NBA News and Notes Monday 5/11

NBA News and Notes Monday 5/11

Inside the Paint - Monday
By Chris David

Zero!

That’s the number of the teams that have come back to win a best-of-seven NBA playoffs series after being down 3-0.

Has any team come close? Eight-six squads have faced similar deficits and only three have been able to force a decisive Game 7 but they all came up short in the finale. In the 86 series where a team won the first three games, that same club completed the four-game sweep 52 times for an impressive 60 percent rate.

After looking at all the numbers in the above table, it’s safe to say that both Atlanta and Dallas are done and Cleveland and Denver will advance to the conference semifinals.

Gamblers expecting the Cavaliers and Nuggets to put the final nails in the coffin tonight can play it safe with an old-fashioned ‘chalk’ parlay on the money-line. According to the VI Parlay Calculator, the Cavs (-600) and Nuggets (+105) would return you $139 based on a $100 two-team parlay.

Not a bad return but VegasInsider.com handicapper Matt Moore feels that you should just lay the points. He said, “How anybody can bet against the Cavs or the Nuggets right now just boggles my mind. What Cleveland and Denver have been doing to opponents and the sportsbooks during their playoff runs is simply amazing and I’m certainly wondering when it’s going to stop or at least temper. The only bet right now is to press the pair or pass all together.”

Cleveland has won all seven of its playoffs games by double digits and has covered the point-spread fairly easily in all seven, with exception to Game 2 at home versus Detroit when some gamblers may’ve gotten a push.

The Nuggets do have one blemish on their playoff run, a 95-93 road loss to New Orleans in Game 3. Despite being down for the majority of the 48 minutes in that setback, George Karl’s team rallied for a backdoor cover as 4 ½-point underdogs. Including that cover, the Nuggets own a perfect 8-0 ledger ATS in the postseason.

Tonight’s battles will be featured as part of a double-header on TNT, so let’s take a closer look at the numbers for Monday.

Cleveland at Atlanta

Some folks might be a little surprised to see the Hawks catching double digits at home for Game 4, but let’s recall their first round series last year. Atlanta won two games at home against Boston, yet it still was catching eight to nine points in all three of the contests. The Cavaliers are playing at a much higher level than the Celtics right now, so the number is more than fair perhaps a little low to some.

The oddsmakers have been much sharper with the total in this best-of-seven battle and Monday’s number (182) seems just about right. The ‘under’ has gone 2-1 in the first three games, yet the ‘over’ could very well be 3-0 if it wasn’t for the Hawks’ inconsistent play in the second-half.

Including the victory on Saturday, Cleveland is 5-2 SU and 4-3 ATS in its last eight trips to Atlanta. The Cavaliers are 21-13 ATS as road favorites this year.

The Hawks have been listed as home underdogs seven different times this year and the club has responded with a solid 5-2 ATS ledger. However, this is the largest amount of points that the team has been handed all season.

Offensively, Atlanta has averaged 98 points per game at home this season. Unfortunately, the attack has been missing in the playoffs, in particular the second-half of Game 3 when the Hawks scored just 36 points in the 97-82 loss.

Atlanta’s only hope to stay close or even win this game comes down to stopping LeBron James and that’s next to impossible. The Kings scored 47 in Game 3 and was serenaded with “MVP! MVP! MVP!” chants on the road – once again.

Joe Johnson played on a tweaked ankle and led the Hawks with 21 points in a losing effort. Josh Smith (18) and Flip Murray (17) combined for 35 points and also proved the lack of depth Atlanta has. The trio accounted for almost 70 percent of the scoring in Game 3, which isn’t going to get it done against the top-seeded Cavs.

If necessary, Game 5 will be slated for Wednesday from Cleveland.

Denver at Dallas

I’m not sure what was more tough to stomach in Game 3, Denver winning outright or watching the ‘over’ cash? Either way, both had some bettors sulking or smiling. Carmelo Anthony drilled a 3-pointer that gave the Nuggets a 106-105 victory over the Mavericks, giving them the huge 3-0 series lead.
   
The Nuggets trailed by four (105-101) with less than a minute on the clock left before cutting the lead to two points after a slam from Anthony. Dallas missed on its next possession and Denver held the ball with eight ticks left on the clock. With a foul to give, the Mavs’ Antoine Wright tried to foul ‘Melo twice but the ref swallowed his whistle. Anthony then proceeded to hit the aforementioned game-winner from downtown. The NBA later admitted that the officials were wrong, which does absolutely nothing for the Mavs and more importantly gamblers!

What’s even more amazing about the no-call is that the refs were more than whistle happy throughout the entire game. Sixty-one fouls were called, which gets back to the total players who had money on the ‘under.’

Neither team could get anything going through the first 24 minutes. The Nuggets held a 48-45 lead at the break and the only thing that could’ve threatened an ‘over’ winner was a 117-point explosion in the second-half. Well, the Nuggets shot 42 percent from the field and the Mavs only countered with a 40 percent performance. So what gives? How about 89 free throws attempted and 72 made. Not only did they put up 117, they gave you 118.

Can Dallas rebound? It’s fair to say the spirits are low just by listening to All-Star Dirk Nowitzki. He said, “This is about as tough a loss as I’ve seen in my 12 years in the league.” I guess Dirk forgot about when Bennett Salvatore helped the Heat steal Game 5 from the Mavs in the 2006 NBA Finals. Nowitzki has played great in this series despite the deficit, averaging 32 PPG and 11.6 boards.

It’s hard to fade a Denver team that has been money at the counter in the playoffs, but Dallas is still a tough out, especially at home where it owns a 34-10 SU and 21-23 ATS mark. The Mavericks haven’t lost back-to-back home games since it opened the season 0-4 at American Airlines Center.

Including Denver’s win on Saturday, the team owns an eye opening 10-1 record both SU and ATS in the last 11 meetings against Dallas. Three of four have come in the Lone Star State as well.

The Mavericks will head to Denver on Wednesday for Game 5 if they stay alive tonight.

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Re: NBA News and Notes Monday 5/11

NBA PLAYOFFS

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Cleveland (7-0 SU and ATS) at (4) Atlanta (4-6 SU and ATS)


The Cavaliers go after their second straight playoff sweep when they take on the overmatched Hawks in Game 4 at Philips Arena.

Cleveland coasted once again Saturday, notching a 97-82 victory as a heavy 8½-point road chalk to take a 3-0 series lead. The Cavs killed Atlanta on the boards with a 46-23 advantage and outscored the Hawks 50-36 in the second half after leading by just one at halftime. LeBron James went off for 47 points, 12 rebounds and eight assists, and Zydrunas Ilgauskas had 14 points and eight boards. Cleveland has won all seven of its playoff games by double digits.

Despite playing on a sprained ankle, Joe Johnson led Atlanta with 21 points and five rebounds, but only two other Hawks reached double digits in scoring. The Hawks went to the free-throw line just 11 times, making seven, while Cleveland was 21-for-29 from the charity stripe. The SU winner has cashed in each of Atlanta’s 10 playoff games, with each of those contests decided by double digits.

Cleveland, allowing a suffocating 78.7 ppg in the playoffs while scoring 96.4, is now 6-1 SU (4-3 ATS) in the season series with Atlanta. The favorite has cashed in 19 of the last 27 meetings, and the Cavs are 8-3 ATS in their last 11 visits to Philips Arena. However, the home team is still 5-2 ATS in the last seven clashes.

Cleveland is 30-14 SU (25-19 ATS) on the highway this year, and Atlanta is 34-12 SU (25-20-1 ATS) in the home jerseys.

The Cavaliers are on a bundle of pointspread rolls, including 11-0 overall, 10-0 after a SU win, 8-0 in second-round playoff games, 5-0 on the road and 17-3 as a playoff chalk. The Hawks are still on ATS upswings of 14-7-1 at home and 8-3 as a home pup, but they carry negative ATS streaks of 1-9 as an underdog and 1-6 catching points in the playoffs.

The under for Cleveland is on stretches of 5-1 overall, 16-5 in conference semifinal games and 8-1 when favored in the postseason. Likewise, the under for Atlanta is on tears of 9-3 overall, 12-3 against winning teams and 7-0 with the Hawks as a playoff pup. Finally, the under is 2-1 in this series, though the over-under has alternated in the last six meetings.

ATS ADVANTAGE: CLEVELAND


WESTERN CONFERENCE

(2) Denver (7-1 SU, 8-0 ATS) at (6) Dallas (4-4 SU and ATS)


The streaking and fortunate Nuggets can gain a spot in the Western Conference finals when they go for the series sweep against the Mavericks at the American Airlines Center.

The referees called 61 fouls in Saturday’s Game 3, then swallowed their whistles when Dallas’ Antoine Wright was trying to foul Carmelo Anthony in the waning seconds, with the Mavs having a two-point lead and a foul to give. No call was made, and the second push from Wright created enough space for Anthony to fire up a 3-pointer that gave Denver a shocking 106-105 victory as a four-point road underdog. Anthony finished with 31 points and eight rebounds and Chauncey Billups added 32 points for the Nuggets, who are now 21-4 SU (17-8 ATS) in their last 25 games.

Dirk Nowitzki posted a double-double of 33 points and 16 rebounds in Saturday’s defeat, leading five Dallas players in double figures, but the Mavericks lost despite holding a 105-101 lead with 31 seconds remaining. Rick Carlisle’s club went 40 of 49 from the line in the foul-plagued contest, but did not get to the line in those final 31 seconds. The Mavs have lost SU and ATS in all three games in this series after entering on a 6-1 SU and 5-2 ATS run.

Denver is now 10-1 SU and ATS in its last 11 meetings with Dallas, including 7-0 SU (5-1 ATS) this season. The Nuggets have also cashed in each of their last five starts in Dallas (4-1 SU).

Dallas is 34-10 SU (21-23 ATS) at home this year, including 2-1 SU and ATS in the playoffs. Denver is 23-21 SU and ATS on the road, but 3-1 SU and 4-0 ATS in postseason action.

Not only have the Nuggets cashed in every postseason game to this point, but they are on additional pointspread sprees of 16-4 overall, 16-3 against the Western Conference, 15-3 against winning teams and 10-0 against the Southwest Division. On the flip side, the Mavericks are on ATS purges of 8-19 against the Northwest Division and 4-9 as a playoff chalk, but they are still 6-2 ATS in their last eight at home, 17-7 in their last 24 after a non-cover and 13-6 in their last 19 following a SU loss.

The over for Dallas is on streaks of 4-1 overall, 7-2 in second-round playoff games and 15-6 with the Mavs a home chalk, but the under is on a 9-2 roll when the Mavs are a playoff chalk of less than five points. Likewise, the under for Denver is on stretches of 7-2 on the highway, 21-9 with the Nuggets catching points and 18-5 with the Nuggets as a playoff pup.

Finally, even though the last two games have topped the total, the under remains 15-8 in the last 22 Denver-Dallas battles, and the total has stayed low in eight of the last 11 clashes in Dallas.

ATS ADVANTAGE: DENVER

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Re: NBA News and Notes Monday 5/11

Steve Merril's NBA Fullcourt Report
By: Steve Merril

Nuggets at Mavericks (-1½, 210)

Controversial Finish

Dallas led 105-101 with 0:31 remaining in Game 3 on Saturday, but the Mavericks allowed the Nuggets to score the final five points in a controversial 106-105 win. The Mavericks’ Antoine Wright tried to intentionally foul the Nuggets’ Carmel Anthony two different times in the final seconds of the game with a 105-103 lead, but the referees did not make either call and it allowed Anthony to hit the game winning three-point shot with one second remaining.

In a surprising statement after the game, the league actually admitted that an officiating mistake was made when NBA president Joel Litvin commented, “At the end of the Dallas-Denver game this evening, the officials missed an intentional foul committed by Antoine Wright on Carmelo Anthony, just prior to Anthony's 3-point basket.”

3-0 Deficit

The Mavericks now trail 0-3 in this best-of-seven series and no team in NBA playoff history has ever overcome a 0-3 deficit to win a series. Oddsmakers project a two-percent chance that Dallas can pull off this historic comeback as they are currently offering 30-to-1 odds on Dallas winning this series with 1-to-70 odds on Denver. Compare this to the incredible 1-to-900 odds on Cleveland advancing as the Cavs are also up 3-0 in their series (300-to-1 take back on Atlanta).

“This is about as tough of a loss as I’ve been a part of in my 11 years,” said the Maverick’s leading scorer Dirk Nowitzki. “That’s a game we’ve got to have.”

The oddsmakers have now factored in a potential Dallas letdown tonight as the line is two points lower than the pointspread in Game 3. Denver continues to be a pointspread machine and now stands a perfect 8-0 ATS in the postseason. The Nuggets are also 7-1 straight-up with their only loss coming in a narrow 95-93 setback at New Orleans in the previous round. The Nuggets bounced back to destroy the Hornets in Game 4 with a NBA playoff record 58-point win, 121-63, as a 2½-point underdog.

Battle Down Low

It was ironic that the Mavericks were unable to intentionally foul in the final seconds of Game 3 as overall it was an extremely physical game with 61 fouls already called. The teams combined for 89 total free throws, but the game still barely went Over the closing total of 209 points as each team shot poorly from the field with Denver hitting only 42% FG and Dallas managing just 40% from the field. Overall in this series, the Nuggets have been the stronger team down low as they have outscored Dallas in the paint in each of the three games by a combined 156-98 point margin. The Nuggets also held a 76-43 free throw attempt edge in Games 1 & 2, including a dominating 36-13 edge in the first game.

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