No. 4 Denver Nuggets vs. No. 5 Utah Jazz
The Jazz (53-29 SU, 49-30-3 ATS) had a chance at the No. 2 seed in the West, but lost 100-86 to the Phoenix Suns (+5½) on Wednesday to drop all the way down to No. 5. The Nuggets (53-29 SU, 35-41-6 ATS) won three of their four regular-season matchups with Utah at 2-0-2 ATS, so they take the Northwest Division title and the No. 4 seed.
The Jazz have been touted as a legitimate title contender, and perhaps they are, but this is a bad situation for them. Denver’s speed has caused problems all year – particularly in the form of rookie guard Ty Lawson (16.52 PER), who played his best ball of the season against Utah with 19.0 points and 5.0 assists per game.
The Jazz are already having a hard enough time getting up and down the court with Mehmet Okur (Achilles), Carlos Boozer (oblique) and Andrei Kirilenko (calf) all entering the playoffs at less than 100 percent.
As for Denver, it’s easy sometimes to forget about Carmelo Anthony (22.31 PER), but he is one of the best players in the league. He only played in two of those four games against Utah, scoring 30 points in the season opener and 37 on January 17 – both Denver victories. The Jazz had better come up with something fresh this time
No. 4 Boston Celtics vs. No. 5 Miami Heat
Only three games separate the Celtics (50-32 SU, 33-47-2 ATS) and the Heat (47-35 SU, 42-39-1 ATS) in the Eastern standings. Boston lost seven of its last 10 games SU and ATS, while Miami was scorching hot at 12-1 SU (8-4-1 ATS) to end the regular season. Those numbers hint at a fairly even matchup, but check out these numbers: The Celtics won all three of their games against Miami this year at 2-1 ATS. Not only that, Boston’s Big Three was together for just one of those three victories. The Heat was at or near full capacity each time.
That’s one of the big problems with comparing won-loss records. Boston has had injury problems all year, from Garnett (69 games played) and Pierce (71 GP) all the way down to Glen Davis (53 GP) and Marquis Daniels (50 GP). Miami enjoyed a much healthier season, including 77 MVP-quality games from Dwyane Wade (28.06 PER). That’s all past tense. Boston has its full complement of players now, and they’re very well rested for the playoffs.
This is just a poor matchup on paper for Miami. Rajon Rondo (19.04 PER) torched the Heat in all three regular season games, running Boston’s offense like clockwork against lesser guards like Mario Chalmers (10.70 PER) and Carlos Arroyo (12.57 PER).
The Celtics also have a considerable advantage in the middle with Garnett (19.50 PER) and Perkins (15.07 PER) getting up close and personal with Jermaine O’Neal (17.89 PER), who has a gimpy left ankle to go along with his usual knee problems. Wade can’t do everything himself.
No. 1 Clevland Cavs vs. No. Chicago Bulls
The Cleveland Cavaliers took it easy at the end of the regular season, and mailed in a 2-8 ATS record over their last 10 games. Mike Brown’s men begin Saturday’s playoffs against the eight-seed Chicago Bulls, who earned their postseason berth with a momentum-building 3-0 run, SU and ATS
Shaquille O’ Neal has been out for the Cavaliers since Feb. 26 with a thumb injury, but DonBest.com lists him as “probable” to return against the Bulls. The 15-time All-Star has averaged 12.0 PPG and 6.7 RPG in his first season with Cleveland.
Chicago and Cleveland split their four-game series with each ending up 2-2, SU and ATS. The ‘under’ was 3-1.
The conference rivals recently met in an April 8 matchup that saw the Bulls win, 109-108, but fail to cover ATS as 6 ½-point home favorites. The 217 combined points flew north of the 194 ½-point ‘total.’
James sat out the game for the Cavs, while Williams hit 6-of-11 from three-point land for them and was a perfect 5-of-5 from the foul line.
Bulls forward Luol Deng had a double-double with 22 points and 10 rebounds. The Duke alum has averaged 14.4 PPG in eight games back for Chicago after missing 11 straight with a calf injury
TEAMS TO WATCH & BACK
The Beasts of the East! The Cavaliers have the best player in the game in 25-year old, 6-8 LeBron James, averaging over 29 points, 7.3 rebounds and 8.6 assists. They were in the NBA Finals just three years ago, but that team was a one-man show. This time LeBron has an excellent supporting cast, with Mo Williams (15.5 ppg) and recently acquired Antawn Jamison.
Throw in 7-foot-3 Zydrunas Ilgauskas and Shaquille O'Neal, who is expected back for the postseason, and the Cavaliers are hungry, big and talented. Cavaliers coach Mike Brown did not rest his starters against the Toronto Raptors last week, even though they have already secured home-court advantage throughout the postseason.
Interesting, because a year ago he was going easy on the team in practice. That team got upset by Orlando in the Eastern Conference Finals. They really have no excuses outside of injuries in 2010. Is this the year we finally see a Kobe/LeBron Finals?
Orlando flopped in the Finals again and some thought it was a case of one-year wonders after playoff hero Hedo Turkoglu left town. The Magic added 33-year-old Vince Carter (16.6 ppg), their second leading scorer, and haven't missed a beat. They have a superstar at center in Dwight Howard, averaging 18 points and 13.3 rebounds. This impressive frontcourt sports power and finesse with Howard and 6-10 Rashard Lewis.
Atlanta is the prototypical team that stockpiles young, athletic players through the draft then becomes the team no one wants to play, with talents Joe Johnson (21.2 ppg), Josh Smith and Al Horford (14 ppg, 9.7 rpg). They have been hot the last month, on a 9-5 SU/ATS run.
However, they are not a dominant defensive team, 17th in defensive field goal percentage allowed, 10th in points allowed, plus have the common thread young teams have: great at home, lousy on the road. They started 32-7 at home, 17-21 away. Over the last month they beat the Lakers and Spurs, but lost to the Cavs. Too bad they weren't in the West.
They can play defense, as well, allowing 43% shooting, second best in the NBA. The backcourt was a weakness last season when All-Star point guard Jameer Nelson was lost in February and didn't return until the Finals, playing only briefly. This season the 28-year old Nelson is healthy and playing well. Perhaps getting their defense ready for the playoffs, Orlando has been on a 15-7 run under the total.
Its difficult to back against or not see oralndo and cleavland dominating the east the team which i think could push both is the Atlanta Hawks but that would require them playing at the top of there game and both the magic & Cavs being poor for a series which is difficult to imagine with "le-bron and Howard in there teams"
So magic v cavs in the EAST FINALS
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Re: NBA Playoffs!
great info man i'm following all the way
Re: NBA Playoffs!
well it all starts tonight and here we go
Under on hawks v bucks
Under on cavs v bulls
Defense Makes champions !! Playoff ball hoping le bron will be a bit rusty with long lay off and intensity increase everybody (joe public) will be on cavs but bulls have won 11 of last 13 so come in on good form and certainly won't give up even if down so I'm taking the under
Miami I think match up well with Boston rondo might not figure "flu" and KG is not the same player he was
Utah +5.5 seems alot again joe public will be all over Denver but I'm still bit convinced by the nuggetts and with boozer on fire for the jazz I'm going to take the underdog!!
Not NBA but capitals in NHL tonight must win and will win!!!! Small treble with both NBA unders
Re: NBA Playoffs!
only seen this now fluff, was in work last nite couldnt get onto site...
i'll be around tonight doh...Anythin on later?
Re: NBA Playoffs!
Cleveland - Bulls : Cleveland Halftime handicap -7.0
Dallas- San Antonio Spurs: San Antonio FT handcap +5.0
Re: NBA Playoffs!
Atlanta Hawks @ Milwaukee Bucks
At this point, the Bucks only need one more win to achieve the next step. What seems one of the easiest series of this playoffs, had a big turnover. The Hawks had the home advantage, and many people though that this series could win with a 4-0 for the Hawks. However, after the two first home games, where the Hawks controlled the game, they went to Milwaukee lose two in a row. And if that weren't bad enough, a tie in the series when they thought that would be easy, they get a loss at home, and are one game away of the elimination. So, at this point, and with 5 of 7 games played, there is only one thing to do for the Hawks. They have to win at Milwaukee, and try to eliminate the Bucks at home in game 7.
Despite the great effort from the Bucks, the truth is that the team is walking in a thin line. They had the edge at home when they faced an arrogant Hawks team, that thought the game was won before the end. In the last game, at Atlanta, they just had the star with them that night. After a bad game from the home team, they were smart enough to attack the paint, and made almost all their shots and free throws. The team have a rookie to lead them, Jennings, and the effort and will that the players put in the field, make the difference. Their best players are out at this part of the season, with the big scorer Redd missing almost all the season and the big man in the paint Bogut missing since the last part of the season. However, the team, through a great team game, were able to achieve 3 wins in a row.
The Hawks can just let this series flow as they were doing. They have to be aggressive right now, has they are one game away of the end of the season. They were surprised in the third game, the first in Milwaukee, but since them, they just had missing some luck in the final minutes. The team is much more experienced and more important, better. They have the most balanced team, a deep bench, and players that can make them play easily a hard game in the paint or a fast game behind the arc.
Tonight, the Hawks will have to awake. They have a big edge in the paint, as they have players that will have no opposition, at least at the same level. They will have to use that edge tonight to cover the paint. They will have a opponent moralized, knowing that they just need a win to get through. The biggest problem for the hawks is that the Bucks attack the paint with all their players, trying to get free throws. They have to be aware for it, and try to not make to many faults, as happened in the last game when Joe Johnson went to the bench early with 6 faults. The Hawks have also to get a better accuracy, something that they can easily due, as they have great scorers. There is no more time for pity. The Hawks got the be aggressive as they realized that after all, the series wouldn't be so easy.
Pick: Atlanta Hawks -1.5 -110 (1.91) 2BetDSI, BetPhoenix, JazzSports
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