Notes from Ness (May 22)
This year’s NBA conference semifinals have seen three of the four series in seven games (Heat beat the Nets in five games), after none of the four conference semifinals made it past six games in the year. past. It’s actually quite unusual for so many series to last so long, so early in the playoffs.
My free game is with the Chi Cubs over the Fla Marlins at 7:05 ET. After a perfect 3-0 sweep this weekend with my exclusive Las Vegas Insider plays (Spurs / Tigers / Pistons), I am looking to improve my Las Vegas Insider record in MLB this May to 6-1 with another winner this night. I also have a 15 * Rivalry Classic Play in the Yankees / Red Sox game. In the NBA playoffs, I will host a LEGEND Play (4-1 in TY’s postseason!) In one of two Game 7s tonight. Do not miss it!
In fact, it’s only the third time since Bird and Magic rejuvenated the league by entering the NBA in the 1979-80 season. The last time was in 1994 and the other in 1981. It has been nine years (since 1980) in which none of the semifinal series was forced to a seventh game with three years standing out. In 1998, the four series were just five games (it happened in 2002 as well) and in 1999 there were three four-game sweeps and one six-game series.
Also noteworthy in this year’s postseason is the number of closed games. Over two rounds last year (65 games), only one game was decided by just one point, another four by two points, and five more in overtime. Through 69 games this year, eight games have been decided by one point (three in overtime), six more by two points and another five in overtime. That is a big difference.
However, yesterday there was nothing like it in the first of three game 7s in this year’s semifinal round. The Pistons beat the Cavs on Sunday holding them to 23 points in the second half in a 79-61 victory. Detroit may have looked very vulnerable in the middle of this series (lost Games 3, 4 and 5) but they opened and closed it hard. They won Game 1 by 27 points and Game 7 by 18!
Detroit is now 10-2 when facing elimination since the ’03 playoffs and the Pistons are 12-1 in games in which they have had a chance to eliminate their opponent. That one loss came in Game 7 of the NBA Finals last year. Speaking of Game 7, home teams are now 77-17 in NBA playoff history.
There are two more Game 7s on the schedule tonight and will the home team’s dominance continue? Home teams have been struggling lately in this year’s playoffs, especially against the spread. After opening 30-9 SU, the home teams finished the first round with a run of 1-5 SU and ATS and have gone 15-9 SU (11-13 ATS) in the second round. That’s a 30-game run of 16-14 SU and only 12-18 ATS!
However, in two game 7s this year, the home teams won and covered easily. The Suns crushed the Lakers in the first round 121-90 in Game 7 and the Pistons won easily yesterday. Tonight’s first Game 7 (both televised on TNT) is the Mavs / Spurs at 8:00 ET with San Antonio favored by 3 1/2 points (192). Game two is Clippers / Suns at 10:30 ET with Phoenix favored by four points (215 1/2).
The Spurs have rallied in this series to win Games 5 and 6 and will seek to become the ninth team in NBA playoff history to overcome a 3-1 deficit and win a seven-game series. The Suns were the eighth team to do so, when they returned to beat the Lakers in the first round this year. Jason Terry is back for the Mavs after his one-game suspension in Game 6.
In the second game of the night, the Clippers are playing Game 7 of the franchise, while the Suns are playing their second Game 7 of as many series. Neither team has been able to win consecutive games in this series, with the Suns winning Games 1, 3 and 5 and the Clippers winning Games 2, 4 and 6. The teams have not played since Thursday and conventional wisdom says that that will help the Suns more.
Over players had been on a hot streak in the postseason, as nine of the last 10 games of the first round ended and then 15 of the first 21 did the same in the second round, for a 24-7 run. However, last weekend’s three games (two on Friday plus yesterday’s game) fell short of the total.
Followers of the “Zig-Zag” theory have been going through this year’s playoffs, both ‘hot’ and ‘cold’. They opened 19-8-2 ATS in the first round, but closed with a 0-8 slip. They opened strong again in the second round, going 10-4, but have since gone 1-5 (now 11-9 in the second round). If it weren’t for the LA Clippers and Phoenix Suns (who are perfect 5-0 in their series), they are just 6-9 ATS in the second round.
Interleague action takes place during the month after a game weekend in which Barry Bonds hit his elusive 714 HR. The new week begins with the Cardinals owning MLB’s longest active winning streak in five straight games with the Devil Rays and Dodgers right behind them, having won four in a row.
The Dodgers have won 12 of 15 and play in the only division in MLB (NL West) that does not have a losing team. That’s interesting, since last year the Padres won that division with an 82-80 record. The Dodgers swept the Angels in a three-game series over the weekend and the team that played the White Sox in last year’s ALCS is now 17-27 on the year, having lost 17 of their last 22!
Losing has been easy for the Royals (10-31), who open the week with the longest active losing streak in MLB with nine in a row (they are 2-20 on the road). The Marlins have lost seven straight games, ending a 10-game road trip 2-8. Florida (11-31) returns home tonight to host the Cubs, but the bad news is that the Marlins have the Marlins’ worst home record at 3-14.
The Marlins are the league’s biggest “money spenders” at minus $ 1,628 (100 / game), followed by the Royals (minus $ 1,457), the 14-30 Pirates (minus $ 1,449) and the Angels in freefall ( less – $ 1227). The 29-14 Tigers are still the MLB’s “best bet”, earning more than $ 1,539. The Rockies (25-19) are second best at more than $ 906 and it should be noted that these two teams they are the biggest ‘minor’ teams in MLB, at 14-26-3 and 15-26-3, respectively!
There are “13 lucky games” on tonight’s schedule, highlighted by the Yankees visiting Fenway Park to face the Red Sox at 7:05 ET on ESPN. It’s Wang against Schilling, with the Red Sox favored under $ 1.55 and a posted total of 9 1/2.
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