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NBA News and Notes Friday 5/1

NBA News and Notes Friday 5/1

NBA Today

SCOREBOARD


Friday, May 1

Atlanta at Miami (8 p.m. EDT). After beating the Heat 106-91 in Game 5, the Hawks can close out the first-round series with a victory at Miami. Every game in the series has been decided by at least 10 points.

STARS

Thursday

— Derrick Rose, Bulls, scored 28 points and blocked Rajon Rondo’s potential winner as Chicago held on for a 128-127 triple-overtime victory over Boston to force Game 7.

— John Salmons, Bulls, scored 35 points as Chicago tied the series with Boston at three games apiece.

— Rashard Lewis, Magic, scored 29 points to help Orlando eliminate Philadelphia with a 114-89 victory in Game 6.

— Ron Artest and Yao Ming, Rockets. Artest scored 27 points and Yao had 17 points and 10 rebounds as Houston romped past Portland 92-76 and into the second round of the playoffs.

PLAYOFF MATCHUP

Houston’s 92-76 victory over Portland set up a second-round series with the Lakers, who swept the Rockets in their four meetings this season.

AWESOME ALLEN

Ray Allen scored a career playoff-high 51 points in a losing effort for the Celtics, tying the NBA playoff record with nine 3-pointers. He finished three points shy of John Havlicek’s club playoff record.

NO HOWARD, NO LEE, NO PROBLEM

The Orlando Magic overcame the absences of starters Dwight Howard and Courtney Lee to beat Philadelphia 114-89 and advance to the second round of the playoffs. Howard was suspended one game by the NBA for his elbow on Sixers center Samuel Dalembert in Game 5, and Lee had surgery on his fractured sinus Thursday and could possibly be out two more weeks. Without them, the Magic made 12 of their first 19 shots to pull away early.

ADVANCING, FINALLY

Houston reached the second round for the first time since 1997, and the first time with Yao Ming on the team, eliminating Portland in six games.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

LaMarcus Aldridge scored 26 points and Brandon Roy had 22 for the Blazers, who were making their first playoff appearance since 2003, in a 92-76 loss in Game 6 of their series with the Rockets, who advanced.

SPEAKING

“It’s a big step for me. Even when the clock was running down, I’m still not believing that it’s coming true. Obviously now that we know that feeling, we’ve got to keep moving forward.”—Rockets center Yao Ming, whose team advanced in the playoffs for the first time.

“The only thing I said in the locker room before the game was, ‘Be great.’ They wanted to prove something. They have great appreciation in that we would be where we are without Dwight.”—Magic coach Stan Van Gundy, whose team closed out its series with Philadelphia despite missing suspended star center Dwight Howard.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Friday 5/1

Game of the day: Hawks at Heat Game 6
By David Chan

Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat (-5, 182)

The line


Despite being up 3-2 in the series, and having already won a game in Miami, the Hawks are getting little respect from oddsmakers in Game 6.

The Heat are currently listed as 5-point favorites, up from the -4.5 opener.

After over-adjusting the total down to 180 in Game 5, books across the board are offering flat 182s for Game 6. That number has held strong since opening, but don't be surprised if it's up a full point before tip-off as the early money has come in on the over.

Series recap

We've yet to see a game be decided by single digits in this series. The average margin of victory has been 19 points.

The Hawks became the first team to notch back-to-back wins by hammering the Heat 106-91 in Game 5. That gives them two chances to put this series to bed.

The two teams have split four meetings in Miami this season.

Rubbing it in

The Heat didn't appreciate the way the Hawks poured it on at the end of their Game 5 victory.

An attempted through-the-legs windmill dunk by Josh Smith when the Hawks were up 20 struck a chord with Dwyane Wade.

“We were very insulted by it.”

Head coach Eric Spoelstra added, “There at the end it turned into a highlight show. A pickup game highlight reel, really trying to embarrass us. Now we’ve played five games against each other. I don’t think anybody on either side likes each other anymore.”

On the brink of elimination, it's not as if the Heat needed any extra motivation.

Walking wounded

A quick glance at the injury report tells you that this series has taken its toll on both teams.

Dwyane Wade played through back spasms in Game 5 but was clearly hurting. It's flared up so bad at times, he’s needed help getting up off the bench.

To make matters worse, Wade slammed his head against the floor following a collision with Josh Smith in the first quarter. He left the game temporarily but was back before the end of the half.

Jamario Moon will miss the remainder of the playoffs due to a groin injury.

On the Hawks side, Al Horford is a game-time decision on Friday after spraining his right ankle in Game 5.

Hawks coach Mike Woodson indicated that Horford's ankle was 'better than expected' at practice on Thursday morning.

Horford made no mention of Friday's game, but was cautiously optimistic regarding his return, “It’s better. I think I’ll be ready to go Sunday either way.”

Marvin Williams missed his second straight game on Wednesday. His sprained wrist will likely keep him out of the lineup again on Friday.

On the brink

If recent history is any indication, the Heat could be in trouble on Friday night.

Teams facing elimination are 0-4 straight-up and 1-3 against the number so far in these playoffs.

Both the Pistons and Spurs failed to stave off elimination at home and neither managed to cover the spread.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Friday 5/1

Hawks-Heat, Game 6
By Brian Edwards

Atlanta took a 3-2 series lead by virtue of Wednesday’s 106-91 win over Miami as a six-point home favorite. Now the Hawks are poised to win a playoff series for the first time since 1999. Can they get it done Friday night in Game 6 at AmericanAirlines Arena in South Florida?

Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened Miami (45-42 straight up, 42-43-2 against the spread) as a six-point favorite with a total of 182 ½. As of early this morning, most books had adjusted the Heat to five with the total resting at 182. Bettors can back the Hawks to win outright for a plus-180 payout (risk $100 to win $180).

After struggling through the first four games of this series, Joe Johnson finally played like a two-time All-Star in Game 5. Johnson produced 25 points, six rebounds and six assists compared to just two turnovers. The 25-point effort bested his previous high for the series by nine points.

Josh Smith had a stat-stuffing night at the office, scoring 20 points to go with eight rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocked shots. However, he ruffled feathers and looked like a clown by trying to dunk after wrapping the ball through his legs while airborne. He missed the highlight-reel attempt when the Hawks were up by 20-plus points with more than four minutes left in the final stanza.

Like every game in this series, the winner prevailed by a double-digit margin. Atlanta (50-37 SU, 46-40-2 ATS) took over early and often thanks to the hot shooting of Mike Bibby, the veteran point guard who has been extremely solid during this first-round showdown. Bibby dropped 17 points on Miami in Game 5.
   
Ronald “Flip” Murray, who has been instant offense off the bench for Mike Woodson’s team all year long, erupted for 23 points. Murray made 9-of-15 shots from the field and also had five rebounds and three assists. His minutes will only increase if the Hawks are missing two starters in Game 6.

Al Horford suffered a sprained ankle in the second quarter of Game 5. According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Horford’s ankle was “better than expected” Thursday. He is listed as a game-time decision. Horford told the AJC, “It’s better. I think I’ll be ready to go Sunday either way.”

Horford averaged 11.5 points and 9.3 rebounds per game during the regular season. In this series, he was averaging 9.0 PPG and 6.8 RPG. One reason for the dip in production has been a reduction in minutes, once for foul trouble and again when he left Game 5 injured. Horford missed 14 regular-season games, 13 due to injury and one due to a migraine. Atlanta went 7-7 both SU and ATS without Horford.

Marvin Williams (sprained wrist) has missed three straight games and is considered “doubtful” for the rest of the series. The Hawks are optimistic that Williams could return in a potential second-round series against Cleveland.

If Horford can’t play, Woodson indicated to the AJC that Solomon Jones would get the starting nod, apparently wanting to continue bringing Zaza Pachulia’s toughness off the bench. Jones had two points, five boards, one assist and one steal while playing a series-high 19 minutes Wednesday. He also mixed it up with Dwayne Wade in an incident that prompted plenty of pushing and shoving before order was restored.

That occurrence, coupled with Smith’s theatrics, will have the Heat ready to get physical back at home. Wade, who was called for a flagrant foul on Mo Evans, didn't like the antics of Atlanta reserve guard Mario West at the end of the second quarter. West pumped his fists and screamed after forcing Wade into a difficult buzzer-beating attempt. At practice on Thursday, Wade told the Associated Press, "Celebration after one stop, that's funny."

The Heat have a 29-14 SU record and a 21-21-1 ATS ledger at home. Meanwhile, the Hawks are 17-26 SU and 22-21 ATS on the road.

Wade finished with 29 points in Game 5, while Michael Beasley had 20 from off the bench.

These teams have split four meetings in Miami this year. The Heat spanked the Hawks 107-78 in Game 3, but Atlanta bounced back with an 81-71 triumph in Game 4.

The ‘under’ is 45-40-2 overall for the Hawks, 21-20-2 in their road assignments. Meanwhile, Miami has watched the ‘over’ go 47-39-1 overall, 24-18-1 in its home games.

Tip-off is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. Eastern on ESPN.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--The ‘under’ is 7-2 in the last nine head-to-head meetings between Miami and Atlanta.

--Bibby has a 22/12 assists-to-turnover ratio to date in five games against the Heat.

--When asked about the physical play of the series, Woodson told the Associated Press, “I don't want our guys backing down by any means. I don't think we've been out there trying to hurt anyone.”

--If I can find odds for Game 7 of the Bulls and Celtics to go to overtime, I think I want some of that action. It would only be fitting, right?

vegasinsider.com.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Friday 5/1

ATLANTA (50 - 37) at MIAMI (45 - 42)
Top Trends for this game.
MIAMI is 16-5 ATS (+10.5 Units) after allowing 105 points or more this season.
ATLANTA is 47-38 ATS (+5.2 Units) in all games this season.
MIAMI is 75-92 ATS (-26.2 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
MIAMI is 37-54 ATS (-22.4 Units) as a favorite over the last 3 seasons.
MIAMI is 34-49 ATS (-19.9 Units) in home games over the last 2 seasons.
MIAMI is 63-90 ATS (-36.0 Units) in home games vs. division opponents since 1996.
MIAMI is 14-26 ATS (-14.6 Units) in home games when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
MIAMI is 10-7 against the spread versus ATLANTA over the last 3 seasons
ATLANTA is 9-8 straight up against MIAMI over the last 3 seasons
12 of 17 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons 

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ATLANTA vs. MIAMI
Atlanta is 4-12-1 ATS in its last 17 games when playing on the road against Miami
Atlanta is 4-21 SU in its last 25 games when playing on the road against Miami
Miami is 7-3 ATS in its last 10 games at home
Miami is 9-3 SU in its last 12 games at home


Atlanta at Miami

Atlanta:

4-0 ATS off BB double digit wins
30-16 ATS off ATS win

Miami:
7-17 ATS at home off DD road loss
12-4 Over at home if total is between 180 and 189.5 points

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NBA Playoffs

None of the Atlanta-Miami games have been close, all won by 10+ pts; only one of the five games was within 13 points at halftime, with three of five games staying under total- teams split two games played in this arena. Heat scored 108-107 points in their two wins, 64-71-91 in three losses. Team that got the most rebounds won all five games- Miami was +7/+13 in its wins, --15/-7/-8 in losses. Miami wins or its season ends.

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Tips and Trends

Atlanta Hawks at Miami Heat


Hawks: The Hawks have controlled the last two games, running out to huge leads in Games 4 and 5. Tempers flared in both contests, with a combined 100 fouls called, and there was plenty of shoving and staredowns Wednesday in the Hawks' win. "I don't want our guys backing down by any means," Hawks coach Mike Woodson said. "I don't think we've been out there trying to hurt anyone." Al Horford made the trip to Miami and said he's a game-time decision for Friday, but Woodson said he'll consider starting Solomon Jones instead and continue to bring Pachulia - a force in the last two games - off the bench.

The Hawks are 4-13 ATS in the last 17 meetings in Miami.
The Under is 7-2 in the last 9 meetings.

Key Injuries - C Al Horford (ankle) is QUESTIONABLE.
F Marvin Williams (wrist) is QUESTIONABLE.

PROJECTED SCORE: 86


Heat (-5, O/U 182): Between Mario West's wild celebration as the first half of Game 5 expired, Josh Smith's showboating dunk attempt in the final minutes and Hawks radio announcer Steve Holman mocking the NBA's scoring champion throughout, Dwyane Wade and Miami are down 3-2 in the series but clearly leading in bulletin-board material. Whether Al Horford plays or not, the Heat expect more heated battles down low. "I think it's going to be an extremely physical game one way or another," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "We have to be ready for the physicality of it and just make sure we play our best game."

The Over is 22-6-1 in the Heat's last 29 games off a loss.

Key Injuries - G Dwyane Wade (head) is PROBABLE.
F Jamario Moon (abdominal) is OUT for the season.
F Jermaine O' Neal (ankle) is PROBABLE.

PROJECTED SCORE: 96 (Side Play of the Day)

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