NBA News and Notes Saturday 5/30

NBA News and Notes Saturday 5/30

Magic-Cavs, Game 6
By Brian Edwards

With its season on the line Thursday night in Game 5 at Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland blew a 22-point lead and appeared to be on the ropes when it fell behind in the third quarter.

“The Q” was on edge and that was palpable from my laz-y-boy hundreds of miles away. The hometown faithful were likely thinking about John Elway, Ernest Byner, Jose Mesa and/or Edgar Renteria.

But those infamous characters in Cleveland sports lore weren’t on center stage Thursday. Instead, LeBron James was. And Bron-Bron wasn’t about to let his team go down – not at home, not on this night.

Once again, King James was nothing short of sensational, dominating the final stanza with 17 points to will his team to a 112-102 victory. For the first time in the series and in the last 10 head-to-head meetings against Orlando, the Cavs took the cash as 7 ½-point home favorites. The 214 combined points sailed ‘over’ the 190 ½-point total.

James produced his fourth career playoff triple-double with 37 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists. Mo Williams added 24 points, while Zydrunas Ilgauskas added 16. Daniel Gibson also provided a big lift off the bench by knocking down 3-of-4 attempts from 3-point range.
   
Mike Brown’s team came out blazing, quickly taking a double-digit lead before settling for a 35-18 advantage at the end of the first quarter. But just like in Games 1 and 2, the Magic were unfazed, rallying to within one at intermission thanks to Rashard Lewis’ 3-pointer from the right wing with a few ticks left in the second quarter.

With Cleveland (76-19 straight up, 58-36-1 against the spread) leading 56-55 at halftime, oddsmakers made the Cavs 4 ½-point favorites with a total of 96 for the second half. Those numbers equated to the Magic as a 5 ½-point underdog for the game with the total adjusted to 207. In the second half, the Cavs and the ‘over’ were winners.

According to BoDog Sports Book Manager Richard Gardner, bettors cashed prop-bet tickets on LeBron James’ points (33) that the offshore website had set at an expensive minus-260 price for ‘over’ wagers. The ‘over’ also hit for Dwight Howard’s points (22) on proposition wagers.

Howard finished with 24 points, while Hedo Turkoglu had a team-high 29 points. The 29-point effort was a career-best for Turkoglu during the postseason. Lewis tallied 15 points, eight rebounds and four steals.

For Saturday’s Game 6 at Amway Arena, Las Vegas Sports Consultants opened Orlando (70-30 SU, 59-40-1 ATS) as a 1 ½-point favorite with a total of 192 ½. As of late Friday afternoon, most spots were using the same numbers with a few exceptions. Those books had moved the Magic to two and changed the tally to 193. Bettors can take the Cavs on the money line for a plus-105 return (risk $100 to win $105).

Stan Van Gundy’s team has played host to Cleveland four times this year, winning each contest both SU and ATS. For the season, the Magic are 38-11 SU and 28-21 ATS at home.

The Cavs are 31-16 SU and 26-21-1 versus the number on the road. They have compiled a 6-7 spread record in 13 underdog spots (both home and away) this year. This is just the second time Cleveland has been a ‘dog in the playoffs, losing 99-89 at Orlando as a 1 ½-point ‘dog in Game 3.

The ‘over’ is 4-1 in this series to date. In eight head-to-head encounters between these clubs this year, the ‘over’ is 5-3. Orlando is 5-3 SU and 7-1 ATS in those games.

The ‘under’ is 52-42-1 overall for the Cavs, 26-21 in their road assignments. Meanwhile, Orlando has watched the ‘under’ go 56-44 overall, 31-18 in its home games.

Tip-off is scheduled for Saturday at 8:35 p.m. Eastern on TNT.

**B.E.’s Bonus Nuggets**

--According to an alert sent out by LVSC late Friday afternoon, Deltonte West is “questionable” with a hip pointer sustained in Game 5. If West can’t play, Gibson will take on a larger role and see increased minutes. Gibson is a streaky shooter who had not been stroking it very well going into Game 5. Gibson, a 42-percent career shooter from 3-point range in 44 playoff games, has made only 32.4% of his treys in these playoffs.

--West is averaging 13.2 points per game in 13 playoff games so far.

--The ‘under’ is 7-6 in the Cavs’ 13 postseason games.

--Orlando is 4-2 ATS in six single-digit ‘chalk’ spots in the playoffs.

--The Cavs are trying to become just the ninth team in NBA history to rally from a 3-1 deficit in the postseason. While eight teams have succeeded in such a task, 182 squads have failed.

--During Thursday’s edition of the Power Hours, Gardner of BoDog confirmed that the offshore book did have several tickets that could’ve potentially cashed last night if Orlando had won outright. Those tickets were for the Magic to win the series in exactly five games and would’ve paid out at vacation-making odds of 40/1. Surely those ticket holders came back with some Cleveland minus-400 on the money-line action in Game 5?

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Game of the day: Cavaliers at Magic
By Alex Smart

Cleveland Cavaliers at Orlando Magic (-1.5, 193)

All the right moves

The NBA couldn’t have scripted this any better. Down three games to one, the Cleveland Cavaliers brought the home crowd to its feet Thursday night, drawing the Eastern Conference Finals to a 3-2 margin by downing the Orlando Magic 112-102. With another astounding performance by LeBron James, Cleveland now moves the series back to Orlando for Saturday night's Game 6.

A king holding court

"It was win or go home," said LeBron James, who recorded his fourth playoff triple-double in his young career, tying him with Tim Duncan for second amongst active players (Jason Kidd leads the list with five post season triple-doubles).

James dropped 37 points, grabbed 14 boards and dished out 12 assists. It seems that 30 is the magic number for LeBron. When King James has scored 40-plus points against Orlando this series, the Cavs are 0-3. Yet, when he drops his total into the 30's both were wins.

Regardless of James’ totals, the over is now 7-1 in Cleveland's last eight conference finals games. So if you're still wary that Orlando has Cleveland's number, it's safe to say that the scoreboard will be busy. Playing the over has also proved to be successful in four of Cleveland's last five games.

Get your role on

Cleveland point guard Mo Williams had been absent in the Eastern Conference Finals. However, Thursday night brought out the best in Mo.

Entering Game 5, Williams was hitting only 32 percent from the floor and a lousy 22 percent from 3-point range. But he drained three triples in the first 4:30 of the contest and finished with 24 points (6-of-9 from 3-point land).

For the first time all series, LeBron James had a worthy sidekick. Williams isn’t Scottie Pippen or James Worthy, but the Cavs took what they had and ran with it.

"He got his teammates involved and then took over,” Orlando’s Mickael Pietrus told reporters. “That's what great players do."

Great players also average 36 points per game in the postseason. But they don't usually find their team on the brink of elimination with a 1-4 record against the odds in their last five games. Cleveland is also 1-4 ATS in its last five conference finals games.

Magic numbers

Orlando has a 9-1 record against the number in the last 10 meetings with Cleveland. Other than Thursday night's loss, the Magic had claimed the nine previous meetings against the spread. Add to the mix a 5-1 record against the spread in Orlando's last six home games.

Even with the Game 5 loss, Magic head coach, Stan Van Gundy knows his team has a very good shot at winning Saturday night.

"They deserved to get this one," Van Gundy said of the Cavs. "As poorly as I thought we played, we still were there with chances to win and didn't get it done."

Despite the over/under being 5-1 in the last six contests between the Magic and Cavs, it's the under making an impression on Orlando. It has an 1-8 over/under mark in the last nine contests following an ATS loss.

Other notables

- Underdog is 11-5 ATS in the last 16 meetings.
- Cleveland is 9-2 ATS in its last 11 Saturday games.
- Cleveland is 2-14 ATS in its last 16 games vs. Orlando.

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NBA PLAYOFFS

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Cleveland (10-3 SU, 8-5 ATS) at (3) Orlando (11-7 SU, 9-9 ATS)


The Cavaliers, the No. 1 overall seed in the playoffs, continue their quest to keep their season alive when they travel to Amway Arena for Game 6 of the Eastern Conference finals against the Magic, who remain just one win away from their second-ever trip to the NBA Finals.

In Game 5 Thursday night, Cleveland gave away all of a 22-point first half lead, but LeBron James either scored or assisted on all of the Cavs’ fourth-quarter baskets as they earned a 112-102 victory laying 7½ points at home. James finished with a triple-double of 37 points, 14 rebounds and 12 assists, and four teammates scored in double figures, including Mo Williams (24 points), who hit 6 of 9 from three-point range. The victory marked the first time in this series –and the first time in eight overall meetings with the Magic this season – that the Cavs beat the spread.

Hedo Turkoglu led Orlando with 29 points in Game 5, and Dwight Howard had 24 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out for the third time in this series. The Magic shot a respectable 45.8 percent from the floor (33 of 72) but made just eight of their 25 three-point tries (32 percent), while allowing Cleveland to shoot 50 percent from the floor (38 of 76 overall, 9 of 18 from long distance).

The Magic are still a sterling 14-2 ATS in the last 16 clashes in this rivalry, and they’ve cashed in five straight at home against Cleveland. This year, Orlando is 7-1 ATS (5-3 SU) against the Cavaliers. Also, the underdog is 11-5 ATS in the last 16 head-to-head clashes.

Cleveland is 31-16 SU (25-22 ATS) on the road this year, including 4-2 SU (3-3 ATS) in the playoffs, with both losses coming in Games 3 and 4 in Florida. Orlando is 38-11 SU (28-21 ATS) at Amway Arena, including 6-2 SU (5-3 ATS) in the postseason.

The Cavaliers, who are 33-6 SU in their last 39 starts dating to the regular season, are on positive ATS runs of 12-5 overall, 10-2 after a spread-cover and 10-3 following a SU win. However, Mike Brown’s troops are still just 7-17 ATS in their last 24 outings against Southeast Division opponents, and they’ve failed to cover the number in four straight as a road pup.

The Magic have cashed in six of their last seven overall (5-2 SU), going 3-0 SU and ATS at home during this spurt. They are on further ATS upswings of 10-4 overall, 5-1 at Amway Arena, 9-2 against the Central Division, 4-1 as a playoff chalk and a lengthy 51-21-1 following a SU loss.

The total has gone high in four of five games in this series and five of the last six contests overall between these teams, and the over for Cleveland is on streaks of 7-1 in the conference finals and 5-1 with the Cavaliers catching less than five points. On the flip side, the under is on runs for the Cavs of 5-1 on the road and 7-2 after a SU win, and the under for Orlando is on stretches of 8-3 at home, 7-1 as a favorite, 5-0 when laying less than five points, 8-1 after a non-cover and 7-1 after a SU loss.

ATS ADVANTAGE: ORLANDO

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NBA Today

SCOREBOARD


Saturday, May 30

Cleveland at Orlando (8:30 p.m. EDT). The Magic try for a second time to clinch their first trip to the NBA finals since 1995. The Cavaliers, who avoided elimination by winning Game 5, look to force a Game 7 as they try to become the ninth team to rally from a 3-1 deficit to win a series.

STARS

Friday

— Kobe Bryant(notes) had 35 points and 10 assists in leading the Lakers into the NBA finals with a 119-92 rout of the Nuggets.

STRONG IN DEFEAT

Carmelo Anthony(notes) led the Nuggets with 25 points and J.R. Smith(notes) added 24 in their 119-92 loss to the Lakers that eliminated Denver from the playoffs.

STATS


The Lakers shot 57.3 percent from the field, going 43 for 75, in a 119-92 victory at Denver that won the Western Conference … The Nuggets took their eighth consecutive loss in a playoff elimination game.

INJURIES

Denver center Nene broke his left forearm in the 119-92 loss to the Lakers game and will wear a splint for 3-4 weeks.

JORDAN’S JOB

The Philadelphia 76ers have found their next head coach, reaching an agreement in principle with Eddie Jordan to end a search that lasted nearly three weeks. Jordan was offered the job Friday and made the decision later that night to coach the Eastern Conference playoff team. He becomes the 22nd coach in franchise history and third since the start of last season. Jordan is 230-288 in coaching stints with the Wizards and the Sacramento Kings.

SPEAKING

“We are really tough to beat because we’re using all our weapons, not focusing on Kobe or myself. We have a really good team and need to use everybody. That is how we are going to win it.”—Lakers forward Paul Gasol after helping the team advance to the NBA finals for the second straight year.

“I saw little cracks in the Lakers and somehow we’ve cemented those cracks back up, and I think they’re the best team right now in the NBA.”—Nuggets coach George Karl when asked who he sees winning the championship.

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