NBA News and Notes May 22
NBA News and Notes May 22
Detroit at Boston, Game 2
By Brian Edwards
Even though Boston (75-22 straight up, 57-37 against the spread) was coming off back-to-back seven-game series against Atlanta and Cleveland and had only one day of rest to prepare for the East finals, it still captured an 88-79 win in Game 1. The Celtics took the cash as 4 ½-point home favorites, while the 167 combined points fell ‘under’ the 174-point total.
Kevin Garnett was the catalyst, scoring a game-high 26 points on 11-of-17 shooting. KG also pulled down nine rebounds and dished out four assists. In addition, he forced Rasheed Wallace into a 3-of-12 shooting night.
Paul Pierce added 22 points, six rebounds and six assists. Rajon Rondo was extremely efficient, scoring 11 points to go with seven assists, five steals and just one turnover.
For Detroit (67-27 SU, 51-42 ATS), Tayshaun Prince scored a team-high 16 points in defeat, while Richard Hamilton added 15.
Going into this series, I felt like the KG-‘Sheed matchup would be pivotal, and that certainly proved to be true in Game 1. In terms of national popularity, Wallace is seemingly overmatched against Garnett, but that isn’t the case whatsoever.
Wallace doesn’t have the numbers KG produces on a yearly basis, but he has the respect of his peers, one more ring than KG and many more W’s. Wallace, who many think is one of the most underrated players in the last couple of decades, is all about team and doesn’t concern himself with the box score.
Some might argue that Chauncey Billups is the motor that drives Detroit’s engine, but I think the Pistons go as ‘Sheed goes. When Philadelphia led Detroit 2-1 and had a 10-point lead at intermission of Game 4, it was Wallace who came out on fire in the third quarter. And the 76ers never recovered.
Although Garnett dominated Wallace in Game 1, look for ‘Sheed to respond and don’t expect that matchup to be such a mismatch for the duration of the series.
Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened Boston as a 4½-point ‘chalk’ for Thursday’s Game 2, but most spots had the Celtics at 3 ½ by late Tuesday afternoon. LVSC sent the total out at 172 and there was little to no movement Tuesday.
So, how low can these totals go? That was the question I posed to VegasInsider.com handicapper Mark Fox, who is No. 1 on VI in NBA winning percentage (61%) and No. 2 in money (+2,865).
“If Game 2 plays out like Game 1 – and I think it will – then we’re going to start seeing totals hitting the 160s,” Fox said. “Until these teams show some scoring power, the totals are only going to go down.”
Tip-off for Game 2 on Thursday is scheduled for 8:35 p.m. Eastern. ESPN will provide television coverage.
**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**
--LVSC has adjusted the series price to Boston minus 200 with Detroit plus 170 on the comeback.
--If recent history is any indicator, gamblers should look to back the Pistons in Game 2. They have been money in the second road game of both series they’ve played this season, rallying to win and cover at Philadelphia and at Orlando in Game 4’s.
--I thought it was interesting to see Doc Rivers moving Eddie House back into the rotation ahead of Sam Cassell for Game 1. House knocked down 2-of-3 shots for five points in just eight minutes. Meanwhile Cassell never touched the floor (DNP—CD).
--Billups, who missed most of Game 3 and all of Games 4 and 5 against Orlando with a hamstring injury, returned to the lineup in Game 1. The former lottery pick of the Celtics scored just nine points in 31 minutes of play. Billups made 3-of-6 shots to go with two assists, two steals, two rebounds and two turnovers.
Re: NBA News and Notes May 22
(2) Detroit (8-4, 7-5 ATS) at (1) Boston (9-6, 6-9 ATS)
The Celtics, who despite short rest managed to pull away and win Game 1, look to maintain their playoff home winning streak at the TD BankNorth Garden in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Pistons.
Boston led by just one at the half of Tuesday’s series opener, then outscored Detroit 28-17 in the third quarter and held on from there for an 88-79 win as a 4½-point chalk. Kevin Garnett and Paul Pierce combined for 48 points for Boston, which outshot the Pistons 52.2 percent to 42.4 percent and finished with a 44-22 point edge in the paint. Four of Detroit’s five starters scored in double figures, but none had more than Tayshaun Prince’s team-high 16 points.
Boston is now 9-0 SU at home in the playoffs (6-3 ATS), and the Game 1 win snapped the team’s 0-5 ATS slide going back to the conference semifinal series versus Cleveland. In fact, the home team has won all 15 of Boston’s postseason games, going 12-3 ATS. Detroit, meanwhile, has followed up a 5-0 ATS run by failing to cover in three of its last four, including two in a row.
The Celtics are now 3-1 SU and ATS against Detroit this season, having won and cashed in the last three clashes, and the straight-up winner is on a 5-0 ATS run in this rivalry. Despite Tuesday’s outcome, the road team is still 7-2 ATS in the last nine head-to-head clashes and the underdog is 10-4 ATS in the last 14 meetings.
The Pistons are still 12-4 SU and 11-5 ATS in their last 16 games going back to the regular season, and they are on additional ATS runs of 4-0 after a SU loss, 5-1 on one day of rest and 4-1 after a non-cover. But Detroit has failed to cash in six consecutive road playoff games as an underdog of less than five points. Also, Flip Saunders’ squad is in ATS slumps of 1-7 as a road ‘dog of any price, 2-8 catching less than five points in the playoffs and 4-9 in roadies against teams with a winning home record.
Finally, the Pistons are 5-16 ATS in their past 21 conference finals games, including a current 0-7 ATS freefall that dates to last year’s series against Cleveland, in which they failed to cash in all six games (2-4 SU).
The Celtics are on positive pointspread rolls of 12-3 at the Garden, 7-0 at home against teams with a winning road mark, 6-1 on Thursday and 5-2 laying less than five points. On the negative side, though, Boston is on ATS slides of 2-11 as a home chalk of less than five, 1-5 on one day of rest, 1-4 in the conference finals, 2-5 following a SU win and 0-4 after a spread-cover. In fact, Doc Rivers’ squad hasn’t covered in two straight games since blowing out Atlanta in Games 1 and 2 in the first round of the playoffs.
Game 1 came up short of the 173½-point posted price, making the under 5-0 in the last five meetings overall (4-0 this year) and 6-0 in the last six battles at the Garden (3-0 this year).
Additionally, for Detroit, the under is on tears of 17-7 overall (8-4 in the playoffs)), 11-2 on the highway (5-1 in the playoffs), 15-3-1 as a playoff ‘dog of less than five points, 18-5-1 as a playoff pup of any price, 19-7 against the East and 19-7-1 in the conference finals. Finally, for Boston, the under is 4-0 as a playoff chalk of less than five, 5-1 in the conference finals, 9-4 at the Garden and 17-7 against the Central Division.
ATS ADVANTAGE: BOSTON and UNDER
Re: NBA News and Notes May 22
Behind the lines
You can beat them halfway
Celtics favored by two points for the first 24 minutes against the Pistons.
Now that the NBA playoffs have reached the conference finals, some basketball bettors looking for more action have turned to wagering on halves and even quarters.
For example, for tonight's Game 2 between Detroit and Boston, the Celtics (-110) are favored by two points over the Pistons (+120) for the first half.
So if Boston leads by more than two points at halftime, a bettor would need to bet $110 to win $100 on the Celtics. But if Detroit is ahead or trails by less than two points at the break, a $100 wager on the Pistons would pay $120.
There's even over/under total points bets available for a half. The combined total for tonight's Game 2 first half is 86.
However, things are a little more complicated for bets on second halves and other in-game wagers. That's because the lines are set at or near the end of the first half and can be played only until the start of the second half.
For tonight's game, the Celtics are favored by 3 1/2 points with an over/under combined points total of 172. On the money line, Boston is listed at -170 with Detroit at +150.
Here are a couple of proposition bets available at Bodoglife.com: Will Charles Barkley be seen on a casino gaming floor before the end of this season's playoffs? Yes (+750) or No (-1,500); Will Barkley be spotted on a casino gaming floor before the start of next season? Yes (+300) or No (-600); Who will be the No. 1 pick of the NBA draft? Kansas State's Michael Beasley (-105) or Memphis' Derrick Rose (-135).
Re: NBA News and Notes May 22
Detroit at Boston (8:30 p.m. EDT). The Celtics have won 15 straight - 9-0 in the postseason - at home, and lead the Eastern Conference finals 1-0.
-Kobe Bryant, Lakers, scored all but two of his 27 points after halftime, including a go-ahead, 10-foot jumper in the lane with 23.9 seconds remaining, and the Los Angeles rallied to beat San Antonio 89-85.
The Los Angeles Lakers overcame a 20-point, third-quarter deficit and stunned San Antonio 89-85 to take Game 1 of the Western Conference finals. The Spurs outscored the Lakers 14-2 to start the third quarter for a 65-45 lead, but Los Angeles held a 24-13 edge over the final 12 minutes, when San Antonio shot 4-of-18. Los Angeles is 52-7 when winning Game 1 in a best-of-seven series.
The Los Angeles Lakers improved to 7-0 in the postseason at Staples Center after rallying to defeat San Antonio 89-85 in the opener of the Western Conference finals on Wednesday night. The Lakers have won 17 of their last 19 Game 1 home playoff games, and 19 of their last 22 home playoff games overall. They haven't lost at Staples Center overall since March 28, which now spans 13 games.
STRONG IN DEFEAT
Tim Duncan had 30 points, 18 rebounds and four blocked shots in San Antonio's 89-85 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the opener of the Western Conference finals on Wednesday night.
From the last game of the first-round series against Atlanta to the first game of the Eastern Conference finals against Detroit, Boston's Ray Allen is averaging just nine points on 31 percent shooting. After scoring in single-digits only six times during the regular season, has done it five times in 15 playoff games, including an 0-for-4 in Game 1 of the semifinals against Cleveland - his first shutout since he was a rookie in 1997.
Los Angeles Center Andrew Bynum underwent arthroscopic knee surgery Wednesday in New York, but is expected to make a full recovery by the start of training camp next fall. ... Toronto guard Anthony Parker had surgery to repair an injured extensor tendon in the middle finger of his right hand.
IN THE RUNNING
Houston assistant coach Elston Turner said he had a first-round interview with Phoenix to replace Mike D'Antoni. The 48-year-old Turner has been an assistant to coach Rick Adelman for 11 years with Portland, Sacramento and Houston.
Former Seattle owner Howard Schultz has added a third claim to a lawsuit that seeks to void the team's 2006 sale to new owners who are planning to move the SuperSonics to Oklahoma City. The Starbucks Corp. chairman has amended his federal court lawsuit to allege that Clay Bennett and his Oklahoma-based partners breached their contract with Schultz and other Sonics owners by not making a realistic and full effort to find a new arena in Western Washington before applying to move the team.
``I expect to be here. In my mind right now I hope to be here unless something crazy happens.'' - Byron Scott on whether he will return to coach New Orleans next season. The NBA coach of the year has the right to buy out the remainder of his contract before 2008-09.
Re: NBA News and Notes May 22
Pistons vs. Celtics: Game 2
The Celtics took a 1-0 series lead with a win in Game 1 on Tuesday night. Can the Pistons bounce back in Game 2, or will Boston’s dominance at home continue?
Just one night after finishing off Cleveland in seven games, the Celtics didn’t look very tired on Tuesday when they knocked off Detroit 88-79 as a 4.5-point favorite in Game 1. Kevin Garnett led the Celtics with 26 points and nine rebounds, while Paul Pierce – coming off a huge 41-point performance versus Cleveland – chipped in with 22 points, six rebounds and six assists.
One area of concern for Boston is Ray Allen, who continued to shoot poorly with only nine points on 3-of-10 shooting. Making up for Allen’s lack of production was Rajon Rondo, who outplayed his counterpart, Detroit point guard Chauncey Billups, and delivered 11 points, seven assists and five steals.
Billups made his return to the Pistons’ lineup after missing the last two games with a strained hamstring. Billups finished the game with nine points and two assists, while Richard Hamilton also had an off-night with 15 points on 5-of-13 shooting. Tayshaun Prince led the Pistons with 16 points in the loss and Antonio McDyess had 14 points and 11 rebounds.
The Game 1 win improved Boston’s home playoff record to a perfect 9-0 and, including the regular season, the Celtics have won their last 15 games at TD Banknorth Garden. The Pistons’ playoff road records stands at 3-3, but they’re 5-1 back home at the Palace of Auburn Hills, so even if they lose on Thursday night don’t count them out of the series.
Boston opened as a 4.5-point favorite at BetJamaica for Game 2. The opening total was also the same as in Game 1, at 173.5. The combined score from Game 1 (167) fell Under the total.
Re: NBA News and Notes May 22
Thursday's best NBA bets
Detroit at Boston -4 1/2, 172
After their Game 1 loss to the Boston Celtics, Rip Hamilton had this to say about his team's performance: "We're a better team than that."
That's not just bravado from the Pistons guard. His team looked sluggish and slow after a six-day layoff between the end of their series against Orlando and the beginning of the Eastern Conference finals, which isn't that surprising really. After looking like the sharpest team in either conference for most of the postseason Tuesday's game was their worst performance of the playoffs, but don't make the mistake of thinking the Celtics are too much for them.
There were two main matchups that Boston got the better of in Game 1 which allowed them to win the game and easily cover the 4 1/2-point handicap.
Rasheed Wallace got schooled by Kevin Garnett in the paint and finished with 11 points on 3-of-15 shooting. But Game 1 was a problem for Wallace in the last series when he came out slow and unfocused against Dwight Howard. However, it was simply a matter of Rasheed being Rasheed and he came out in the proceeding games with much more intensity and was more effective against a tough opponent. You can expect a similar situation tonight in Boston.
The other costly matchup for Detroit was Chauncey Billups against Rajon Rondo, which was supposed to be an advantage for the Pistons, but Billups got off just nine shots in Game 1 and finished with nine points and two assists, his worst output of the playoffs. But that isn't likely to happen again. In their regular season meetings, Rondo was abused by the bigger, stronger Billups and even Rondo doesn't expect to have another easy ride in Game 2.
"There's a lot of ups and downs in this game," Rondo told reporters yesterday, "especially in these series. So I'm sure he'll be a lot more aggressive tomorrow night. I've just got to be ready."
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