NBA News and Notes Tuesday 4/21

NBA News and Notes Tuesday 4/21

Tuesday's Tip Sheet
By Brian Edwards

The NBA Playoffs continue Tuesday night with a tripleheader, including Game 2 of the Cavs-Pistons series. Gamblers also get a pair of late-night games to wager on when Portland looks to avenge a Game 1 loss to Houston and the Lakers try to take a 2-0 advantage against Utah.

**Pistons at Cavaliers**

--Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened Cleveland (67-16 straight up, 51-32 against the spread) as an 11 ½-point favorite with a total of 178. As of late Monday afternoon, most sports books had the Cavs as 11-point ‘chalk’ with the total still at 178. Bettors can back the Pistons to win outright for a plus-600 payout (risk $100 to win $600).

--Mike Brown’s team won Game 1 by a 102-84 count as an 11 ½-point favorite. LeBron James was sensational with 38 points, eight rebounds and seven assists without committing a turnover. Joe Smith chipped in with 13 points, while Mo Williams, Delonte West and Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 12 points apiece. The 186 points jumped ‘over’ the 176 ½-point total.

--Detroit (39-44 SU, 34-49 ATS) was in the mix to cover the number in Game 1, trailing by just 13 at the end of the third quarter. The Pistons were down just 93-80 with 4:19 left, but that’s when Rodney Stuckey missed back-to-back shots in the lane that could’ve put his team in the lead for our purposes. Stuckey finished with a team-high 20 points, but he made just 7-of-21 shots from the field. Richard Hamilton finished with 15 points, while Rasheed Wallace had 13 points and nine rebounds.

--Michael Curry’s squad owns a 6-4 spread record when listed as an underdog of 8 ½ points or more. The Pistons are 1-1 ATS as double-digit ‘dogs.

--The Cavs are 17-12 ATS as double-digit favorites this year. However, they are just 2-7 ATS in their last nine such spots.

--Cleveland has won four in a row over the Pistons, going 3-1 ATS. Detroit won the first head-to-head meeting this season by a 96-89 count as a 2 ½-point favorite back on Nov. 19.

--The ‘under’ is 45-37-1 overall for the Cavs, 24-17-1 in their home games. The ‘under’ is on a 12-4-1 run in Cleveland’s last 17 home outings.

--The ‘under’ is 41-40-2 overall for Detroit, 21-20-1 in its road assignments. With that said, the ‘over’ is on an 8-3-1 run in the Pistons’ last 12 road games.

--The ‘under’ had cashed in eight consecutive head-to-head meetings between these teams until Game 1 went ‘over’ the total Saturday afternoon.

--LVSC adjusted its future odds Monday morning. The Cavs are now an even-money bet to win the NBA title. There is no adjusted series price for Cleveland-Detroit since the Cavs are such overwhelming favorites. The Pistons are now 100/1 long-shots to win it all.

--TNT will have the telecast at 8:05 p.m. Eastern.
   
**Rockets at Trail Blazers**

--LVSC opened Portland (54-29 SU, 45-37 ATS) as a 5 ½-point favorite with a total of 184. As of late Monday afternoon, those numbers were still the same with the exception of a few spots moving the Trail Blazers to six. The Rockets are plus-210 on the money line (risk $100 to win $210).

--Houston (54-29 SU, 41-41-1 ATS) took a 1-0 series lead by mashing Portland 108-81 in Game 1. The Rockets took the cash as five-point underdogs and hooked up money-line backers with a generous plus-180 return. Yao Ming dominated the first half, literally playing perfect with 24 points and nine rebounds on 100-percent shooting from the floor (9-of-9) and the free-throw line (6-for-6).

--Rick Adelman got outstanding performances from more than just Yao. Aaron Brooks exploded for a team-high 27 points and also dished out seven assists, making Houston management look brilliant for a deadline day trade of Rafer Alston that made room for Brooks to get more playing time. Luis Scola had 19 points and eight rebounds, while Ron Artest finished with 17 points.

--Nate McMillan’s team had won six in a row and had covered the spread in its last five regular-season games, so its abysmal performance in Game 1 probably shocked many gamblers, especially those that bought Portland for a second-half wager catching a double-digit number. The Trail Blazers never even threatened to cash those tickets. Brandon Roy scored a team-high 21 points but if there was a bright spot for the losing team, it was the play of rookie center Greg Oden, who had 15 points and five boards in just 21 minutes of action.

--Despite going down in blowout fashion in Game 1, Portland maintains a 34-8 SU record and a 26-15 ATS mark at the Rose Garden.

--Houston won three of four head-to-head meetings between these teams this year. The lone Portland victory came in the first encounter back on Nov. 6 when the Trail Blazers captured a 101-99 win in overtime as five-point home underdogs. Dating back even further, the Rockets have prevailed in eight of the last nine games against Portland.

--The ‘under’ is 42-41 overall for the Rockets, but they have watched the ‘over’ go 23-19 in their road games.

--The ‘under’ is 42-39-1 overall for Portland. However, the ‘over’ has been more prevalent in its home outings, cashing at a 21-19-1 clip.

--The ‘over’ has hit in five straight head-to-head meetings between these squads.

--Tip-off is scheduled for 10:05 p.m. Eastern on NBA-TV.

**Jazz at Lakers**

--LVSC opened Los Angeles (66-17 SU, 44-39 ATS) as an 11 ½-point favorite with a total of 211 ½. As of early Monday night, most spots had the Lakers at 12 with the total increased to 212. Bettors can take the Jazz on the money line for a plus-700 payoff (risk $100 to win $700).

--L.A. dominated Utah for a 113-100 win in Game 1 of this best-of-seven first-round series between the No. 1 and No. 8 seeds in the Western Conference. Although he did commit six turnovers, Kobe Bryant still paced the Lakers with 24 points and eight assists. Trevor Ariza erupted for 21 points and Pau Gasol finished with 20 points and nine rebounds.

--Utah (48-35 SU, 39-44 ATS) might have found something to build on with its second-half performance, but the Jazz went to intermission trailing by a 62-40 score. Carlos Boozer scored 27 points and had nine rebounds, while Deron Williams tallied 16 points and 17 assists.

--Phil Jackson teams in Chicago and L.A. have won all 41 playoff series in which they won Game 1.

--The ‘over’ has hit in seven straight L.A.-Utah games. These clubs have played in L.A. three times this year with the Lakers winning all three contests by 13-point margins. They covered the spread in all three of those encounters, but the Jazz collected a 113-109 win in the lone game played in Salt Lake City back on Feb. 11.

--The ‘under’ is 44-39 overall for Utah, 25-17 in its road games. However, the ‘over’ has cashed in each of the last eight Jazz road outings.

--The ‘over’ is 44-39 overall for the Lakers, 21-21 in their home games at Staples Center. The ‘under’ is on an 8-3 roll in L.A.’s last 11 home assignments.

--TNT will have television coverage at 10:35 p.m. Eastern.

VegasInsider.com

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Re: NBA News and Notes Tuesday 4/21

Game of the day: Rockets at Trail Blazers
By The Prez

Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers (-5.5, 183.5)

Season series


Houston won Game 1 in Portland on Saturday, 108-81 - Portland’s worst home loss this season. Pretty much every statistic other than turnovers was lopsided in favor of Houston.

That same Rockets team had blown a chance at the No. 2 seed in the West with a 94-85 loss in Dallas on the season’s final night. The Blazers, meanwhile, crushed Denver in the regular season finale at the Rose Garden and had won six games in a row overall and six straight at home, where they were 34-7 during the season.

In the regular season, Houston won two of three meetings but lost the lone game in the Rose Garden.

Wow, Yao

The biggest reason for the Game 1 dominance by Houston Yao Ming's lights out performance. Yao was 9-for-9 from the field, becoming just the sixth player in postseason history to hit all his shots from the field with a minimum of  nine attempts. He also was 6-for-6 from the line and added nine rebounds. Yao didn’t even take a shot in the second half (the game was over at halftime) and didn’t play in the fourth quarter.

So what will Blazers coach Nate McMillan do to slow Yao? Well, he might play centers Greg Oden and Joel Przybilla in a twin towers-type lineup at times and double-team Yao more often.

“I thought about that (in Game 1), but didn't get to it," McMillan said of using Oden and Przybilla to the Oregonian. "I think we may look at that. The thing is for our guys, we are not scoring against this team. I don't know if that gives us more scoring."

Oden played well in the playoff opener with 15 points and five boards, albeit mostly against Rockets backup Dikembe Mutombo. McMillan said Channing Frye, who played 20 minutes at power forward, will go back to the bench and that Travis Outlaw, who played small forward Saturday, will play the four spot.

McMillan opted not to show the team any film on Sunday, but put his players through a rigorous practice whereas he might have used that extra off day to rest his guys in the regular season. He also said his first unit had to be more aggressive in Game 2 since the Blazers got to the line just three times in the first half Saturday.

Rockets’ Unlikely Star

Yao was terrific, but that was fairly expected. What wasn’t was the performance of Houston point guard Aaron Brooks. The former University of Oregon player appeared energized playing at his home away from home, executing the best game of his NBA career with 27 points, seven assists and four rebounds.

Houston coach Rick Adelman told Brooks to be aggressive because the Rockets’ coaching staff doesn’t think Steve Blake can guard the cat-quick Brooks.

“He can be a difference-maker,” Adelman said to the Houston Chronicle.

What Happened To Aldridge?

Pretty much no one on Portland played well Saturday other than maybe Brandon Roy, and that criticism definitely fits LaMarcus Aldridge. The young power forward averaged 18.1 points in the regular season but had just seven on Saturday and shot 3-for-12.

Aldridge, who averaged 23.3 points in the regular season against Houston, said the Rockets were giving him new looks this time, including often sending Yao on a double-team.

However, Roy said that maybe Aldridge was overthinking in his playoff debut. The former Longhorn finished a team-worst -24 in plus/minus rating.

A few trends

Portland’s offense is trending downward against the Rockets. In the four games, the Blazers have scored 101, 94, 88 and now 81 points against the Rockets.

Houston is 7-2 all-time in playoff games against Portland.

The Trail Blazers are 1-5 ATS in their last six games following a double-digit loss at home.

The Rockets are 5-0-1 ATS in their last six games playing on two days rest.

The over is 5-0 in the last five meetings.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Tuesday 4/21

NBA Today

SCOREBOARD


Tuesday, April 21

Detroit at Cleveland (8 p.m. EDT). The Cavaliers look for another dominant performance to go up 2-0 on the Pistons. Cleveland won the opener by 18 points.

STARS

Monday

— Ray Allen, Celtics, made a tiebreaking 3-pointer with 2 seconds left and finished with 30 points, leading Boston to a 118-115 win over Chicago in Game 2 of their playoff series.

— Ben Gordon, Bulls, nearly carried Chicago to a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series as he scored a playoff career-high 42 points—including a basket with 12.3 seconds left to tie it.

— Tony Parker, Spurs, had 38 points and eight assists to help San Antonio beat Dallas 105-84 to even their first-round playoff series at a game apiece.

SEEING THINGS

Orlando Magic center Dwight Howard says he’s going to get his eyes examined after he was inadvertently scratched by Philadelphia 76ers center Samuel Dalembert. Howard said he would see an eye doctor but that the injury won’t keep him sidelined for Game 2 against the 76ers on Wednesday night. Howard said he was “seeing just a whole bunch of crazy stuff” when he closed his eyes and felt a “pulsating” sensation when they were open.

EVEN STEVEN

San Antonio and Boston both evened their playoff series at 1-1 after dropping the openers at home. San Antonio hasn’t lost consecutive home playoff games since 2002.

SENT HOME

Celtics general manager Danny Ainge attended Boston’s shootaround Monday after being released from a hospital following a heart attack but was not at the second game of the playoffs against the Chicago Bulls. Ainge was released from Massachusetts General Hospital on Sunday, three days after he was admitted and had surgery.

SURE AM TIRED

Boston Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck was at the game after finishing the Boston Marathon earlier Monday in 4:16:49. He sat next to New England Patriots owner Robert Kraft.

JUST REWARDS

Mike Brown was honored as the league’s top coach after leading the Cleveland Cavaliers to their greatest regular season. He guided the club to a franchise-record 66 wins, a second Central Division title and the No. 1 overall seed in the postseason. Cleveland leads the Detroit Pistons 1-0 in the first round of the playoffs. Brown joins Bill Fitch in 1976 as the only Cleveland coaches to win the award.

FLASHBACK

The Bulls-Celtics game was played on the 23rd anniversary of Michael Jordan’s NBA playoff record of 63 points. Boston beat Chicago 135-131 in double overtime in that one.

SPEAKING

“(It) looked like they turned it into a personal battle. You know, who’s the best UConn player to ever play. And it was amazing.”—Celtics coach Doc Rivers on Ray Allen and Ben Gordon’s stellar play in Boston’s 118-115 win over Chicago that evened the series at one win apiece. Gordon finished with a playoff career-high 42 points, but Allen hit a tie-breaking 3-pointer with 2 seconds left to seal the win and finished with 30 points.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Tuesday 4/21

DETROIT (39 - 44) at CLEVELAND (67 - 16)
Top Trends for this game.
DETROIT is 34-49 ATS (-19.9 Units) in all games this season.
DETROIT is 2-14 ATS (-13.4 Units) after a division game this season.
CLEVELAND is 50-33 ATS (+13.7 Units) in all games this season.
CLEVELAND is 44-27 ATS (+14.3 Units) as a favorite this season.
CLEVELAND is 28-14 ATS (+12.6 Units) in home games this season.
CLEVELAND is 25-16 ATS (+7.4 Units) after a win by 10 points or more this season.
DETROIT is 13-3 ATS (+9.7 Units) in a road game where the total is between 170 and 179.5 points over the last 2 seasons.
DETROIT is 16-5 ATS (+10.5 Units) in road games when playing with 2 days rest over the last 3 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
CLEVELAND is 12-7 against the spread versus DETROIT over the last 3 seasons
CLEVELAND is 10-9 straight up against DETROIT over the last 3 seasons
14 of 19 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


HOUSTON (54 - 29) at PORTLAND (54 - 29)
There are no Top Trends with records of significance that apply to this game.

Head-to-Head Series History
PORTLAND is 6-6 against the spread versus HOUSTON over the last 3 seasons
HOUSTON is 9-3 straight up against PORTLAND over the last 3 seasons
6 of 12 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons 


UTAH (48 - 35) at LA LAKERS (66 - 17)
Top Trends for this game.
UTAH is 8-17 ATS (-10.7 Units) as an underdog this season.
UTAH is 37-52 ATS (-20.2 Units) in road games over the last 2 seasons.
UTAH is 10-21 ATS (-13.1 Units) revenging a loss vs opponent this season.
UTAH is 13-26 ATS (-15.6 Units) in road games after allowing 105 points or more over the last 3 seasons.
UTAH is 6-17 ATS (-12.7 Units) in road games when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
UTAH is 7-17 ATS (-11.7 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record - 2nd half of the season this season.
UTAH is 12-25 ATS (-15.5 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 99+ points/game this season.
UTAH is 6-14 ATS (-9.4 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 99+ points/game - 2nd half of the season this season.
LA LAKERS are 100-83 ATS (+8.7 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
LA LAKERS are 46-32 ATS (+10.8 Units) second half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
LA LAKERS are 29-17 ATS (+10.3 Units) against Northwest division opponents over the last 2 seasons.
LA LAKERS are 39-20 ATS (+17.0 Units) in home games after playing 3 consecutive home games since 1996.
LA LAKERS are 54-34 ATS (+16.6 Units) versus poor defensive teams - allowing 99+ points/game over the last 2 seasons.
LA LAKERS are 37-15 ATS (+20.5 Units) versus poor defensive teams - allowing 99+ points/game - 2nd half of the season over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
LA LAKERS is 11-5 against the spread versus UTAH over the last 3 seasons
LA LAKERS is 12-5 straight up against UTAH over the last 3 seasons
13 of 17 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

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DETROIT vs. CLEVELAND
Detroit is 2-6 ATS in its last 8 games when playing on the road against Cleveland
Detroit is 1-7 SU in its last 8 games when playing on the road against Cleveland
Cleveland is 5-0 ATS in its last 5 games
Cleveland is 19-3 SU in its last 22 games

HOUSTON vs. PORTLAND
Houston is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games on the road
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Houston's last 6 games on the road
Portland is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Houston
The total has gone OVER in 4 of Portland's last 5 games when playing at home against Houston

UTAH vs. LA LAKERS
Utah is 1-4 ATS in their last 5 games when playing LA Lakers
Utah is 1-5 SU in their last 6 games when playing LA Lakers
LA Lakers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games
LA Lakers are 8-1 SU in their last 9 games

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Re: NBA News and Notes Tuesday 4/21

Detroit at Cleveland

Detroit:

0-9 ATS off a division loss
3-11 ATS revenging road loss

Cleveland:
13-1 ATS after leading L3 games by 5+ points at the half
23-7 ATS at home off BB ATS wins


Houston at Portland

Houston:

1-8 ATS off SU dog win
2-10 ATS off win by 15+ points

Portland:
26-9 ATS if home favorite last game
9-1 Over as a home favorite of 6 points or less


Utah at LA Lakers

Utah:

7-17 ATS as a road underdog
7-15 ATS revenging a same season loss

LA Lakers:
7-0 ATS when playing only their 2nd game in 7 days
13-3 OVER off BB home wins

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Re: NBA News and Notes Tuesday 4/21

Tips and Trends

Detroit Pistons at Cleveland Cavaliers


Pistons: “It’s going to take more than one person to stop LeBron,” Pistons guard Will Bynum said. “It’s going to take all five of us. We have to do what we have to do to stop this guy.” Detroit coach Michael Curry was disappointed with the Pistons’ inability in Game 1 to keep James out of the foul lane, where he can simply outjump his defender and shoot. “We didn’t make him take the shots that we wanted him to take,” Curry said. “He had eight shots in the paint and 11-of-14 from the free-throw line. We have to keep him out of the paint more, make him pass it to those guys (teammates) and try to make those guys make plays. I think we’ll do a much better job on him.”

The Pistons are 1-8 ATS in their last 9 games following a SU loss.
The Pistons are 0-5 ATS in their last 5 games overall.

Key Injuries - G Allen Iverson (back) is OUT for the season.
F Tayshaun Prince (back) is QUESTIONABLE.

PROJECTED SCORE: 82


Cavaliers (-11, O/U 178): The Cavs move the ball, use multiple offensive sets, run when the opportunity presents itself and play with a poise rarely seen before. “Our offense is night and day,” James said. “A couple of years ago, we did a lot of standing. We relied on me sometimes just to dribble and get us into making a play for either myself or a teammate. The ball movement that we have and the way we rely on teammates to make plays is at an all-time high.” “Over the last three years we weren’t good on offense mainly because of me,” Brown said. “It is starting to evolve and it is starting to show how much work we have put in.”

The Favorite is 9-1 ATS in the last 10 meetings.
The Under is 29-7 in the last 36 meetings.

Key Injuries - NONE

PROJECTED SCORE: 93 (UNDER - Total Play of the Day)

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