NBA News and Notes Sunday 5/10

NBA News and Notes Sunday 5/10

What bettors need to know: NBA on ABC
By ASHTON GREWAL

Los Angeles Lakers at Houston Rockets (+3.5, 194)

Totals rocketing


There was talk heading into this series that Houston’s perimeter defenders (Ron Artest and Shane Battier) would be able to slow down Kobe Bryant. But while the 2008 league MVP is being forced into taking some bad shots, he’s still getting his points.

Bryant is averaging 35 points per game with Artest, Battier and every other Rockets defender smothering the Lakers shooting guard. The Rockets’ inability to hamper No. 24 is wrecking havoc on their defensive game plan.

Houston has allowed over 100 points (111, 108) in the last two games with the over cashing easily both times.

Still, Los Angeles won’t shoot 55 percent from downtown and 75 percent from the charity stripe – as it did in Game 3 – very many times.

The Game 4 total is set at 194 – a full point higher than the series’ first three games.

Yao out

Houston couldn't afford to lose one of its better offensive players for a pivotal Game 4, especially with its franchise player hobbling around.

Center Yao Ming is out for the remainer of the playoffs with a broken left foot. Yao banged his knee in Game 1 and injured his foot in Game 3. He was visibly favoring the left foot in the fourth quarter Friday. Further examination revealed a hairline fracture in Yao's left foot and the center will need 8-12 weeks for recovery but will not require surgery.

"We would anticipate Artest getting a lot more touches and looks, Brooks being more aggressive and Landry and Scola being more in the post and doing damage there," Gasol told reporters of Yao's absence. "They're a quality team, no matter what. We've got to go out there with the same mentality and mind-set that we had (in Game 3)."

Let’s get physical

Ron Artest was up to his old tricks Friday night. The volatile forward gave Pau Gasol a shove to the chest as the Lakers big man was going up for a dunk late in the fourth quarter.

“I had a clear path to the rim and I attacked the basket, and someone knocked me down,” Gasol said afterwards. “[Artest] got my head and it was a dangerous play at the end of the game, but things happened like that.”

Artest was given a flagrant-2 but the league reduced the foul to a flagrant-1 meaning Artest will not be suspended for Sunday’s contest.

“I don’t think that was a flagrant, maybe a flagrant-1,” Bryant said. “That rule is so all over the place that it’s hard to judge.”

Lineup moves

Point guard Derek Fisher, who missed Game 3 due to a league suspension, will return to the Los Angeles starting lineup. Jordan Farmar played well in Fisher’s absence (12 points, seven assists, five rebounds and one turnover), but coach Phil Jackson feels more comfortable with the veteran manning the point position.

“Obviously, Fish will come back and claim his spot,” Jackson said. “That’s the way it is. Jordan’s game will certainly be noted. He played a good game and he can play better than that, even with a stellar performance. He’s got a better game in him than that. We’re not surprised with his performance at all.”

Houston bench boss Rick Adelman hasn’t made any changes to his starting unit, but in the second half he did rely more on backups Carl Landry and Kyle Lowry. Landry is averaging 15.5 points and eight rebounds over the past two matches.

The Rockets can’t keep up with the Lakers’ offensive attack if Landry is their third leading scorer.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Sunday 5/10

Inside the Paint - Sunday
By Chris David

The Lakers and Magic both looked sharp on Friday as the pair posted double-digit victories against the Rockets and Celtics respectively. It shouldn’t come as a big surprise, since the two clubs were both listed as favorites prior to the best-of-seven series.

On Sunday, Los Angeles and Orlando have the opportunity to open up commanding 3-1 leads. Favorites have been solid wagers in the second round of the playoffs so far, posting a 6-2 ledger both straight up and against the spread in the first eight contests. The only wins and covers for the underdogs came in these series, when the Magic and Rockets each captured victories in Game 1.

Since then, the ‘chalk’ has risen to the occasion. Will it continue? Let’s take a closer look at each Game 4 battle.

**Lakers at Rockets**

The Purple and Gold opened up as 3 ½-point road favorites on Sunday and some Las Vegas books have pushed the number up to 5 1/2 after the Yao Ming injury news was announced (see below).

After losing Game 1 to Houston 100-92, the Lakers have rebounded with a pair of double-digit wins and covers in the next two games. Los Angeles has won all three of its trips to Houston this season and has captured six of seven in the head-to-head series this year.

Kobe Bryant scored 33 points on Friday as the Lakers posted a 108-94 win in Game 3, easily covering as two-point road favorites. The combined 202 points jumped ‘over’ the closing total of 194, helping backers cash the Lakers-Over parlay combo for the second straight playoff game and fourth time this postseason.

This series has been very physical and it appears the Lakers have shifted the momentum away from the Rockets and their enforcer Ron Artest, who some thought would be suspended for Game 4. Artest mugged Pau Gasol near the end of Game 3 and was ejected for the second straight contest. The foul was later downgraded and he will play on Sunday.

Even though Artest has been the emotion for the Rockets, center Yao Ming is the main cog for Houston’s attack and the big man is hurting. He twisted his ankle in the loss and finished with 19 points and 14 rebounds. Yao was ruled 'out' on Saturday evening after breaking his foot. He will miss the rest of the postseason.

Houston’s record as an underdog this year stands at 1-2 versus the number, which includes Friday’s setback. The team has posted a 36-9 SU and 21-23 ATS mark at Toyota Center, but as mentioned above, three of the losses came to L.A.

Phil Jackson’s team has gone 31-13 SU and 25-19 ATS away from home this year, including a 2-1 record in the playoffs. The lone loss was by two points in Game 3 against Utah, 88-86.

The four regular season battles between the Rockets and Lakers saw the ‘over/under’ range from 192 to 201. In this series, two of the first three went ‘over’ yet the number has only been nudged up to 194 points.

ABC will provide national coverage of this battle at 3:30 p.m. EDT.

Game 5 from Staples Center is slated for Tuesday.

**Celtics at Magic**

If you’ve followed Orlando this year, then you know this club’s success is directly attributed to its 3-point shooting. Sorry Dwight Howard fans, but it’s the truth and you can look at Game 3’s box score as evidence.

The Magic shot 59 percent from the field and 9-of-18 from 3-point land, which produced a 117-96 blowout win over the Celtics in Game 2. Orlando easily covered as a five-point home favorite and the combined 213 points jumped ‘over’ the closing total despite only seeing 40 points scored in the first quarter.

Rashard Lewis (28) and Hedo Turkoglu (24) combined for 52 points, while backup point guard Anthony Johnson added 13 points while filling in for the suspended Rafer Alston, who will be back in the lineup on Sunday.

Paul Pierce paced Boston with 27 points but his shot continues to be off in this series. Surprisingly, he only scored three points in the Celtics’ 112-94 victory in Game 2. Also struggling with his game is Ray Allen, who is averaging 13 PPG in the three games and is coming off a dreadful 3-of-13 performance in Game 3.

Including Friday’s loss, Boston is now 1-6 SU and 2-5 ATS in its last seven trips to Orlando. Also, Doc Rivers and company are now 1-3 SU and 2-2 ATS on the road in the postseason.

A lot of people felt the Magic were a soft team, including this writer, but looks can be a bit deceiving at times. Stan Van Gundy’s team needed six games to finish off Philadelphia in the first round, but the two losses came on buzzer beater shots. If you take away a career night from Eddie House in Game 2, you could argue that Orlando should be unbeaten in the playoffs, right?

Perhaps that’s why the oddsmakers aren’t expecting a Zig-Zag effect to happen. If that was the case, then why hasn’t the line dropped at all? Boston is listed as a five-point underdog for Sunday, up from the closing number (Celtics +4.5) on Friday. Most would expect a little urgency from the Celtics. Even though this isn’t an elimination game, Boston is definitely facing a must-win spot. Only eight NBA teams have ever come back from a 3-1 hole to win a best-of-seven series.

We talked about the Celtics’ defense of lack thereof last week and the unit continues their spiral without All-Star forward Kevin Garnett. Boston has given up 100-plus points in six of its 10 playoffs games, which has helped the ‘over’ go 8-2 during this stretch.

For the first time in this series the oddsmakers have adjusted to the total, inching the number up to 192 in Game 4. Will the betting public miss the boat? Don’t be surprised, considering the ‘under’ has gone 28-16 in Orlando’s home games and 27-18 in Boston’s road affairs this year and that includes the bloated playoff results for both clubs.

After this battle, the series will swing back to Boston for Game 5 on Tuesday.

Tip-off for this battle is slated for 8:05 p.m. EDT, with TNT providing coverage.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Sunday 5/10

Yao out for remainder of postseason

HOUSTON (AP) -Yao Ming is out for the rest of the playoffs with a broken left foot.
The Houston center limped off the court late in the Los Angeles Lakers' 108-94 victory over the Rockets on Friday night. Yao missed Saturday's practice to get treatment and the team said the 7-foot-6 All-Star would be re-evaluated on Sunday.But the Rockets announced later Saturday night that further examination of Yao's injury revealed a hairline fracture. The Rockets say Yao will need 8-12 weeks to recover, though no surgery is required.The Rockets and Lakers play Game 4 of their Western Conference semifinal series on Sunday. The Lakers lead the series 2-1.

http://www.thespread.com/ap-news-nba-20 … eason.html

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Re: NBA News and Notes Sunday 5/10

NBA PLAYOFFS

WESTERN CONFERENCE

(1) L.A. Lakers (6-2, 4-4 ATS) at (5) Houston (5-3 SU, 4-4 ATS)


After regaining home-court advantage with a Game 3 victory on Friday, the Lakers look to take a commanding 3-1 lead when they take on the Rockets in Game 4 of their best-of-7 Western Conference semifinal series inside the Toyota Center in Houston.

Kobe Bryant scored 33 points to lead Los Angeles to a 108-94 win in the pivotal Game 3 on Friday, with the Lakers covering as 1½-point road favorites. All five L.A. starters scored in double digits with forward Lamar Odom going for 16 points and 13 rebounds. The Lakers were outrebounded 56-43, but had just six turnovers compared with 17 for Houston.

Ron Artest had another strong offensive showing for the Rockets, going for 25 points before being ejected late in the fourth quarter for a questionable flagrant foul. Yao Ming added 19 points and grabbed 14 rebounds in what turned out to be his final game of the season, as he broke his foot in the fourth quarter of Game 3 and will miss the remainder of the postseason. Over the past two seasons, the Rockets are 19-8 SU without Ming, including 3-2 during the regular season this year.

The Lakers are 13-3 SU in their last 16 games (9-7 ATS) while the Rockets have won 10 of their last 15 (8-7 ATS). Despite the loss in Game 3, Houston is still 36-9 SU at home this season, including 3-1 (1-3 ATS) in home playoff games. Los Angeles is 31-13 SU on the road (25-19 ATS), including 2-1 SU and ATS in postseason games on the highway.

Including this playoff series, the Lakers are 6-1 SU and ATS against the Rockets this season, including 3-0 SU and ATS in Houston. Los Angeles is 9-4 ATS in the last 13 meetings with the Rockets overall and 9-2 ATS in its last 11 visits to Houston. Finally, the chalk is on a 6-2 ATS run in this series.

Phil Jackson’s squad is on ATS slides of 1-4 following a straight-up win and 2-5 on Sundays, but it is on positive ATS runs of 7-3 after getting one day off, 9-3-1 in conference semifinal playoff action and 4-1 against Southwest Division foes. Rick Adelman’s Rockets are on ATS slumps of 4-11 against the Pacific Division, 7-17 as a home ‘dog, 1-5 after getting a day off and 2-6 after a double-digit home loss, but they are on positive ATS runs of 6-3 at home, 20-7 following a non-cover and 5-2 on Sundays.

Game 1 in this series stayed under the total, but the last two have soared over the posted price Additionally, Los Angeles has topped the total in six of seven after a spread-cover and five of its last six conference semifinal games, but it is on “under” runs of 8-2 as a road favorite, 7-1-1 on Sundays, 8-3 on the road and 20-9 as a favorite. The Rockets have gone over the total in five of seven playoff games as underdogs, but otherwise it’s all “unders” for Houston, including 5-2 overall, 5-1 at home, 5-1 on Sundays, 15-6 after a non-cover, 7-3 as a home ‘dog and 5-2 against Western Conference teams.

ATS ADVANTAGE: L.A. LAKERS


EASTERN CONFERENCE

(2) Boston (5-4, 4-4-1 ATS) at (3) Orlando (5-2 SU, 3-4 ATS)


The Magic look to take a commanding 3-1 lead against the defending NBA champion Celtics when the two square off inside Amway Arena in Game 4 of their best-of-7 Eastern Conference semifinal series.

Orlando shot 59.1 percent from the floor on Friday night en route to clobbering Boston 117-96 as a five-point home favorite. Forwards Rashard Lewis (28 points) and Hedo Turkoglu (24 points) led the way for the Magic, while superstar center Dwight Howard got his usual double-double with 17 points and 14 rebounds. The Magic, without the services of point guard Rafer Alston, who was suspended after a flagrant foul in Game 2, got 13 points from backup point guard Anthony Johnson and 11 from Courtney Lee.

After scoring just six points in Boston’s easy Game 2 victory, Celtics star Paul Pierce produced 27 points in the Game 3 defeat. However, fellow star Ray Allen managed just eight points on 3 of 13 shooting on Friday.

Orlando has now won five of its last six (4-2 ATS) and seven of its last 10 (5-5 ATS), plus it has won three of four at home during these playoffs (2-2 ATS). On the opposite side, Boston has alternated wins and losses in its last eight outings (4-3-1 ATS), but it’s just 1-3 SU (2-1-1 ATS) on the road in the postseason.

Orlando has won four of the last five meetings with the Celtics (3-2 ATS). Furthermore, the host is 10-3 SU in the last 13 clashes and 23-10 ATS in the past 33.

The Celtics are just 1-7 ATS in their last eight conference semifinal games and 1-4-1 ATS in their last six on Sundays, but otherwise Doc Rivers’ squad is on positive ATS streaks of 7-2-1 on the road, 8-1 after a non-cover, 44-18-1 as road underdogs, 7-1-1 as a playoff pup and 20-7 as a road ‘dog of between five and 10 ½ points.

The Magic are just 3-7 ATS in their last 10 when laying points and 2-5 ATS in their last seven as playoff favorites, but they are on a host of positive pointspread streaks that include 4-1 overall, 6-2 on Sundays, 4-1 against the Atlantic Division and 17-7 against teams with a winning percentage above .600.

Boston is riding “over” streaks of 23-9 overall, 4-1 on the road, 38-18 against the Eastern Conference, 13-3 after a straight-up loss, 7-1 after getting one day off and 4-1 as a playoff ‘dog. Conversely, Orlando is on a plethora of “under” runs that include 18-8 overall, 10-4 at home, 11-5 against the Atlantic Division, 4-1 as a playoff favorite and 52-25-1 as a home chalk of between five and 10½ points.

Finally, the last two games in this series have soared over the posted total, but the under remains 4-2 in the last six head-to-head meetings and 6-2 in the last eight series matchups in Florida.

ATS ADVANTAGE: ORLANDO and UNDER


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Re: NBA News and Notes Sunday 5/10

NBA Today

SCOREBOARD


Monday, May 11

Denver at Dallas (9:30 p.m. EDT). The Nuggets can reach the Western Conference finals by completing a season sweep of the Mavericks. Denver leads the series 3-0 after winning all four games during the regular season.

STARS

Saturday

— LeBron James(notes), Cavaliers, scored 47 points to lift Cleveland to a 97-82 win over Atlanta.

— Carmelo Anthony(notes), Nuggets, scored 31 points and made the winning 3-pointer with a second left, giving Denver a 106-105 victory over Dallas.

— Chauncey Billups(notes), Nuggets, scored 32 points as the Nuggets took a 3-0 lead for the first time in franchise history.

KING JAMES

LeBron James has been incredibly efficient in this series, playing 108 minutes and scoring 108 points.

FRANCHISE FIRST

Denver has a 3-0 lead for the first time in franchise history following its 106-105 victory over Dallas. No NBA team has ever blown a 3-0 lead.

RED-HOT CAVS

Cleveland kept up its dominating run through the playoffs, setting an NBA record with its seventh straight double-figure win to eclipse the mark set by the 2004 Indiana Pacers.

DALY’S DEATH

Chuck Daly, the Hall of Fame coach who led the Dream Team to the Olympic gold medal in 1992 after winning back-to-back NBA championships in Detroit, died Saturday morning at 78 in Jupiter, Fla., with his family by his side, the Pistons said. The team announced in March he was being treated for pancreatic cancer. Daly had a 638-437 record in 13 NBA seasons and was admired throughout the NBA for his class and coaching acumen.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Dirk Nowitzki(notes) had 33 points and 16 rebounds for Dallas, but missed a 13-footer with about 8 seconds left that set up Denver’s last possession in its 106-105 victory. …

SIDELINED

Houston center Yao Ming(notes) will miss the rest of the playoffs because of a broken left foot. Yao limped off the court late in the Rockets’ 108-94 loss to the Lakers on Friday night, then skipped Saturday’s practice to get treatment. The Rockets originally said the 7-foot-6 All-Star would be evaluated on Sunday, then announced later Saturday night that Yao had a hairline fracture. The Rockets say Yao will need 8-12 weeks to recover, though no surgery is required.

SPEAKING

“There’s only a few guys in this league that can get into a zone like that, and I’m blessed to have the ability to be one of those guys.”—Cavaliers star LeBron James, who scored 47 points in Cleveland’s 97-82 win over Atlanta for a 3-0 lead in the series.

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