NBA News and Notes June 17

NBA News and Notes June 17

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Los Angeles at Boston -4 192

Suddenly the series has shifted, however slightly.

Los Angeles jumped out to another big lead in Game 5 and managed to hold on this time to crawl back into the series. Now things aren’t looking so great for Boston.

It sounds more and more like Kendrick Perkins isn’t going to be able to suit up again this year and the big news following Sunday’s game was that Ray Allen left abruptly because one of his children had some sort of health concern. No other details were made available as the team tries to keep a lid on the story, which may not turn out to be a huge deal anyway.

Still, Boston hasn’t looked good for long stretches over the last three games, finding itself in big holes before the team finally gets itself together. The Celtics aren’t dominating the road to the free throw line anymore and don’t seem to have the same defensive intensity that they showed in Boston – especially early in games.

That said home court means a world of difference to this team as we’ve seen throughout the playoffs and Paul Pierce is still carrying the club on his back.

The main issue Boston bettors should be concerned with is the way the Lakers are sharing the ball and getting secondary scoring. Los Angeles got 20 points from Lamar Odom, 19 from Pau Gasol, and 15 from Derek Fisher to go along with Kobe Bryant’s 25 in Game 5. That’s hard to defend no matter who you are or where you’re playing.

Pick: Lakers

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Re: NBA News and Notes June 17

Game 6, Lakers-Celtics
By Chris David

After blowing a 24-point lead and losing to the Celtics 97-91 in Game 4, most of the pundits wrote the Lakers off and expected them to fold on Sunday in the fifth installment of the NBA Finals.

It wasn’t pretty on Sunday, but Los Angeles lived another day by capturing a 103-98 victory in Game 5. For the second straight game in the finals, the Lakers built an early double-digit lead in the first quarter and once again the team failed to hold it as well. After the first 12 minutes, Los Angeles led 39-22 but Boston rebounded quickly with a 30-16 second quarter and only trailed by three points (55-52) at the break.

For the first time in the series, head coach Phil Jackson made the right adjustments at the break and the Lakers responded with a 24-18 third quarter advantage, which gave the club a solid 79-70 lead heading into the final stanza.

Unfortunately, Jackson’s team and their defense folded again in the fourth quarter. Boston trailed 97-95 with less than 40 seconds left as Paul Pierce brought the ball across halfcourt. Then, Kobe Bryant poked the ball away from Pierce and got it back from Lamar Odom which led to a clinching dunk.

Despite the key defensive stop, most would agree that Paul Pierce has defeated Kobe Bryant in the battle of the superstars after five games. The former Kansas Jayhawk standout has been aggressive on both ends of the floor and appears to be the likely choice for the Most Valuable Player of the finals. To Bryant’s defense, he has faced double and triple-teams often, while Pierce hasn’t faced much.

Pierce led all scorers with 38 points, including an eye opening 16-of-19 performance from the free throw line. Pierce also filled the stat sheet with eight assists and six boards. His All-Star performance was much needed, considering the other two thirds of Boston’s Big Three were missing. Ray Allen (16) and Kevin Garnett (13) combined for 29 points on 10-of-24 shooting from the field.

Bryant paced the Lakers with 25 points but it was Pau Gasol (19 points, 13 rebounds) and Odom (20 points, 11 rebounds) who stepped up on the offensive end.

Odom and Gasol’s success could be attributed to the absence of Kendrick Perkins. Boston’s center was held out of Game 5 due to a strained left shoulder and he could miss the final two games as well. His status is still up in the air for Game 6 but according to Doc Rivers, it doesn’t look good.

“I would say that would probably be doubtful,” coach Rivers said before the game of Perkins returning to the floor for Game 6 at the Garden. “But I don’t know.”

Another Celtic, Ray Allen, could be in question for Game 6 as well. Allen left Staples Center immediately at the end of Game 5 due to a personal issue with one of his children.

Not only are Lakers fans happy, but the sportsbooks in Las Vegas are excited to see the best-of-seven series prolonged.

“It's been a great series. The best thing about the Lakers-Celtics series has been the volume and excitement generated from the two legendary franchises playing each other again. This matchup has attracted an entirely new sector of people to it, much like the way we get new players for horse racing during the Derby,” said Station Casinos Race and Sports Director Micah Roberts.

Stations opened the Celtics as four-point favorites for Game 6, with the total at 192. The Lakers are 0-5 against the spread in the series despite winning two games.

Roberts added, “It's generally a good a thing for the book anytime the favorite wins but doesn't cover. I'd like to see the Lakers pull out a win in Game 6 just so I can watch a Game 7 and see what unfolds from a fans standpoint. From a booking standpoint, another game would be great just to take in more action.”

Tip off for Game 6 is slated for 9:05 p.m. EDT, with ABC providing national coverage.

CD’s Bonus Hits:

-- Kobe appears to be settling for jumpers, with Boston keeping him out of the paint. He’s shot 14-of-40 the past two games for 42 points and has only made 13 trips to the line.

-- Prior to the Kevin Garnett trade, some gamblers could’ve purchased Boston as an 80/1 longshot at certain offshore outfits. People often forget that the Celtics went 24-58 in their previous season.

-- The ankle of Rajon Rondo appears to be worse than some expected. The second-year point guard put up 19 points and 23 assists in the first two games, while averaging 38½ minutes. Since getting his ankle rolled, he hasn’t played over 22 minutes.

-- The Celtics have gone 47-7 straight up at home this year, which includes a 12-1 record (8-5 ATS) in this year’s postseason. The lone postseason loss came against Detroit in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference finals.

-- Boston hasn’t lost back-to-back games at TD Banknorth Garden this year.

-- The ‘under’ has gone 3-2 in the first five games. The two games played in Los Angles with one-day breaks both saw the ‘under’ cash. When you combined travel and just one more day of rest, Game 6’s total of 192 might be a tad high.

-- The Lakers have owned the first quarter in the last two games, outscoring the Celtics 35-14 and 39-22. However, Boston has closed better in the final 12 minutes with advantages of eight (26-18) and four points (28-24).

-- After putting up 20 points in Game 3’s victory, the Lakers Sasha Vujacic has responded with a combined seven points on 3-of-19 shots in the last two games.

-- No team (0-for-28) has ever come back from a 3-1 deficit in the NBA Finals and no club has ever won both Game 6 and 7 on the road since the NBA switched to a 2-3-2 format in 1985.

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Re: NBA News and Notes June 17

NBA FINALS

(1) L.A. Lakers (14-6, 10-9-1 ATS) at (1) Boston (15-10, 13-12 ATS)


The Lakers, who kept their season alive with a close home victory in Game 5, now go back to the TD Banknorth Garden for another elimination game against the Celtics, who will get their second chance to secure their 17th NBA title.

Los Angeles held on for a 103-98 home victory Sunday night, but again failed to cover, this time as a 7½-point chalk. Boston’s Big Three of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen combined for 67 points – with Pierce going off for 38 – but no other Celtic reached double figures, while the Lakers had five players in double figures, led by Kobe Bryant’s 25 points.

Los Angeles, which blew a 24-point lead in losing Game 4, was up by 19 in the second quarter before again allowing Boston to claw its way back into the game. The Celtics trailed by just three at halftime and actually took the lead in the fourth quarter.

Boston, which was 8-12 ATS in the playoffs entering this series, has cashed in every game against the Lakers and is on a 6-0 ATS run overall. Meanwhile, L.A. is just 3-7 ATS in its last 10.

The Celtics are now 5-2 SU and 7-0 ATS against the Lakers this season; prior to this stretch, the Lakers were on a 7-1 ATS run in this storied rivalry. Finally, the underdog is on a 4-0 spread-covering streak in this playoff series.

Despite their recent woes, the Lakers are 21-9-1 ATS in their last 30 road games and carry additional positive ATS streaks of 10-3 as an underdog of less than five points, 13-4-2 as a road pup, 9-3-1 overall when catching points and 11-4-1 after a SU win. On the downside, L.A. is 0-9-1 ATS in its last 10 NBA Finals games, 0-6 ATS in its last six against the Atlantic Division, and 0-8 ATS in its last eight against the Eastern Conference.

The Celtics are on a 7-2 ATS run and sport further pointspread streaks of 7-0 against the Pacific Division, 14-2 against the Western Conference, 14-5 at the Garden and 27-11-1 following a spread-cover. The C’s lone negative: a paltry 3-12 ATS mark in their last 15 as a home chalk of less than five points.

The “under” trends run deep for Los Angeles, including 8-2 overall, 6-0 on one day of rest, 7-1 as an underdog (5-1 as a playoff pup), 7-3 on the highway and 39-19 coming off a SU win. Likewise, for Boston, the under is on streaks of 5-0 after allowing 100 or more points, 5-1 on one day of rest and 5-1 as a playoff chalk of less than five points, but the over is 5-2 in the Celtics’ last seven on the parquet floor.

Finally, Game 5 sailed over the posted price of 192, but the under is still 3-2 in the Finals (1-1 in Boston).

ATS ADVANTAGE: UNDER

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Re: NBA News and Notes June 17

NBA Finals Gameday

The Los Angeles Lakers are still trailing the Boston Celtics in the NBA Finals, but they're also still alive as the series heads back to the east coast for Tuesday's Game 6.

Facing elimination in Game 5 on Sunday night the Lakers exploded for 39 first-quarter points to take an early 17-point lead on the Celtics. Once again, though, Boston was able to fight back and close the gap - they outscored the Lakers by 30-16 margin in the second quarter and trailed only by three points when the teams headed into the break.

This time, however, the Lakers managed to make their lead stand up. Los Angeles limited Boston to just 18 points in the third quarter, and they held on for a 103-98 victory. The Lakers still trail the best-of-seven set 3-2, but at least the Celtics didn't celebrate on their court.

Kobe Bryant scored a team-high 25 points in the victory for the Lakers, and the star guard contributed seven rebounds and four assists as well. Lamar Odom was good for 20 points and 11 boards on the night, while Pau Gasol picked up 19 points and 13 rebounds. Derek Fisher poured in 15 points, and Jordan Farmar added 11 off the bench.

Paul Pierce poured in a game-high 38 points in a losing cause for Boston, adding six rebounds and eight assists to his stats line as well. Ray Allen had 16 points in the contest, while Kevin Garnett scored 13 points and picked up 14 rebounds. Rajon Rondo was largely ineffective in the defeat; he was held to three points on just 1-of-7 shooting.

Rondo, in fact, played just over 14 minutes in the contest as he tries to overcome his ankle injury. Celtics center Kendrick Perkins missed Game 5 completely because of a strained shoulder, and he's listed as questionable to play in Game 6 on Tuesday night. Leon Powe started in Perkins' place Sunday night, but he played just under five minutes.

The Lakers had been listed as big home favorites for the third straight contest on Sunday night, but once again they failed to cover that big spread. Los Angeles was pegged as a 7.5-point home favorite in Game 5, the same spread they were given in Game 4. Back in Game 3 the Lakers were listed as an even bigger favorite - 9.5 points.

In fact, the Celtics might only be up 3-2 in the series right now, but they're 5-0 against-the-spread heading into Game 6 on Tuesday. Boston was listed as a 3-point home underdog in Game 1, and they managed to cover a small 1-point home line in Game 2.

Bettors taking the OVER on Sunday got the win - the combined score managed to get past the posted total of 193 points. The previous two games in Los Angeles had both been UNDER results, while the teams went 1-1 on the OU in Boston. Posted totals for the series have ranged from 190.5 to 195.5 with each team struggling to get to the 100-point plateau - the Lakers have done it twice, and the Celtics have reached it just once.

The oddsmakers like the Celtics' chances of wrapping up the NBA Finals at TD Banknorth Garden in Game 6 - they were opened as 4-point favorites. The total for the game opened at 192 points. If the Lakers do manage to stave off elimination again on Tuesday the teams will stay in Boston for a seventh and deciding contest on Thursday.

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Re: NBA News and Notes June 17

NBA Today

L.A. Lakers at Boston (9 p.m. EDT). The Lakers defeated the Celtics in Game 5 on Sunday night to cut their NBA finals deficit to 3-2.

LONG ROAD

Boston will be playing its record-setting 26th game this postseason Tuesday night in Game 6 of the NBA finals against the Lakers, leading the series 3-2.

LONG ODDS

The Lakers are trying to become the first team in NBA finals history to overcome a 3-1 deficit to win a title. Los Angeles cut the Celtics' lead to 3-2 with Game 6 in Boston on Tuesday night.

STATUS

Boston center Kendrick Perkins missed Game 5 of the NBA finals with a shoulder injury and is not expected to be ready for Game 6. ... The prognosis for Yao Ming's left foot is ``very good,'' but it remains uncertain whether the Rockets' center will be cleared to play in time for a pre-Olympics tournament, his agent said Monday.

VIEWERS


Television ratings for the NBA finals Sunday were up from the last time the series went five games. The Lakers' 103-98 win over Boston averaged a 10.1 fast national rating on ABC, the network said Monday. That's an 11 percent increase over the 9.1 for Game 5 of the Dallas-Miami series in 2006.

STAYING OR GOING?

Lawyers for the city of Seattle argued in court that the SuperSonics should stay at KeyArena until its lease expires in 2010. In his opening statement Monday, Seattle lawyer Paul Lawrence said the city only agreed to renovate the old Seattle Coliseum - now KeyArena - at a cost of more than $80 million in the mid-1990s because the team agreed to stay until 2010. Sonics owner Clay Bennett gained the league's approval to move the team to his hometown of Oklahoma City and is hoping to pay the city no more than $10 million in lost rent for the next two seasons.

SIDELINED

Utah Jazz owner Larry Miller is hospitalized with health complications related to diabetes.

SPEAKING

``It's going to be like coming into the Amazon, into the jungle. I look forward to coming home and playing.'' - Boston forward Kevin Garnett on returning home for Game 6 of the NBA finals against the Lakers on Tuesday night, leading the series 3-2.

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