for the chalk-eaters of the hoops world:
In fact, we head into these NBA Finals with Playoffs Favorites sporting a composite won/loss spread record of 40-31-2 with one Pick ‘Em chucked into the mix (a .563 winning rate for the favs) and do keep in mind the underdog sides started out this post-season at 9-4 ATS (against the spread) and so that means Betting Favorites are 36-22-2 ATS overall since the games of April 19th (and that’s a sizzling .621 winning rate).
Okay, so enough of that pointspread bookkeeping business, what’s the early word on Cavs-Warriors, you ask?
Well, Cleveland believes this extra “down time” for PG Kyrie Irving is helping him heal up a tender ankle that didn’t seem worse for wear in that closeout game against Boston last week – Irving netted 24 points and that included four trifectas – plus LeBron James made it be known that he could use the time off as he enters a seventh consecutive NBA Finals appearance beginning Thursday night.
The bottom line for the Cavaliers in a playoff year where James is averaging a haughty 26.4 points per game, F Kevin Love is averaging a team-high 11.1 rebounds-per-game and James has a team-best 8.7 assists per game, the key has been keeping all other playoff series short and sweet as in 4, 4 and 5 games – here in the Finals the games are spaced out further apart and so “rest time” is plentiful and so James, Irving and friends should be fine but count us among the folks that believe that Cleveland must get meaningful minutes from the bench – especially in these first two games in California – or it’s the Warriors (favored by -255 at last check) that could be making this a short-and-sweet best-of-seven series.
Just a word or two regarding the G-State Warriors:
It remains rather sketchy as to whether or not head coach Steve Kerr will be part of the sideline crew but in terms of the Dub-Nation players, reserve Zaza Pachulia (heel) says he’s a go for these NBA Finals and sixth man star Andre Iguodala (knee) has been given enough rest that he has no issue playing here in Thursday’s series opener.
As far as actual game action, it’s no surprise that Golden State must get G Klay Thompson going – he was solid in a Game 3 victory against San Antonio in the latest of the Warriors’ three consecutive playoff sweeps but in the closeout game there was Thompson scoring just 10 points (3-of-13 FG shooting) and there’s major concern that this all-star’s simply lost his touch.
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers will be banging out loads of Side & Totals NBA Finals winners beginning Thursday night when the Cleveland Cavaliers face off again with the Golden State Warriors.
Check in here at www.jimhurley.com or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 and cash in with all the NBA Playoffs and remember there’s Major-League Baseball on tap every day too!
THE BASEBALL REPORT
There are arguments that continue to rage on as to who is the best player in Baseball – most “experts” tell you that Los Angeles Angels OF Mike Trout is the hands-down top player in the sport while there’s still some that believe it’s Washington Nationals OF Bryce Harper.
On Memorial Day / 2017, both Trout and Harper were very much in the headlines but for very different reasons:
No doubt you saw the wild fisticuffs in San Francisco on Monday afternoon when Harper was plunked by nobody reliever Hunter Strickland (a major liability on that last Giants’ championship team back in 2014) that set off a crazy fight where Harper fired his batting helmet in Strickland’s general direction and then took – and received – a major blow to the chops in that 3-0 Nats’ road win. Might have heard that the little personal tete-a-tete went back to that ’14 campaign where Strickland and Harper had issues but we’re wondering why a guy hitting .331 with 15 home runs and 41 runs batted in would endanger himself and his Washington teammates with a vendetta fight – if Harper would have gotten injured and missed a few weeks of action, would Nats’ manager Dusty Baker still think it was the right thing to do?
Meanwhile, word late Monday night was that the aforementioned Trout would likely need surgery to repair a torn ligament in his left thumb. Trout – who’s won a pair of American League MVPs and finished second in the balloting for that prestigious award three other times during his five-plus year career – leads the Angels in just about every conceivable offensive category (.337 average, 16 homers, 36 RBI, .461 on-base percentage and 36 runs scored) and his loss is being discussed in terms of months, not weeks.
The Halos exited Monday’s tilt against Atlanta with a 26-27 mark – wanna bet they’re double-digit games below .500 by end of July if Trout’s out at least two months? Hey, we’ll be curious to see how the wagering lines are in LA Angels game without Trout – note that the pick ‘em price at home versus the Braves last night might well be a sign that Trout is worth 30 or 40 cents in the dime line odds.
NOTE: Lots more NBA, MLB and Handicapper Notes in the upcoming editions of Jim Sez, so don’t miss out. Remember, our NBA Finals exclusive preview is next!
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