NBA News and Notes May 11
NBA News and Notes May 11
Can Hornets answer in Game 4?
By Brian Edwards
San Antonio will attempt to knot its best-of-seven series with New Orleans at 2-2 when these teams collide Sunday night. Most books have installed the Spurs as 5½-point favorites with a total of 187½. Bettors can back the Hornets to win outright for a plus 200 return (risk $100 to win $200).
After losing back-to-back games in the Crescent City to start the series, San Antonio (61-29 straight up, 40-47 against the spread) returned home and captured a 110-99 win as a seven-point favorite. The 209 combined points soared ‘over’ the 183-point total.
Gregg Popovich inserted Manu Ginobili into the starting lineup for Game 3 and you could say it worked. Ginobili and Tony Parker both scored 31 points apiece as the Spurs overcame a two-point deficit at intermission and pulled away for the win (both SU and ATS).
Tim Duncan added 16 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots. Bruce Bowen and Michael Finley chipped in with 12 and 11 points, respectively.
Chris Paul was sensational in defeat, scoring 35 points and dishing out nine assists compared to just one turnover. David West, who is using these playoffs as his coming-out party, scored 23 points and pulled down 12 rebounds.
New Orleans (62-28 SU, 53-33 ATS) can put the defending champs on the brink of elimination with a win here. By that same token, a loss puts the pressure back on the Hornets, who are extremely inexperienced in the post-season with the exceptions of Peja Stojakovic, Bonzi Wells and Morris Peterson.
The Spurs are 38-7 SU and 24-18-3 ATS at home this season. As for the Hornets, they are 27-17 SU and 25-17-2 ATS on the road.
This spot sets up similarly for New Orleans compared to its first-round matchup against Dallas. Against the Mavs, the Hornets won the first two games at home and lost Game 3 on the road. In Game 4 at Dallas, Byron Scott’s team won a 97-84 decision as a 4½-point underdog.
Will the Hornets respond in similar fashion in this series? They face the exact same scenario after working the Spurs at home in the first two games, only to drop Game 3 on the road.
The ‘under’ is 24-20 for New Orleans on the road, 23-22 for San Antonio at home. However, the ‘over’ is 2-0-1 in this series so far. The ‘over’ is 8-3-1 in the last 12 head-to-head meetings between these Western Conference rivals.
Tip-off is slated for 8:00 p.m. Eastern on TNT.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--I know Orlando’s Keyon Dooling was pushing the envelope a tad when he was whistled for a technical with 59.9 seconds left in Saturday’s Game 4 against Detroit. However, with the Magic leading by two at the time, that’s just a situation where the official should let it go. As it turned out, Richard Hamilton missed the free throw awarded for the technical. As Rasheed Wallace would say, “ball don’t lie.”
--Detroit eventually captured a 90-89 win as a 5½-point underdog, hooking up money-line backers with a payout in the plus 190 range. Tayshaun Prince scored the game winner with 8.9 seconds left on a running left-handed hook shot in the lane.
--Hedo Turkoglu missed a potential game-winner for the Magic when he misfired on a runner in the paint. Turkoglu was defended by Prince on the play.
--What on earth was Turkoglu waiting for when he caught the ball with 8.9 second remaining and waited 3-4 seconds before making a move?
Re: NBA News and Notes May 11
Jazz look to get even
By Brian Edwards
As we discussed on Thursday’s edition of the Power Hours, a playoff series can change in an instant. We knew that possibility existed when Utah (59-32 straight up, 49-41 against the spread) returned home to host the Lakers in Game 3 of their best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals series.
The Lakers, who had previously won six in a row both straight SU and ATS in these playoffs, didn’t get greedy upon their arrival in Salt Lake City, dropping a 102-97 decision Friday night.
And now we have a series.
Utah can knot things up at 2-2 by winning today’s Game 4. The Jazz opened spent most of Saturday as a 3½ -point favorite, but most books had moved the number down to two by early this morning. The total is either 211 or 211½. Gamblers can back the Lakers to win outright for a plus 150 return (bet $100 to win $150).
Although Los Angeles (63-26 SU, 53-33 ATS) saw its winning streak come to an end, it did manage a push as a five-point underdog in Game 3. Therefore, Kobe and Co. still haven’t tasted an ATS defeat since April 11.
After scoring just 25 points and grabbing 19 rebounds combined in Games 1 and 2, Carlos Boozer erupted for 27 points and 20 rebounds in Friday’s victory. Mehmet Okur was also huge, draining 4-of-7 shots from 3-point land in a 22-point effort. Deron Williams added 18 points and 12 assists.
Kobe Bryant had 34 points, seven assists and six rebounds in defeat, but he also committed four turnovers and misfired on all six of his 3-point attempts. Lamar Odom and Derek Fisher scored 13 points apiece, with Odom pulling down 12 rebounds.
The Jazz have always had one of the best home-court advantages in the league, and this year has certainly been no different. They are 40-5 SU and 30-14 ATS at EngergySolutions Arena.
As for the Lakers, they are 29-15 SU and 29-13-2 ATS on the road.
L.A. has seen the ‘under’ go 25-19 in its road games, while Utah has watched the ‘under’ cash at a 23-22 clip in its home assignments.
Tip-off is scheduled for 3:30 p.m. Eastern on ABC.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--The Lakers have an outstanding 16-6-2 spread record as underdogs this season.
--The ‘under’ is 10-5 in L.A.’s last 15 games.
--Utah went 20-6-2 in 28 home games as a single-digit home favorite.
--LVSC has adjusted the series price to L.A minus 700, with Utah plus 500 on the comeback (bet $100 to win $500).
Re: NBA News and Notes May 11
Sunday's best NBA bets
Los Angeles Lakers at Utah -3½, 211
Well the Lakers had to lose sometime. For the first time since April 8, Kobe & Co. are coming off a loss, but even though they lost and failed to cover in the five-point loss in Salt Lake City on Friday night, the game could have gone either way.
If Luke Walton hadn’t coughed up the ball with 14 seconds left, the Lakers could have realistically sent the game to overtime or at least covered the spread. That was just one of 18 turnovers the Lakers committed in the game – an unusual occurrence for a team that averaged only 11.7 turnovers per game through the season.
If the Lakers were going to lose a game, it’s not surprising it was this one. The Jazz had the best home record in the NBA and after dropping two in L.A., they had their backs against the wall. But the Lakers admitted they weren’t their best and even in the unfriendly confines of Salt Lake City, they can certainly do better.
If the Lakers hope to take a road win on Sunday, they’ll need more from Pau Gasol. The newest Laker isn’t exactly accustomed to playing at this point in the postseason and he seemed rattled by the Utah crowd.
"It was loud," Gasol said. "It was intense."
That won’t change in Game 4, but at least Gasol and the rest of the Lakers will be prepared for it and they won’t have the pressure of a 10-game winning streak to live up to. Expect more care with the ball and more action from Gasol in Game 4.
Re: NBA News and Notes May 11
Parker vs. Paul is the matchup to watch
May 10, 2008
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -Besides winning titles, there's another reason Tony Parker loves playing in the NBA.
The San Antonio point guard thrives on a good 1-on-1 matchup, such as the one he's got going with New Orleans' Chris Paul in the Western Conference semifinals.
``It's great fun, great matchup, a great challenge for me. So I'm having a lot of fun,'' Parker said Saturday. ``It's always good when you play against the best players. That's why you want to play in the NBA, to play against the best.''
Parker certainly has that in Paul, and Paul in Parker.
The two point guards matched each other almost point-for-point, assist-for-assist in Game 3 of the series on Thursday, and figure to do so again in Game 4 on Sunday.
The Hornets have a 2-1 lead and the Spurs want to even things up before returning to New Orleans for Game 5.
Parker, who turns 26 on May 17, racked up 31 points and 11 assists in the Spurs' Game 3 win. Paul, who turned 23 on Tuesday, had 35 points and nine assists.
``They're both very good basketball players,'' said Spurs coach Gregg Popovich. ``They're both very unselfish. They both have the ability to score, at the same time use their teammates, to help their teammates to score.''
Hornets coach Byron Scott agrees, and sees a few differences.
``I think Chris Paul is a true point guard. When I say true point guard, he's a pass-first type point guard. I think Tony Parker is more of a scoring point guard,'' Scott said. ``I think both of them are extremely quick. CP shoots it a little bit better, Tony's probably a better finisher. But they're both very good at what they do.''
The numbers these playoffs seem to bear out Scott's opinion. Parker has the slight edge on scoring so far in the first two rounds, 26.6 points to Paul's 25.6. Paul has 11.8 assists per game to 6.8 from Parker.
``They are kind of similar. I think that Chris Paul is getting really good getting to the paint and finding the open teammate,'' the Spurs' Manu Ginobili said after Game 3. ``I think Tony plays faster. He's deadly in transition. So I think Paul uses more of the pick-and-roll and is getting very smart and very used to that kind of system with those teammates. ... They are two of the most impressive point guards in the league for sure.''
Paul was runner-up for MVP this season as he led the Hornets to the Southwest Division title and No. 2 seed (they finished with the same record as the third-seeded Spurs but won the tiebreaker) after not even making the postseason last year.
Parker was voted the MVP of last year's NBA finals after leading the Spurs to a sweep of the Cleveland Cavaliers.
``Both of them are unbelievable players,'' the Hornets' Peja Stojakovic said. ``(Paul) led us to the second round and he is a true leader. And Tony also, Tony, his results speak for (themselves). ... It's a great battle.''
In Game 3, Ginobili and Parker - who often sticks his tongue out of the side of his mouth as he drives to the basket - got to the rim consistently. Paul said the Hornets don't want to let that happen again.
``They shot a lot of layups. Him and Manu had 62 points, probably more than half of them was layups,'' Paul said. ``So we just got to control the paint like we did in the first two games and we'll be fine.''
Paul had the shot of the night Thursday. In the third quarter he spun around, his back to the basket, then he flipped up the ball, sinking the shot and getting fouled in the process.
Controlling Paul has been a challenge for the Spurs, who acknowledge that the third-year star will probably score no matter what they try on him. In Game 3, the Spurs switched top defender Bruce Bowen from Paul to Stojakovic, who was largely shut down and scored only eight points.
``We're going to try to still take care of the role players'' in Game 4, Ginobili said. ``But at the same time try to bring Paul and (David) West a little down, too.''
Whether the Spurs can stop Paul is anybody's guess. But Parker isn't planning to change his game Sunday.
``I just think for me to help my team I just have to be aggressive,'' he said. ``I have to try to do both, score and pass the ball. So I don't really look at it like I have to match him. I'm just trying to do whatever I can to help my team win.''
Re: NBA News and Notes May 11
Previewing the weekend series
By TED SEVRANSKY
New Orleans at San Antonio -6, 186
The Spurs completely changed their game plan against the Hornets for Game 3 after losing the first two games of the series in blowout fashion at New Orleans. San Antonio head coach Greg Popovich changed his defensive game plan, putting shutdown defender Bruce Bowen on Peja Stojakovic instead of Chris Paul. The result: Paul had another huge game (35 points, nine assists) but the contributions of the Hornets supporting cast were minimized.
At the offensive end, Popovich started Manu Ginobili, who normally comes off the bench. He also instructed Tony Parker to be more aggressive in transition, taking the ball to the basket with authority. The result? 62 points and 17 assists for the duo, by far their best games of the series.
Popovich: “We made shots, and we made better decisions. They only had [six] points off turnovers instead of the 22 they've been averaging. We had 28 assists, which is great, so if you can get 28 assists and not make turnovers, that makes your offense look a whole hell of a lot better…I probably got [Parker] all screwed up [in Games 1 and 2] trying to get him to make perfect decisions. We know he's better when he's aggressive and trying to score. That's the approach he took.”
For Game 4, we have to wonder if San Antonio is going to be capable of playing as well as they did in their last outing.
Manu Ginobili, following Thursday’s win: “Tonight was like a Game 7 for us.”
We’ve already seen the Hornets bounce back from a bad road loss in Game 3 of their series against Dallas with a resounding Game 4 victory. And let’s not forget that the Hornets were one of the strongest teams in the NBA on the road this season, 25-16 ATS, including a 24 point blowout over the Spurs in San Antonio back in January.
L.A. Lakers at Utah -5, 210½
The Lakers are a tough team to bet against as underdogs in Game 4. L.A. is 6-1 SU and ATS here in the playoffs. They were one of the four teams to beat the Jazz in Salt Lake City during the regular season; the only team to do it after the All Star break. The Lakers were the single best road team in the NBA against the spread during the regular season, and they won and covered both first round games at Denver. To top it off, L.A. is on a 13-3 ATS run as underdogs of six points or less, consistently cashing in this role.
But Utah is not an easy team to fade here either. The Jazz were an NBA best 37-4 at Energy Solutions Arena during the regular season and they beat the Rockets twice on this floor in their first-round series.
Utah has legitimate matchup edges over the Lakeshow in the paint – they’ll continue to win the battle of the boards and get easy second chance opportunities off the offensive glass, just as they have in the first three games of this series. Carlos Boozer was able to avoid foul trouble in the Jazz Game 3 victory, pacing the team with 27 points and 20 boards, while maintaining a physical presence in the paint that L.A. simply doesn’t have without the injured Andrew Bynum.
Here are some pertinent quotes following the Jazz Game 3 win.
Jazz point guard Deron Williams: “It was just a solid game for us tonight. We pushed the ball in transition and got some easy things going. Guys were hitting shots and our confidence kept carrying over.”
NBA MVP Kobe Bryant, following the loss: “We clawed back but you can't turn the ball over so many times. We had a lot of open looks and you can sustain a game like that if you don't turn the ball over.”
Kobe’s teammate, Lamar Odom: “This team is good enough for us to lose to and we have to understand that and play our best game at all times. We could have lost to anyone playing like that.”
Lakers coach Phil Jackson: “I told the guys they made a good comeback but they just couldn't make the plays at the end.”
Re: NBA News and Notes May 11
D'Antoni accepts offer to become Knicks coach
NEW YORK (AP) -Mike D'Antoni has agreed to coach the New York Knicks, bringing his entertaining offensive style from the Phoenix Suns to a team coming off one of the worst seasons in franchise history.
The Knicks released a statement Saturday night saying they had agreed in principle with D'Antoni and that a press conference would be held once the contract had been completed.
D'Antoni had two years and $8.5 million left on his Phoenix contract. Suns owner Robert Sarver wouldn't confirm that D'Antoni had taken the New York job earlier Saturday, but said, ''Mike called me this morning to thank me, so I figured this was up.''
The offer is reportedly for $24 million over four years, making him one of the NBA's highest-paid coaches. The Chicago Bulls also interviewed D'Antoni for their coaching job.
Messages were left for D'Antoni and his agent, Warren LeGarie.
D'Antoni replaces Isiah Thomas, who was fired in April after the Knicks went 23-59, tying the franchise record for losses in a season. D'Antoni will become the Knicks' sixth different coach since the start of the 2002-03 season.
The 57-year-old D'Antoni led the Suns to a 55-27 record last season and was coach of the year in 2005. He had a 232-96 regular-season record the past four years, but the Suns were eliminated in the first round by San Antonio last month. The Suns then gave D'Antoni permission to pursue other openings.
New Knicks president Donnie Walsh had been looking for a coach since removing Thomas on April 18. Walsh previously met with former Knicks guard and television analyst Mark Jackson and Knicks assistant Herb Williams. But Walsh took his time to see what coaches would become available during the postseason.
He found one who won at least 54 games each of the last four seasons. The Knicks, meanwhile, are coming off their seventh straight losing season and haven't won a playoff game since 2001.
They've been just as dysfunctional off the court, with Thomas and Madison Square Garden found to have sexually harassed a former team employee and forced to pay $11.5 million. The affable D'Antoni should improve the Knicks' image, even if it won't be easy to make a winner out of the team.
Walsh acknowledges it will take time to rebuild the Knicks, and their roster seems ill-suited for D'Antoni's uptempo style. They are slow in the frontcourt with Eddy Curry and Zach Randolph, and the point guard situation is unclear with Stephon Marbury missing most of last season and coming off ankle surgery.
But D'Antoni quickly made Phoenix a winner after becoming their coach 21 games into the 2003-04 season. A short time later, the Suns traded Marbury and Penny Hardaway to the Knicks, clearing the way for the offseason blockbuster signing of Steve Nash.
Nash was a perfect fit for D'Antoni, and the Suns quickly became NBA darlings, their refreshing style far more entertaining than the plodding game of most teams. In the 2004-05 season, the Suns won 62 games, tying a franchise record, leading to coach of the year honors for D'Antoni and the first of two MVP awards for Nash.
But the Suns never made it to the finals under D'Antoni, losing to San Antonio three times and Dallas once. The acquisition of Shaquille O'Neal in February was designed to toughen the team and a better match for the Spurs. But after the Suns' five-game loss, D'Antoni's future with the organization became a subject of speculation.
President and general manager Steve Kerr, hired a year ago, acknowledged differences in philosophy, and eventually gave D'Antoni permission to speak with other teams.
Nash said Friday he believed D'Antoni would stay in Phoenix, and it's unclear where the Suns look now. But Kerr most likely will go after a more defensive-minded coach since defense was the biggest weakness under D'Antoni.
Re: NBA News and Notes May 11
(1) L.A. Lakers (6-1, 6-0-1 ATS) at (4) Utah (5-4, 3-5 ATS)
The Jazz, who claimed a must-win in Game 3 after losing the first two games in Los Angeles, hope to maintain their home-court edge at EnergySolutions Arena in Game 4 against the Lakers, who suffered their first loss of the 2008 playoffs.
Utah held off Los Angeles down the stretch Friday night for a 104-99 victory, pushing as a five-point favorite. Carlos Boozer led the way with 27 points and 20 rebounds as Utah avoided losing three straight games – something that hasn’t happened to the Jazz since a six-game skid from Dec. 4-14. However, the Jazz are just 1-5-1 ATS (3-4 SU) in their last seven games. The Lakers, on the other hand, are still 10-1 SU and 9-1-1 ATS in their last 11 starts and had cashed in eight straight before Friday’s push.
Los Angeles is 5-2 SU (5-1-1 ATS) against Utah this season, including 4-1 SU and 4-0-1 ATS in the last five contests. However, the home team is on a 5-1-1 ATS spree in this rivalry and is 9-3-1 ATS in the last 13 battles overall, with the winning team cashing in every game except Friday’s push. Finally, the favorite is 4-1-1 in the last six meetings.
The Lakers, who have won by double digits in five of their six playoff victories this year, have no negative ATS trends to speak of. They are on positive pointspread runs of 6-0-1 in conference semifinal games, 6-0-1 against the Northwest Division (all in the playoffs), 8-0-1 against the Western Conference, 4-0-1 on one day of rest, 7-1-1 as a road underdog, 21-8-2 overall catching points and 35-16-2 in their last 53 on the highway.
The Jazz, who had the league’s best regular-season home mark at 37-4 and are 3-1 at home in the playoffs (1-2-1 ATS), are on positive ATS runs of 6-2-1 laying points, 7-2-2 as a playoff chalk, 21-8-1 against winning teams, 11-5-1 on one day of rest and 38-15-2 at home. One negative note for Utah is its 1-4 ATS mark following a SU win.
The over for Los Angeles is 9-2 after a SU loss, but the “under” trends for L.A. carry the day from there, including 4-0 with the Lakers a ‘dog, 4-0 on the highway, 5-1 overall and 4-1 in conference semifinals. For Utah, the over is 21-8 against the Pacific Division, but the under is 4-0 with the Jazz going on one day of rest, 4-1 with the Jazz favored by less than five and 4-1 in conference semis. Finally, in this rivalry, the over is 11-6 in the last 17 meetings, but Game 2 fell well short of the posted price of 215.
ATS ADVANTAGE: UTAH
(2) New Orleans (6-2, 5-3 ATS) at (3) San Antonio (5-3, 3-4-1 ATS)
The defending NBA champion Spurs, who climbed back into the series with a Game 3 victory after dropping the first two games on the highway, look to even up this semifinal series in Game 4 against the Hornets at the AT&T Center.
On Thursday night, San Antonio trailed by two at halftime, then built a cushion throughout the second half on the way to a 110-99 victory as a 7½-point chalk. Guards Tony Parker and Manu Ginobili each had 31 points for the Spurs to outduel Chris Paul (35 points) and David West (23). San Antonio halted a 1-3 SU and 0-3-1 ATS skid while the Hornets had their four-game winning streak snapped (3-1 ATS).
New Orleans still holds a 4-3 SU and ATS lead against San Antonio this season, though it had a 3-0 SU and ATS streak in this rivalry halted with the Game 3 loss. The home team is on a 5-0 ATS tear and the favorite is 10-4 ATS in the last 14 clashes (4-1 ATS in the last five). Finally, the straight-up winner is 11-2 ATS in the last 13 head-to-head contests.
The Hornets remain in ATS funks of 1-7 as road pups of five to 10½ points, 3-7 as a road ‘dog of any price, 1-4 in their last five roadies overall, 3-7 in conference semifinal games and 4-9-1 as a playoff underdog. New Orleans still carries positive ATS trends of 5-0 after a SU loss of more than 10 points, 6-2 on two days’ rest, 38-13 following a non-cover, 36-15-1 after a SU loss and 43-21-1 overall.
Greg Popovich’s Spurs are on an 8-0-1 ATS streak as a playoff chalk of five to 10½ points and are on further positive ATS runs of 15-3-2 as a playoff favorite of any price, 7-2-1 at home and 18-7-1 laying five to 10½ at home. On the negative side, San Antonio is still just 5-9-1 ATS in its last 15 contests, 1-4 ATS after a spread-cover, 4-7 ATS on two days’ rest and 7-14-1 ATS against the Southwest Division.
For New Orleans, the over is 8-1-1 in conference semifinal games, 27-9 on two days’ rest and 8-3 with the Hornets a road pup, while the over for San Antonio is on an 8-2-1 run and is 5-1 with the Spurs favored, 13-5-1 in conference semifinal games and 14-6 as a playoff chalk of five to 10½ points.
The under, though, is 5-1-1 with the Hornets a playoff ‘dog and 16-8-1 in San Antonio’s last 25 against the Southwest Division. Finally, in this rivalry, the over has cashed in two straight games – with Game 1 in this series a push at 183 points – and is 8-3 in the last 11 battles in San Antonio.
ATS ADVANTAGE: SAN ANTONIO
Re: NBA News and Notes May 11
Lakers continue to provide full coverage
The Lakers are three-point road underdogs for today's Game 4 against Utah in the best-of-seven Western Conference semifinals.
In Game 3, the Jazz was favored by five points and won, 104-99, for a betting push (no winner), giving the Lakers nine consecutive games without a point-spread defeat.
The last time the Lakers failed to cover a point line was April 11, when they were five-point favorites over New Orleans and won, 107-104.
Utah, which trails, 2-1, in the series, is 6-0-1 against the point spread in its last seven games as a favorite of 4 1/2 points or fewer.
According to wagerline.com, the Lakers had received 61.39% of the picks against the point spread as of Saturday afternoon.
In the NBA's other playoff game today, the San Antonio Spurs are listed as six-point favorites over the New Orleans Hornets, who lead the series, 2-1.
In Game 3, the Spurs were 7 1/2 -point favorites and covered the spread with a 110-99 victory. It was the fifth consecutive time that the favorite has covered when San Antonio has played the Hornets.
Re: NBA News and Notes May 11
NBA Playoff Sunday Research
Lakers vs. Utah
You can still get the Jazz at +500 to win the series and the Lakers sit at -700 to win the series after the Jazz end up taking game 1. Remember, during the first round of the playoffs, it was tough to see some road teams doing well in game 4 situations after being up 2-1, but we are in a spot right now where it is quite apparent that the teams remaining can indeed win on the road, with the Pistons winning outright at the Magic yesterday with no Chauncey (despite having a 15 point lead dissipate), or the Lakers showing they can clearly win on the road which could become apparent today as the Hornets have shown they can win on the road at Dallas as well. Thus, do not simply assume that home teams cover at home after winning the necessary game 3 after being down 0-2, as many teams have taken 3-1 leads back home or are taking 3-1 leads back home, remember the Hornets did it against the Mavs, the Pistons are doing it now, the Spurs did it against the Suns and thus I say all this to say that this game can go either way. Keep in mind that public heavily favors the Lakers in this matchup today as over 60% are indeed riding the Lake Show, of course this has affected the line as it opened up at -3.5 in favor of the Jazz and has come down to -1.5 and -2, although there are spots of -1 out there as well. I mentioned in game 1, that an under would not surprise me if the Jazz ended up playing some defense and such was the case in game 3 in Utah, the line has come down despite roughly 60% favoring the over as well as the public is leaning Lakers and Over which is always something to be wary of. Frankly, I can see this game going either way, after all, the Jazz are still dominant at home, the Jazz were fortunate to win game 3 as the Lakers charged late, the Lakers realize that taking a 2-0 lead is useless if you give up the next 2 and they will show up with great intensity today, but I don't like the fact that the public is so in favor of the Lakers, I lean on the over if anything, but likely will stay away.
Horntes vs. Spurs
I have consistently said how much I like the Hornets as a team and the only team that I mentioned that will be able to beat them is indeed the Lakers. And, the Lakers not only come back to win the division but also secure home court advantage throughout the playoffs including the Finals if they make it thus far as the West also won the All-Star game this year, which of course is a detriment to the Celtics because they cannot win playoff games on the road, Atlanta or Cleveland, it doesn't matter, the Celtics struggle in road playoff atmosphere because Rondo wants to get his 12 shots a game and is not playing a point guard but rather 'wants his' and conseuqently it is screwing with the chemistry of this team. Rajan, understand that you are a point guard, you have Paul Piece, Ray Allen and Kevin Garnett on the floor, there is no reason why your behind needs to make more shots than all of these players, as suck it up and start dishing out the ball. The last time these 2 particular teams played, the total went to 209 in a game the Spurs finally decided to show up and put some points on the board. What's interesting is the last 2 games in San Antonio have been Spurs covers and consequently overs as well. I like the Hornets here a bit today considering they won game 4 in Dallas, even in the Spurs win in game 3, it was a lot closer than what the final score indicates, I would not be surprised to see an outright Hornets win and consequently an over cashing a well here today.