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Submitted by Jim Hurley’s Network on Monday, May 4, 2015 at 12:00 AM

THE NBA PLAYOFF REPORT:
HEY, ARE THE WIZARDS EVER
GONNA LOSE A GAME?
PLUS ALL THE SECOND-ROUND UPDATES
AND OUR NBA PLAYOFF POINTSPREAD CHART …
BASEBALL NEWS/NOTES:
“NO BLOOD” AS TIGERS-ROYALS
SPLIT THEIR FOUR-GAME SET IN KC
(AND WE CHECK OUT WHAT’S STRAIGHT
AHEAD FOR BOTH AL CENTRAL SQUADS)

So, what did you think about the “Saturday Sports Spectacular” that just went down this past weekend?
No doubt the really big winners included Floyd Mayweather, American Pharoah and … a drum roll, please … the NBA’s Los Angeles Clippers.

The boxer and the pony were truly front-and-center in last Saturday’s feverish sports world but you unquestionably snatched up more for your “entertainment dollar” from the aforementioned Clippers who literally survived-and-advanced to their Western Conference Semifinal Round series against the Houston Rockets with that thrill-a-second 111-109 non-cover win against the 2.5-point underdog San Antonio Spurs in a very dramatic Game 7 of that titanic series.
Now, let’s see if Clippers-Rockets winds up being a “classic” series too.

We’ll delve into all four of the NBA’s Second-Round Playoff Series in just a moment in today’s Jim Sez but let’s get you jump-started with some key pointspread notes:

In all, note that NBA Betting Favorites registered a 20-19-1 ATS (against the spread) mark with one pick ‘em game in the opening round of the post-season and now updating that figure following Sunday’s Game 1 tilts between Washington at Atlanta and Memphis at Golden State, the Favs are now 21-20-1 ATS with that lone pick ‘em affair.
You’re up to date there.

Now, how about a look at the NBA Playoffs Pointspread Standings that are absolutely complete and thru the games of May 3:

TEAMWLTPCT
Washington5001.000
Houston410.800
Cleveland310.750
New Orleans310.750
Brooklyn420.667
Chicago420.667
Memphis321.600
San Antonio430.571
LA Clippers340.429
Golden St.230.400
Milwaukee240.333
Atlanta250.286
Boston130.250
Portland131.250
Dallas140.200
Toronto040.000

Here’s how things shake out in the NBA Playoffs. On this Monday night, it’s …

EASTERN CONFERENCE – Game 1
#3 CHICAGO at #2 CLEVELAND – 7 p.m. ET, TNT
The Cleveland Cavaliers swear they’ll be ready – even though they have not played a game since Sunday, April 26th (see Cleveland 101, Boston 93 in Game 4 of that sweeperoo).

And the Chicago Bulls promise they’ll be ready even though it took ‘em three shots at the “brass ring” to KO a dogged Milwaukee Bucks team in Round I (see last Thursday’s 120-66 pound-job win in Game 6 after the Bulls lost both Game 4 and Game 5).

The news here regards who won’t play as Cleveland forward Kevin Love (shoulder) is gone for this round and the entire post-season and remember Cavs’ guard J.R. Smith sits the first two games of this best-of-seven set with a suspension – so does gaining at least a split in these first two games in Cleveland than take on even greater import to the Bulls?

No doubt Cleveland megastar LeBron James – who predictably has been a stat-sheet stuffer thus far in this post-season while averaging 27 points per game, 9 rebounds per game and 6.5 assists per outing – not only needs G Kyrie Irving (23.2 ppg) to shake-and-bake his way to some big scoring games here but those “supporting cast” characters must make a difference beginning right here in Game 1 … perhaps C Timofey Mozgov (9.8 ppg and 8.0 rpg) can ring the bell for some important hoops?

On the flip side, the Bulls C Joakim Noah (illness) will be a “go” here to start the series but the $64,000 question is can Chicago head coach Tom Thibodeau count on Jimmy Butler/Derrick Rose/Pau Gasol to score 60-or-more ppg here (that’s what they averaged in the aforementioned series win against Milwaukee) and can Mike Dunleavy stay hot from beyond the three-point arc?

We’re guessing that the Bulls are gonna have to win at least two road games in this series if they’re gonna get “mission accomplished” … do you agree?

Here’s how the regular-season games went between Bulls-Cavaliers (and note all home teams are in CAPS):

DATEWINNERSPREADLOSERSCORE
10-31Cleveland+ 4CHICAGO(ot) 114-108
1-19CLEVELAND-4.5Chicago108-94
2-12CHICAGO+ 1.5Cleveland113-98
4-5 CLEVELAND- 8Chicago99-94

On Tuesday, it’s …
#5 WASHINGTON at #1 ATLANTA – 8 p.m. ET, TNT; Wizards lead series 1-0
The Wizards had to deal with the “rest versus rust” matter that Cleveland faces in the above-mentioned Eastern Conference Semifinal series and it didn’t faze Randy Wittman’s club one bit.

Okay, so Washington – playing in its first game after sweeping Toronto back on April 26th – trailed 37-26 after the opening quarter of play in Sunday’s Game 1 tilt in Atlanta – but that dazzling backcourt of John Wall (18 points and 13 assists) and Bradley Beal (game-high 28 points with 7 rebounds) – the latter played part of the game with a sore ankle – proved too much for the East’s numero uno seed and how ‘bout the fact the Hawks missed 23-of-28 field-goal attempts in the fourth quarter?

The Las Vegas oddsmakers have placed Atlanta as a 6.5-point fav here for Game 2 – and we’re wondering if that’s just a bit crazy considering the Wizards have won/covered all five of their games thus far in these playoffs and veteran assassin Paul Pierce (19 points in Game 1) gives the D.C. gang a third lights-out scorer.

Note …
Jim Hurley and his Network of Handicappers and Bloggers continue to rake in the profits in this year’s NBA Playoffs and we’ll continue to rock-n-roll through the post-season all week long.
Go online right here at www.jimhurley.com or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day and cash in with all the NBA Playoffs and remember there’s Major-League Baseball on tap every day too!

Tonight, it’s …
WESTERN CONFERENCE – Game 1
#3 LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS at #2 HOUSTON – approximately 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT
It is the prototypical “throw-a-away game” here in Game 1 for the visiting Los Angeles Clippers, right?
After all, Doc Rivers’ club was beyond exhausted following the final buzzer of Saturday’s Game 7 against the Spurs and now there’s the matter of PG Chris Paul (hamstring) who is not expected to play here in this opener against a Rockets’ crew that dunked Dallas in five games in an opening-round series that starred C Dwight Howard (16.6 ppg and 13.8 rpg while averaging nearly 37 minutes a game – more than five minutes more per than originally prescribed).

Throw into the mix the fact that Houston’s scoring machine James Harden (a team-best 28.4 ppg in that last series despite a slowish start) should benefit from lots of tired arms/legs on the Clips side here and you get the sense that the opener of this Western Conference Semifinal Round series should be blowout central … so why is Houston “only” a 6-point home betting favorite for this game?

The Clippers may – again – have to deal with a Hack-A-DeAndre Jordan strategy here (curses for San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich for all the times he sent the free-throw-challenged Jordan to the foul line in that last series!) and so that could mean Rivers sits Jordan for chunks of time but did you see how vulnerable the Clips were late in Game 7 without Jordan serving as that “rim protector”?

Here’s how the regular-season games went between Clippers-Rockets (and note all home teams are in CAPS):

DATEWINNERSPREADLOSERSCORE
11-28Clippers- 4.5HOUSTON102-85
2-11CLIPPERS- 3Houston110-95
2-25HOUSTON- 3.5Clippers110-105
3-15 Houston+ 5CLIPPERS100-98

On Tuesday, it’s …
#5 MEMPHIS at #1 GOLDEN STATE – approximately 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT; Warriors lead series 1-0
You tell us:

Does this series have that four-games-to-one feel to it already?
The Golden State Warriors – far from razor-sharp in Sunday’s 101-86 win/cover against 10.5-point road underdog Memphis – kept the Grizzlies at arm’s length throughout that matinee tilt at “Roar-Oracle” Arena and – surprise, surprise – a major part of that victory was Golden State’s 13-of-28 stat-line from beyond the three-point arc while the PG Michael Conley-less Grizzlies banged home just 3-of-12 triple tries.

If the Grizz – more than likely without the injured Conley (facial fractures) for this Game 2 – want some sort of positive vibe here than maybe they should feel big men Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph (a combined 41 points and 18 rebounds) playing together more minutes will help while key reserves Vince Carter and Beno Udrih simply must do better than shoot a collective 4-of-14 from the floor.
It sure looks as if Warriors’ G Stephon Curry (22 points and 7 assists in Game 1) will be receiving his MVP award prior to tipoff and so that ought to “energize” the joint even more than usual – just what Memphis needed to hear, eh?

THE BASEBALL REPORT
The biggest and best weekend series in the bigs – the Detroit Tigers at the Kansas City – didn’t wind up “settling” anything after the teams split the four-game set but it sure entertained the 143,609 fans who passed through the turnstiles this past Thursday-thru-Sunday at Kauffman Stadium … and it confirmed the fact that Detroit’s aces were just a tad better than KC’s starters the last two games of the series.

In fact, Detroit LHP David Price and RHP Anibal Sanchez threw a pair of gems against the hard-hitting Royals after Kansas City had copped the first two games of the set 8-1 and 4-1 and don’t look now but the aforementioned Sanchez now owns a 5-2 record with a miniscule 1.07 ERA in his last seven starts against KayCee.

Wonder if that sort of domination this year is gonna be what sets Detroit apart from Kansas City atop the American League Central race – they exited Sunday’s series finale with the Tigers at 17-9 while heading to Chicago for a three-game set with the White Sox before renewing the now-simmering rivalry with the Royals this weekend with a three-game series in Motown (and note the Sunday Night game’s on ESPN).

The Royals will host a three-game set beginning Tuesday against disappointing Cleveland before the above-mentioned collision course this weekend with the Tigers.

Right now the Tigers (17-9, .654) and the Royals (16-9, .640) are the only #1-#2 teams in a division playing better-than-.600 ball and this is surely setting up as a classic pennant race although you might be surprised to discover right now the Royals are an MLB-best plus 45 in the runs differential category while the Tigers are a mere plus 10 in that key category.

But this weekend series past was a case of “no blood” as neither team benefited in the standings and nobody was left behind.
And wouldn’t it be something if Detroit closer – and one-time Kansas City closer – Joakim Soria (10 saves this year) -- wound up being the difference-maker in this fight for first place?

And only because original Tigers’ closer Joe Nathan (Tommy John surgery) is gonzo for the 2015 season.

NOTE: More NBA Playoff coverage in the next Jim Sez.