NBA News and Notes May 26

NBA News and Notes May 26

Boston at Detroit, Game 4
By Josh Jacobs

It was on Apr. 14 that Boston last grabbed a road win before entering the playoffs to fall in six straight contests played in foreign territory. On Saturday the road woes ended abruptly with a 94-80 victory over Detroit. The Celtics easily yielded profits as a five-point ‘underdog, and if you were lucky enough to get down on the straight up win for the visitors, a +200 return (risk $100 to make $200) paid dividends.

Boston played with high intensity from the first to fourth quarters and the bench was superb in mustering up impressive numbers, but the fact that the Pistons’ couldn’t buy a bucket shouldn’t be overlooked.

Looking at the obvious pitfalls, Detroit made a total of 28 baskets in 73 tries for a debilitating 38.4-percent success rate from the field. The Pistons unloaded from three-point land 13 times, only to cash in for a grand total of one bucket (7.7%), and the Celtics dominated the glass with 44 rebounds compared to Detroit’s disastrous 28 boards.

Game 3 also exposed the health problems of Pistons’ clutch performer Chauncey Billups. His 27 minutes of play resulted in a skimp six points (1-for-6 from the field and 1-for-4 from beyond the arc) and talk about the hamstring injury has now become the main discussion around the water cooler.

While Boston was in prime position to repeat its road troubles when stars Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen became saturated with early fouls, it was bench player James Posey who stepped up to the plate with 12 points in 24 minutes of action.

Detroit attempted to rally from behind. Down 73-55 entering the fourth quarter, Pistons’ rookie Rodney Stuckey, Tayshaun Prince and Billups drained consecutive, unanswered buckets, bringing the score to 87-78. But the run was short lived as Boston’s Garnett sunk two free throws at the 2:16 mark, placing the contest out of reach.

Alright, so Game 3 is now a memory in the stat books. So, what’s in store come Monday?

As it stands, the ‘under’ has been the golden child of the Conference Finals with a 1-4 record (both East and West games combined). The highest total in the Eastern Conference matchup was set in Game 3 at 176, with the ‘under’ coming in just two points shy of a push. All three contests have combined to average a total of 180.3 PPG and books are trying to adjust with a current ‘over/under’ installed at 175.

As just a reference point, the total set by most books has averaged around 182 in the last 10 meetings between these teams. The last time an ‘over/under’ was installed above the 180 mark was back on March, which witnessed Boston taking the regular season contest 90-78. The ‘under’ was the play in that tip-off.

With the Celtics going 4-1 SU and ATS in the last five head-to-head meetings, rebounds have taken on a life of their own. Boston has been in control of the boards in the last five with an average of 44 RPG versus Detroit’s 34 RPG. In two of these games (including Game 3 on Saturday), Boston out bounded their opponent by double-digit figures. This could pose a serious threat to the Pistons in Game 4 unless boxing out becomes the main focus.

The Celtics’ defense has exposed itself to polar opposites. Boston has held opponents to an oppressive 81.6 PPG in 10 home games during the playoffs. That same defensive intensity has fallen short in the six road shows this postseason with the team allowing 95.3 PPG (minus the 80 points allowed in Game 3 versus the Pistons). Remember that this is a Celtic squad who finished the regular season with 90.3 PPG allowed (second best in the league).

The results haven’t been that drastic for the Pistons who are giving up 86.3 PPG at home and 91.6 PPG on the road. The real problem originates from inadequate offensive dominance, which has bear witnessed to Detroit notching a lonely 81.2 PPG in five defeats during the playoffs (versus its 96.8 PPG in nine victories).

Game time is set to begin at 8:30 p.m. EDT, with ESPN providing full coverage. Bodog.com has listed the Pistons as six-point favorites. Enjoy this year’s Memorial Day and let’s all increase that bankroll!

Odds and Ends

-- The road team is 9-2 ATS in the last 11 head-to-head meetings, while the underdog is now 7-2 ATS in the last nine head-to-head clashes.

-- Despite the defeat on Saturday, the Pistons are 13-5 ATS in their last 18 home games.

-- The ‘under’ is 6-1 in the Celtics last seven versus a team with a winning SU record, and the ‘under’ is 5-1 in the Celtics last six as a road ‘dog.

-- The ‘under’ is 4-1 in Detroit’s last five games when installed as a five to 10½-point favorite.

-- Boston is 5-0 ATS in the last five games played in Detroit.

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Re: NBA News and Notes May 26

Monday’s best NBA bet
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Boston at Detroit -6, 175

Maybe the Boston Celtics are finally hitting their stride after winning away from The Garden for the first time in the postseason on Saturday.

And they didn’t just beat the Pistons in Detroit – they embarrassed them.

"We didn't come out and play. That's it, point blank," Pistons rookie point guard Rodney Stuckey told reporters. "We didn't give no effort at all at the start of the game, and you can't do that against a team like that."

Stuckey may see his role increase as the series moves forward with Chauncey Billups’ right hamstring acting up again. Billups managed just six points in Game 3’s loss.

Pick: Celtics

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NBA Today

Boston at Detroit (8:30 p.m. EDT). The Celtics broke through with a road win in Game 3 on Saturday night to take a 2-1 lead in the Eastern Conference finals.

STAR

-Manu Ginobili, Spurs, scored 30 points and San Antonio beat the Lakers 103-84 in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals.

SLUMP-BUSTER

Manu Ginobili broke out of his scoring slump with 30 points off the bench, and the Spurs beat the Lakers 103-84 in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals. Tim Duncan had 22 points, 21 rebounds and five assists, and Tony Parker added 20 points for the Spurs, who remained unbeaten at home this postseason and avoided falling into an 0-3 hole, which no NBA team has ever overcome. The Lakers lead the series 2-1. Game 4 is Tuesday in San Antonio.

SPEAKING

``He is such a competitor. He puts so much on his shoulders, he fights through a lot of things. ... He's got a lot of confidence in what he can do. And so when he has these games, it is really not a surprise anymore.'' - Spurs coach Gregg Popovich on Manu Ginobili, who scored 30 points to lead the Spurs to a 103-84 victory over the Los Angeles Lakers in Game 3 of the Western Conference finals on Sunday night. The Lakers lead the series 2-1. Game 4 is Tuesday in San Antonio.

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Re: NBA News and Notes May 26

Monday NBA Playoff Gameday

There are two playoff games on the schedule for Monday night, and they're both going to be played in Detroit. Here's a look at the Pistons and Wings in your playoff gameday:

Boston Celtics at Detroit Pistons

The Pistons might have all the recent postseason experience, but they now find themselves down 2-1 to the Celtics in the Eastern Conference Finals. Boston opened the series with an 88-79 win at home, but Detroit bounced back to knock off the Celtics 103-97 in Game 2 in Boston. Game 3 was played back in Detroit on Saturday night, with the Celtics looking to pick up their very first road victory of the playoffs. Boston roared out to a 50-32 lead at the break in that contest, and then cruised from there to the 94-80 win. Kevin Garnett led the way with 22 points and 13 rebounds for Boston on Saturday, while Ray Allen was good for 14 points. Paul Pierce had only 11 points on 4-of-6 shooting in the win. Richard Hamilton poured in 26 points in the loss for Detroit, Rodney Stuckey contributed 17 points off the bench, and Rasheed Wallace picked up 12 points.

Despite Boston's success on the road in Game 3 the oddsmakers still opened the Pistons as 5.5-point home favorites for Game 4. The contest's total was opened at 175.

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NBA PLAYOFFS

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Boston (10-7, 7-10 ATS) at (2) Detroit (9-5, 8-6 ATS)


After losing homecourt advantage in Game 2, the Celtics snatched it right back Saturday with a blowout victory and now look to take a commanding 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven series against the Pistons inside the Palace at Auburn Hills.

Boston snapped its 0-6 postseason road losing streak with a 94-80 victory Saturday, easily grabbing the cash as a five-point ‘dog. The Celtics held Detroit to 38.4 percent shooting from the field and 1-of-13 shooting from beyond the 3-point line, while the Pistons’ starting forwards (Tayshaun Prince and Antonio McDyess) totaled just 12 points.

Led by Kevin Garnett’s 22-point, 13-rebound performance, the Celtics had six players reach double-digits in points in Game 3 and outrebounded Detroit 44-28.

Even with the win, the Celtics are just 2-6 ATS in their last eight overall while the Pistons are 7-4 ATS in their last 11, but a mediocre 3-2 ATS in their last five at home. The road team is now 9-2 ATS in the last 11 meetings between these two, and the ‘dog has cashed in 12 of the last 16 series clashes.

Boston leads this season’s series 4-2 SU and ATS, and the straight-up winner is on a 7-0 ATS run in this rivalry. Also, the Celtics are 5-0 ATS in their last five trips to the Palace.

The Pistons are 13-5 SU and 12-6 ATS in their last 18 games going back to the regular season, and they are on additional ATS runs of 6-2 on one day of rest, 4-1 on Mondays and 5-2 as a favorite. On the downside, Detroit is only 2-13 ATS in its last 15 conference finals games, including a current 1-8 ATS freefall that dates to last year’s series against Cleveland, in which Flip Saunders’ squad failed to cash in all six games (2-4 SU).

The Celtics are on positive pointspread rolls of 12-5 on Mondays, 20-8 as an underdog, 41-17 as a road ‘dog and 6-0 as a ‘dog between five and 10½ points. On the negative side, though, Doc Rivers’ club is on ATS slides of 2-6 on one day of rest, 2-5 in the conference finals, 1-6 on the road, 0-5 following an ATS win and 2-5 in conference final action.

Saturday’s Game 3 stayed below the 176-point total, improving the “under” streak in this rivalry to 9-2 in the last 11. Additionally, for Detroit, the under is on tears of 18-8 overall (9-5 in the playoffs), 20-8 against the East, 15-5 as a favorite, 20-9 against the Atlantic Division and 20-8-1 in the conference finals. Finally, for Boston, the under is 6-2 in its last eight conference finals games and 18-8 in its last 26 versus the Central Division.

ATS ADVANTAGE: DETROIT and UNDER

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