NBA News and Notes May 30

NBA News and Notes May 30

Game 6: Celtics at Pistons
By Brad Young

The Eastern Conference Finals move back to Detroit with the Pistons locked in a must-win situation, down 3-2 in this best-of-seven series. Detroit and Boston have alternated straight up victories the first five games of this series, while the Pistons have covered the previous two encounters against the spread.

Detroit has advanced to the conference finals six consecutive years, but has advanced to the NBA Finals just twice. This marks the fourth season in a row that the Pistons have found themselves down 3-2 in the conference finals. Detroit ended up losing in six games to both Miami (2006) and Cleveland (2007), while eventually rebounding to topple Miami in seven games during the 2005 campaign.

If things weren’t tough enough for the Pistons, guard Richard Hamilton is ‘questionable’ for Game 6 due to an elbow injury he suffered in the final seconds of Wednesday’s Game 5 setback. X-rays were negative for the eight-year veteran. Detroit is trying to advance to the NBA Finals for the first time since falling to San Antonio in 2004-05, while Boston can punch its first ticket to the NBA Finals since losing to the Los Angeles Lakers back in 1986-87.

The Las Vegas Hilton currently lists Detroit as a 5 ½-point Game 6 home ‘chalk’ over Boston, with the total set at 175½. The line has remained constant since opening, while the total was originally listed at 176. ESPN will provide coverage of Friday’s contest beginning at 8:35 p.m. ET.

Boston (77-24 SU, 58-40 ATS) took Wednesday’s Game 5 as a six-point home favorite, 106-102. The combined 208 points soared ‘over’ the 173½-point closing total, ending back-to-back ‘under’ outings in this series. The Pistons pulled to within a point with a minute remaining before Ray Allen connected on a jumper to hold onto the victory.

Allen struggled through the first four games of this series, averaging 14.8 points per game by shooting just 38 percent from the field. The UConn product was also struggling behind the arc by connecting on 3-of-14 shots. However, Allen reversed that in Wednesday’s triumph by scoring 29 points on 60-percent shooting including 5-of-6 from 3-point land. That marked his playoff high for points in an 11-year career.

The Celtics held on for the victory despite being outscored by Detroit in the fourth quarter, 31-22. Boston jumped out to a six-point halftime advantage after outscoring the Pistons in the second quarter (29-23), and by seven points (32-25) in the third quarter.

The Celtics prevailed by dominating the boards (42-25), while shooting a blistering 51 percent (37-of-73) from the field that included 53 percent (8-of-15) from behind the arc. Boston only got three points from its bench, but forward Kevin Garnett led all scorers with 33 points on 11-of-17 shooting. Center Kendrick Perkins stepped up with 18 points and 16 rebounds, while point guard Rajon Rondo added seven and 13 assists.

Detroit (69-29 SU, 56-41 ATS) kept Game 5 close by getting 26 points and six assists from point guard Chauncey Billups. Hamilton added 25 and six, while forward Rasheed Wallace contributed 18 and four rebounds. Shooting guard Rodney Stuckey accounted for 13 points off the bench in a losing cause.

Wallace picked up a technical foul late in Game 5, his sixth of the postseason. Under NBA rules, the volatile player will receive a one-game suspension his next technical foul. Wallace was also fined $25,000 by the league Thursday for criticizing officials after the game.

The Pistons are a robust 40-9 SU and 31-18 ATS on their home court, with the ‘under’ going 28-19. Detroit has been winning its games at The Palace of Auburn Hills by an average score of 99-88. Meanwhile, the Pistons are a pedestrian 29-20 SU and 25-23 ATS on the road.

Boston owns a 31-17 SU and 27-20 ATS road record, winning those affairs by an average score of 98-93. The Celtics did capture Game 3 of this series as a five-point road underdog, 94-80, marking its first road postseason victory of the year. Boston failed to win a road playoff game in its first-round series against Atlanta or its second-round series with Cleveland.

Boston backup guard Tony Allen will probably miss the rest of the series due to an Achilles injury.

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NBA PLAYOFFS

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Boston (11-8, 7-12 ATS) at (2) Detroit (10-6, 10-6 ATS)


The Celtics, who held on to take Game 5 at home for a 3-2 series lead, aim to grab a spot in the NBA Finals for the first time since 1987 when they travel to the Palace at Auburn Hills to battle the Pistons, who hope to stave off elimination and force a Game 7 back in Boston.

Boston blew almost all of a 13-point fourth-quarter lead Wednesday night, hanging on for a 106-102 victory, but failing to cash as a six-point home chalk. There was finally a Ray Allen sighting, as the Celtics’ shooting guard poured in 29 points, going 5 of 6 from 3-point range and hitting a late bucket that helped stave off Detroit’s rally.

Kevin Garnett (33 points) and Paul Pierce (16) gave Boston’s “Big Three” a total of 78 points, one game after the trio managed just 43 points in a Game 4 loss in Detroit. Kendrick Perkins added a surprising double-double of 18 points and 16 rebounds for the Celtics, while Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton paced the Pistons with 26 and 25 points, respectively.

Despite Wednesday’s SU win, the Celts continue to be a bad bet, as they are just 2-8 ATS in their last 10 games. The Pistons, meanwhile are 14-6 SU and ATS in their past 20 starts going back to the regular season.

Boston is 5-3 SU this season against Detroit, but the two teams have split the cash in those eight meetings, with the Pistons’ cover in Game 5, halting a run in which the straight-up winner had cashed in seven consecutive meetings. The road team is on a 10-3 ATS tear in the last 13 clashes between these two, and the underdog has cashed in 13 of the last 18 meetings.

The Celtics are on ATS streaks of 41-18 as a road underdog, 6-1 as an underdog of five to 10½ points and 36-15-1 after putting up more than 100 points in a game. However, Boston is mired in pointspread funks of 1-7 in roadies, 2-8 on one day of rest, 1-4 as an underdog, 1-4 after a SU win, 2-7 in conference finals games, 2-5 after a non-cover and 2-5 as a playoff ‘dog of five to 10½ points.

The Pistons are on an 8-2 ATS run on one day of rest and are on additional positive ATS runs of 6-0 after a SU loss, 6-2 as a chalk, 14-5 at the Palace, 10-4 as a home favorite of five to 10½ points, 16-7 on Friday and 9-4 against winning teams. On the negative side, Detroit is 4-13 ATS in its last 17 conference finals games and 0-4 ATS in its last four after allowing more than 100 points.

Wednesday’s game sailed over the posted price of 173½, slightly cooling a red-hot “under” streak in this rivalry. Still, the under is 10-3 in the last 13 battles (3-2 in this playoff series) and 5-1 in the last six battles in Detroit (3-0 “under” in Motown this season).

Furthermore, for Boston, the under is on runs of 4-0 on the highway, 9-2 after allowing more than 100 points, 8-2 as a road pup of five to 10½ points, 7-3 in the conference finals and 19-9 against the Central Division. For Detroit, the under is 16-5 as a favorite, 5-1 as a playoff chalk, 8-1 after scoring more than 100 points and after allowing more than 100 points, 4-1 at home, 7-2 against winning teams and 19-7-1 in the conference finals.

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER

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NBA Today

Boston at Detroit (8:30 p.m. EDT). The Celtics, who are 1-7 on the road this postseason, can advance to the NBA finals with a win over the Pistons.

STARS

-Kobe Bryant, Lakers, scored 17 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter and the Lakers beat the Spurs 100-92 to win the Western Conference finals in five games.

FINALS BOUND

Bryant scored 17 of his 39 points in the fourth quarter, and the Lakers rallied from an early 17-point deficit to beat the San Antonio Spurs 100-92 on Thursday night and win the Western Conference finals in five games. The Lakers are 12-3 in the playoffs, including 8-0 at Staples Center, where they haven't lost in two months. They have won 14 straight home games and 21 of their last 24 postseason games at home. They get a week off before opening the NBA finals next Thursday night at Boston or Detroit.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Tim Duncan had 19 points, 15 rebounds and 10 assists for the Spurs in a 100-92 loss to the Lakers in the Western Conference finals on Thursday night.

MILESTONE

With 19 points in San Antonio's 100-92 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers in the Western Conference finals on Thursday night, Tim Duncan moved into 11th place on the career playoff points list, passing Wilt Chamberlain and Elgin Baylor.

FINED

Detroit's Rasheed Wallace was fined $25,000 Thursday by the NBA for using profanity and criticizing the officiating after a playoff game the night before. After the Pistons' 106-102 loss to the Boston Celtics in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference finals, Wallace went on an expletive-laced rant targeting officials Mike Callahan and Kenny Mauer.

SPEAKING

``My heart's still pumping, that adrenaline is still running from the game. Maybe when I sit down and have something to eat, I'll realize what just happened.'' - Lamar Odom, who had 13 points and eight rebounds in the Lakers' 100-92 victory over San Antonio in Game 5 of the Western Conference finals on Thursday night. Los Angeles won the series 4-1 and will take on the either Boston or Detroit for the NBA championship.

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Friday’s best NBA bet
COVERS.com

Boston at Detroit -5½, 175

Can the Celtics steal one in Detroit to complete on half of the NBA’s dream Final? Well, just maybe if Kendrick Perkins keeps rolling.

As if the Pistons didn’t have enough problems dealing with Kevin Garnett, they now have their hands full with the 6-foot-10, 280-pound Kendrick Perkins. He notched a career playoff highs with 18 points and 16 rebounds in Game 5’s 106-102 win.

But while Boston is finally getting some secondary scoring to back up its Big Three, Detroit may have to deal with an injury concern with its top scorer in the series. Richard Hamilton hurt his elbow late in Game 5 when he got caught up with Ray Allen near the bucket, and while X-rays were negative Hamilton’s status for Friday’s game is uncertain is of now.

“It's sore right now," Pistons coach Flip Saunders said of Hamilton's elbow. "We're going to have to wait and see how it is tomorrow, wait and see how it is in 48 hours. He was great again tonight. Hopefully he's going to be ready to go for us."

And how. Hamilton was huge in bringing the Pistons back from 17 points down, scoring seven points in the third quarter and adding nine more in the fourth. Detroit has depth in the backcourt, but needs Hamilton to take the reins in situations like that with the season on the line Friday.

Pick: Celtics

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BEHIND THE LINES

Pro basketball


The Detroit Pistons are listed as six-point favorites over the Boston Celtics for tonight's Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals at the Palace of Auburn Hills in Michigan.

The Pistons, who trail, 3-2, in the best-of-seven series and need a victory to keep their season alive, are 7-3 against the point spread in their last 10 games as a home favorite of 3.5 to six points.

Boston will enter the game with a 5-1 record against the point spread in its last six games as a road underdog of 3.5 to six points, and the Celtics are 5-1 against the point spread in their last six games at Detroit.

But the Celtics are 1-7 against the point spread in their last eight road games overall and 2-8 against the point spread in their last 10 playoff games.

The over/under combined points total for tonight's game is 176. The under is 4-0 in the Celtics' last four road games and 4-1 in Detroit's last five home games.

This article is not intended as a tip sheet but is an account of significant betting taking place in the sports world.

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