NBA News and Notes Saturday 4/18

NBA News and Notes Saturday 4/18

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Saturday, April 18

Detroit at Cleveland (3 p.m. EDT). The Cavaliers, who clinched home-court advantage throughout the playoffs, open the postseason against the Pistons.

AINGE OK

Boston Celtics general manager Danny Ainge won’t be at the team’s playoff opener after a minor heart attack. Team spokesman Jeff Twiss said Friday that Ainge is resting comfortably and could be released from Massachusetts General Hospital by Sunday. Boston plays the Chicago Bulls on Saturday and then again on Monday before going on the road for Game 3 next Thursday. Ainge was hospitalized Thursday morning after missing Wednesday night’s regular-season finale because he wasn’t feeling well. The team described the heart attack as “minor.”

FEELING THE PINCH

In an effort to cut costs, the Charlotte Bobcats likely will hold next season’s training camp at their own practice facility and not field a summer league team. Coach Larry Brown said Friday that the weeklong training camp will probably move from UNC-Wilmington to the team’s practice court at Time Warner Cable Arena. The Bobcats likely won’t have a team in the Las Vegas summer league as they did a year ago. Charlotte has lost millions of dollars in its first five seasons.

IT’S THE ECONOMY

Economic discussions dominated the NBA’s Board of Governors meetings that ended Friday after two days. The owners have a variety of business interests beyond basketball, so even if their team is doing well there’s a good chance something in their portfolio isn’t. One of the sessions featured a discussion with Jamie Dimon. The CEO and chairman of JP Morgan Chase talked to owners about the economy for more than an hour.

LOTTERY TIEBREAKERS

The Washington Wizards won a tiebreaker with the Los Angeles Clippers, giving them a slightly better chance of landing the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft. Washington has an 17.8 percent chance of winning the draft lottery May 19. Los Angeles is at 17.7 percent. The teams tied for the league’s second-worst record at 19-63. Sacramento was an NBA-worst 17-65 and has a 25 percent chance. Also, Minnesota won a tiebreaker with Memphis and would have the fifth pick if neither moves up in the lottery. Milwaukee beat out New Jersey for the 10th-best lottery chance. Chicago edged Philadelphia for the 16th pick. A three-way tie ended with Portland picking 24th, followed by San Antonio and Denver.

THANKS, ED

Washington Wizards president Ernie Grunfeld announced Friday that interim coach Ed Tapscott will stay with the team in a role yet to be determined. Tapscott was Washington’s director of player development before Grunfeld fired coach Eddie Jordan after a 1-10 start. Tapscott finished 18-53, with the combined 19-63 record matching the worst over an 82-game season in franchise history. Former Minnesota and Detroit coach Flip Saunders has agreed to become the Wizards’ new coach, an NBA executive told The Associated Press earlier this week.

SPEAKING

“I think people are counting us out. I don’t even think people are expecting us to make it past the second round. … We’ve got enough talent in here to give ourselves a chance to win every game.”—Boston center Kendrick Perkins, as the defending champion Celtics prepare to open the playoffs with the possibility forward Kevin Garnett could miss the entire postseason.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Saturday 4/18

What bettors need to know: Mavericks at Spurs
By David Chan

Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs (-4.5, 185.5)

Betting the numbers


The Spurs opened as 4.5-point favorites but have since dropped to -4 at numerous books. The total has held steady since opening at 185.5.

The early money appears to be coming in on the Mavs and the over, but it's too early to tell if there will be enough money to warrant further adjustments to the lines.

Two hot teams

Both teams head into the playoffs with plenty of momentum.

The Mavericks won seven of their final nine games to move from eighth to sixth and certainly earned a more favorable matchup. However, they didn't do much for their backers, posting a 5-6 record against the number in their final 11 regular season games.

Likewise, the Spurs finished the season on a roll, winning their last four games. But they failed to make bettors any loot along the way, losing six of their last 10 games ATS.

Home-court disadvantage?

The Spurs weren't exactly a sure thing at home down the stretch. They're just 5-5 SU as hosts dating back to a 102-95 loss to the Lakers on March 12th.

San Antonio was 28-13 at home during the regular season, but that didn't translate into pointspread success. The Spurs were 17-23-1 against the number.

Both teams managed to steal a game on the road as underdogs during the regular season series.

The road team is 14-6 ATS in the last 20 meetings between these Southwest Division rivals.

Injury watch

Dallas is expected to have the services of Josh Howard for Saturday's playoff opener. He's been in and out of the lineup due to an ankle injury but played 35 minutes in Wednesday's regular season finale and should be good to go after a couple of days off.

Devean George and Jerry Stackhouse remain sidelined and neither is expected back during the playoffs.

The Spurs suffered a big blow when they lost Manu Ginobili for the season. He suffered a fractured ankle in Cleveland on April 5.

Ginobili's injury is a big reason why the Mavericks are getting a lot of love from the betting majority heading into this series.

It's worth noting that the Spurs beat the Mavs 93-76 without Ginobili in late February.

Mavs confident

Dallas believes it can beat San Antonio in a seven-game series, and why not? After all the Mavericks are one of only two teams to accomplish that feat against the Duncan-led Spurs over the past decade.

"Getting past them was a stepping stone," guard Jason Terry told reporters. "It did give us confidence knowing we could take down a powerhouse, because that's what they are."

Watching how hard the Mavs played down the stretch should tell you that this is the series they wanted in the opening round.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Saturday 4/18

Game of the day: Rockets at Trail Blazers
By Alex Smart

Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers (-4, 182.5)

First-round ceiling


Normally, the talk about the Houston Rockets advancing in the NBA's illustrious second-season would revolve around Tracy McGrady. However, with T-Mac having arthroscopic knee surgery in February, Yao Ming becomes the center of attention.

Yao's leading a team that has not advanced past the first round since 1997. After losing to Dallas in the final game of the regular season, the Rockets were denied the Southwest Division title and home-court advantage in the opening round.

Yao and the Rockets will more than likely have to steal a win in the Rose Garden to avoid another early exit from the postseason.

Houston won the season series 2-1 with the Blazers, but was handed an overtime loss in its only trip to the Rip City. McGrady poured in 30 points in that defeat while leading the team in rebounds and assists.

Baby Blazers

Bring on the skeptics. The Trail Blazers are young, full of energy and poised to silence everyone who doubts their level of post season experience. But can you really blame those who continue to scratch their heads?

If look at Portland’s roster, it's extremely easy to understand how they won 54 games. Brandon Roy is an All-Star for many seasons to come. The Blazers' international players have been phenomenal and the two-headed center consisting of Joel Przybilla and Greg Oden caused fits in the paint.

Portland is making its first playoff appearance since the 2002-2003 seasons, ending the league's longest active streak of missed postseasons. Tip your cap to Portland. It finished the regular season winners of six straight and 10 of its last 11 games.

"We're peaking at the right time," Przybilla told the press. "We're playing our best basketball at the biggest time of the year.”

Raining in the Rose Garden

The numbers are eerily similar. When stacked side by side, the percentage numbers posted by both the Blazers and Rockets resemble the other team in the fullest extent, perhaps further explaining why these clubs finished fourth and fifth.

Just as Portland brings an average of 99.4 points per game, there's Houston right behind, dropping 98.4 per contest. The Blazers are scoring at a 46.4 percent clip while the Rockets shoot 45.3 percent from the field. Even 3-point percentage and assists per game sit neck and neck heading into this series.

The one number that does favor one side is Houston's advantage at the charity stripe. The Rockets are shooting 80.4 percent from the line, almost four percent better than the Blazers. But just as Houston has its edge, Portland boasts Rudy Fernandez. He ended the year by dropping six triples on the Nuggets, claiming Kerry Kittles record (158) of three-pointers made by a rookie in the process (159).

Strength in numbers

Despite the Blazers being 4-point favorites for Game 1, the similarities between Portland and Houston make flipping a coin as reasonable a capping option as crunching the season numbers.

Houston enters 5-1 ATS in its last six games against the NBA Northwest and 6-2 ATS in Saturday games over the past two months. The Rockets seem to run out of fuel when facing teams who've proved successful at home this season. With poor records against the spread recently (1-5 in their last six games on the road and 0-5 vs. teams with a winning home record), Portland holds the momentum.

The Blazers are also 6-0 ATS over their last six home games, 6-0 ATS as a favorite and 5-0 ATS in their last five games when facing Western Conference teams. If those numbers aren't convincing enough, turn your attention over to the total. The over/under is 4-0 in the last four meetings between these two clubs.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Saturday 4/18

CHICAGO (41 - 41) at BOSTON (62 - 20)
Top Trends for this game.
CHICAGO is 11-24 ATS (-15.4 Units) against Atlantic division opponents over the last 2 seasons.
BOSTON is 110-79 ATS (+23.1 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
BOSTON is 85-67 ATS (+11.3 Units) as a favorite over the last 2 seasons.
BOSTON is 55-40 ATS (+11.0 Units) in home games over the last 2 seasons.
BOSTON is 21-9 ATS (+11.1 Units) on Saturday games over the last 3 seasons.
BOSTON is 12-4 ATS (+7.6 Units) after allowing 105 points or more this season.
BOSTON is 38-25 ATS (+10.5 Units) after scoring 105 points or more over the last 2 seasons.
BOSTON is 56-35 ATS (+17.5 Units) versus poor defensive teams - allowing 99+ points/game over the last 2 seasons.
CHICAGO is 12-3 ATS (+8.7 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record - 2nd half of the season this season.

Head-to-Head Series History
BOSTON is 7-3 against the spread versus CHICAGO over the last 3 seasons
BOSTON is 6-4 straight up against CHICAGO over the last 3 seasons
5 of 9 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


DETROIT (39 - 43) at CLEVELAND (66 - 16)
Top Trends for this game.
DETROIT is 34-48 ATS (-18.8 Units) in all games this season.
DETROIT is 6-14 ATS (-9.4 Units) off a upset loss as a favorite this season.
CLEVELAND is 49-33 ATS (+12.7 Units) in all games this season.
CLEVELAND is 43-27 ATS (+13.3 Units) as a favorite this season.
CLEVELAND is 27-14 ATS (+11.6 Units) in home games this season.
CLEVELAND is 18-9 ATS (+8.1 Units) after scoring 105 points or more this season.
DETROIT is 13-2 ATS (+10.8 Units) in a road game where the total is between 170 and 179.5 points over the last 2 seasons.
DETROIT is 16-4 ATS (+11.6 Units) in road games when playing with 2 days rest over the last 3 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
CLEVELAND is 11-7 against the spread versus DETROIT over the last 3 seasons
CLEVELAND is 9-9 straight up against DETROIT over the last 3 seasons
14 of 18 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


DALLAS (50 - 32) at SAN ANTONIO (54 - 28)
Top Trends for this game.
DALLAS is 22-35 ATS (-16.5 Units) after a win by 10 points or more over the last 2 seasons.
SAN ANTONIO is 105-75 ATS (+22.5 Units) when playing with 2 days rest since 1996.
SAN ANTONIO is 222-179 ATS (+25.1 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record - 2nd half of the season since 1996.
SAN ANTONIO is 26-15 ATS (+9.5 Units) versus poor defensive teams - allowing 99+ points/game this season.
SAN ANTONIO is 42-27 ATS (+12.3 Units) in home games versus good offensive teams - scoring 99+ points/game over the last 3 seasons.
DALLAS is 214-171 ATS (+25.9 Units) as an underdog since 1996.
DALLAS is 167-129 ATS (+25.1 Units) vs. division opponents since 1996.
SAN ANTONIO is 6-14 ATS (-9.4 Units) after 3 or more consecutive wins this season.

Head-to-Head Series History
DALLAS is 7-5 against the spread versus SAN ANTONIO over the last 3 seasons
SAN ANTONIO is 6-6 straight up against DALLAS over the last 3 seasons
7 of 12 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


HOUSTON (53 - 29) at PORTLAND (54 - 28)
Top Trends for this game.
PORTLAND is 45-36 ATS (+5.4 Units) in all games this season.
PORTLAND is 33-21 ATS (+9.9 Units) as a favorite this season.
PORTLAND is 26-14 ATS (+10.6 Units) in home games this season.
PORTLAND is 12-4 ATS (+7.6 Units) in home games revenging a loss vs opponent this season.
PORTLAND is 21-9 ATS (+11.1 Units) after a win by 10 points or more this season.
PORTLAND is 12-1 ATS (+10.9 Units) in home games after 3 or more consecutive wins over the last 2 seasons.
PORTLAND is 40-20 ATS (+18.0 Units) in home games when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 3 seasons.
HOUSTON is 284-235 ATS (+25.5 Units) in road games since 1996.
HOUSTON is 45-27 ATS (+15.3 Units) second half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
HOUSTON is 48-35 ATS (+9.5 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons.
PORTLAND is 40-63 ATS (-29.3 Units) as a home favorite of 3.5 to 6 points since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
PORTLAND is 6-5 against the spread versus HOUSTON over the last 3 seasons
HOUSTON is 8-3 straight up against PORTLAND over the last 3 seasons
6 of 11 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons 

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Re: NBA News and Notes Saturday 4/18

Chicago at Boston

Chicago:
11-24 ATS vs. Atlantic Division
18-33 ATS if home favorite last game

Boston:
11-1 ATS off home win scoring 110+ points
11-3 Over playing with 2 days rest


Detroit at Cleveland

Detroit:
6-14 ATS off SU loss as favorite
12-4 Under playing with 2 days rest

Cleveland:
26-14 ATS as home favorite
22-7 ATS at home off BB ATS wins


Dallas at San Antonio

Dallas:
5-1 Under at San Antonio
15-24 ATS off ATS win

San Antonio:
14-4 ATS at home as #3 seed
41-25 Under off home win


Houston at Portland

Houston:
13-8 Under as road underdog
33-25 Under off road loss

Portland:
8-0 ATS off home win by 20+ points
9-0 ATS at home after allowing 80 points or less 

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Re: NBA News and Notes Saturday 4/18

CHICAGO vs. BOSTON
Chicago is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Boston
Chicago is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Boston
Boston is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games
Boston is 8-1 SU in its last 9 games

DETROIT vs. CLEVELAND
Detroit is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Cleveland
Detroit is 5-11 ATS in its last 16 games when playing Cleveland
Cleveland is 5-1 ATS in its last 6 games
Cleveland is 18-3 SU in its last 21 games

DALLAS vs. SAN ANTONIO
Dallas is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
Dallas is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games
San Antonio is 2-9 ATS in its last 11 games when playing at home against Dallas
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of San Antonio's last 6 games when playing at home against Dallas

HOUSTON vs. PORTLAND
Houston is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Portland
Houston is 7-3 SU in its last 10 games when playing on the road against Portland
Portland is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games
Portland is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games

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Re: NBA News and Notes Saturday 4/18

Playoff Research
By Indiancowboy

Bulls vs. Celtics

Well, no KG. Deng is also out, but that does not come as a suprise. Bear in mind that the Series Price opened at:

Boston -900
Chicago +600

Now, it has dropped to Boston -700 after the KG injury.
Chicago +500.

These 2 teams have met a total of 3 times this series. The results were as follows:

Chicago 127-Boston 121 (no KG in this game) (Chicago covers +1.5) (O)
Boston 126-Chicago 108 (Boston covers -12) (O)
Boston 96-Chicago 80 (Boston covers -10) (U)

Boston has covered both times these two teams have played at home, and in fact, covered adn won fairly easily. The question is, how does this Celtics team respond without Garnett. The Bulls ended the season winning 7 of their last contests and the Celtics ended up winning 8 of their last 9 including covering 7 of their last 10. The last 7 of 9 have gone over for the Celtics too with no KG as this is not as a defensive minded team without KG. I lean slightly on the Bulls and the over here, but I can see it both ways. If you are looking for value the Bulls +500 for the Series price is not a bad idea, but I just can't come to trust this young Bulls team who couldn't beat Toronto at home or on the road, nevertheless, beating the Celtics in of the road games and the C's nearly beat this Bulls team on the road without Garnett and is quite capable of winning a road game and holding serve at home.

Detroit vs. Cleveland

The Series Price opened at:

Cleveland -2200
Detroit +1500

And, it has remained the same. Of course, there is no Iverson for this series, which actually works well for the Pistons as they play better without him. Wallce is listed as questionable for Cleveland. If you are looking at value, I don't think it's all that impossible that the Pistons can't win a few games from Cleveland in this series. Remember, the Pistons still have Hamilton, Price, Wallace and have a group of young emerging roll players in Maxiell, Bynum and Stuckey. This team has gotten stronger and deeper given their injuries which is a plus for them. The matchups this year have resulted in the following:

Cleveland 79-73 (Detroit covers 10 Point Dog Spread) (U 179.5)
Cleveland 99-78 (Cleveland covers -9) (U 180.5)
Cleveland 90-80 (Cleveland covers -4.5) (U 179.5)
Detroit 96-89 (Detroit -2.5) (U 190)

Something interest of you to note, the last 8 in this series have gone Under, this is why the lowest spread to date, at 179.5 is listed). And, considering the last game closed at 152, it's not all that impossible, that this game goes under 179.5. In the last game, Detroit was actually tied at the half to this team. I lean on the Stones and the Under here, Cleveland can win SU, but if Detroit can be tied at half and end up losing by 6 last time, the 12 points seems nice here for Round 1 of the Playoffs, and again, it might be worth taking the Stones for 1 Unit on the Series price of +2200.

Dallas vs. San Antonio

The Series Prices opened as follows:

San Antonio -135
Dallas +115

It has remained steady there. The 1st game opened up at -4.5 in favor of the Spurs and currently sits at -4. Mason will continue to start for Ginobli and this is part of the reason why Gooden was such a smart pickup for this team both on offense and on defense, he fits into Coach Pop system very well.

The last 4 meetings between these 2 teams went the following way:

Dallas 107-San Antonio-102 (Dallas covered -3.5)(Over 188.5)
San Antonio -93, Dallas-76 (SA -5) (Under 189.5)
Dallas 126-San Antonio 133 (SA -2) (Over 191)
San Antonio 81-Dallas 98 (Dallas +4.5) (Under 188)

My leans are that when San Antonio plays at home, both games have gone Under. When Dallas plays at home, both games have gone Over as well. These two teams have split covering the regular season 2-2 ATS. I lean on the two previous results as if the Spurs have any chance, they have to play defense, and I lean on the Spurs slightly here at -4, but the line has been going down so it makes me a bit weary, which means the Under is not as a potential play b/c then it could go dog and over. More importantly, I am hoping for the Spurs to win so the Over eventually is a possibility in Dallas. Plus, if Dallas wins game 1, the Under is likely in San Antonio in Game 2. We'll see how the first game plays out.

Houston vs. Portland

McGrady is Out, what a surprise, Houston should undoubtedly trade him next year or look to moving him out for a 1st round pick. This team actually plays better without him, similar to the Stones playing better without Iverson.

The Series Price opened up at:

Portland -200
Houston +170

Currently:
Portland -170
Houston +150

I am a fan of Portland, but keep in mind that Houston has had continued success against the Blazers. Obviously depth is a bit of a problem for the Rockets, but they have given the Blazers fits throughout this year.

Houston 102-Portland 88 (Houston 4) (Over 184.5)
Houston 98 - Portland 94 (Houston +4.5) (Over 190)
Portland 101 - Houston 99 (OT) (Portland +5) (Over 184)

Bear in mind that Portland has not beat this Houston team at home by more than a bucket. All 3 games in this series have gone over despite both of these teams being defensive teams. I know the total has gone down a bit since its opening, but if Houston is going to be an active dog, I look for this game to go over.

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