NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, April 25

NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, April 25

MIAMI (68 - 16) at MILWAUKEE (38 - 46) - 4/25/2013, 7:00 PM

Top Trends for this game.
MILWAUKEE is 43-25 ATS (+15.5 Units) in home games after playing 3 consecutive road games since 1996.
MIAMI is 47-37 ATS (+6.3 Units) in all games this season.
MIAMI is 26-16 ATS (+8.4 Units) second half of the season this season.
MIAMI is 26-17 ATS (+7.3 Units) when playing against a team with a losing record this season.
MIAMI is 19-8 ATS (+10.2 Units) in road games when playing against a team with a losing record - 2nd half of the season over the last 3 seasons.
MIAMI is 11-2 ATS (+8.8 Units) in road games versus poor defensive teams - allowing 99+ points/game this season.
MILWAUKEE is 37-46 ATS (-13.6 Units) in all games this season.
MILWAUKEE is 15-25 ATS (-12.5 Units) in home games this season.
MILWAUKEE is 14-26 ATS (-14.6 Units) second half of the season this season.
MILWAUKEE is 13-24 ATS (-13.4 Units) against Southeast division opponents over the last 2 seasons.
MILWAUKEE is 1-8 ATS (-7.8 Units) after 3 or more consecutive unders this season.
MILWAUKEE is 30-48 ATS (-22.8 Units) revenging a loss vs opponent over the last 2 seasons.
MILWAUKEE is 28-46 ATS (-22.6 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons.
MILWAUKEE is 9-25 ATS (-18.5 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record - 2nd half of the season over the last 2 seasons.

Head-to-Head Series History
MILWAUKEE is 7-6 against the spread versus MIAMI over the last 3 seasons
MIAMI is 9-4 straight up against MILWAUKEE over the last 3 seasons
8 of 13 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


BROOKLYN (50 - 34) at CHICAGO (46 - 38) - 4/25/2013, 8:30 PM

Top Trends for this game.
BROOKLYN is 15-25 ATS (-12.5 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
CHICAGO is 37-46 ATS (-13.6 Units) in all games this season.
CHICAGO is 15-28 ATS (-15.8 Units) as a favorite this season.
CHICAGO is 13-28 ATS (-17.8 Units) in home games this season.
CHICAGO is 6-14 ATS (-9.4 Units) when playing with 2 days rest this season.
CHICAGO is 48-74 ATS (-33.4 Units) in home games off an upset win as an underdog since 1996.

Head-to-Head Series History
CHICAGO is 7-6 against the spread versus BROOKLYN over the last 3 seasons
CHICAGO is 9-4 straight up against BROOKLYN over the last 3 seasons
7 of 13 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


LA CLIPPERS (58 - 26) at MEMPHIS (56 - 28) - 4/25/2013, 9:30 PM

Top Trends for this game.
LA CLIPPERS are 70-97 ATS (-36.7 Units) against Southwest division opponents since 1996.
LA CLIPPERS are 158-199 ATS (-60.9 Units) in road games when playing against a team with a winning record since 1996.
LA CLIPPERS are 147-201 ATS (-74.1 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record - 2nd half of the season since 1996.
LA CLIPPERS are 75-106 ATS (-41.6 Units) versus good defensive teams - allowing <=91 points/game since 1996.
MEMPHIS is 48-33 ATS (+11.7 Units) in all games this season.
MEMPHIS is 36-24 ATS (+9.6 Units) as a favorite this season.
MEMPHIS is 71-50 ATS (+16.0 Units) in home games over the last 3 seasons.
MEMPHIS is 62-41 ATS (+16.9 Units) revenging a loss vs opponent over the last 3 seasons.
MEMPHIS is 78-59 ATS (+13.1 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 3 seasons.
MEMPHIS is 65-35 ATS (+26.5 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 99+ points/game over the last 3 seasons.
MEMPHIS is 35-21 ATS (+11.9 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 99+ points/game - 2nd half of the season over the last 3 seasons.

LA CLIPPERS are 12-4 ATS (+7.6 Units) when playing with 2 days rest this season.
Head-to-Head Series History
LA CLIPPERS is 11-8 against the spread versus MEMPHIS over the last 3 seasons
LA CLIPPERS is 13-7 straight up against MEMPHIS over the last 3 seasons
12 of 19 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons


MIAMI vs. MILWAUKEE
Miami is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games on the road
Miami is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games when playing Milwaukee   
Milwaukee is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games when playing Miami
The total has gone UNDER in 5 of Milwaukee's last 5 games when playing Miami

BROOKLYN vs. CHICAGO
Brooklyn is 3-8 SU in its last 11 games when playing Chicago
Brooklyn is 1-6 SU in its last 7 games when playing on the road against Chicago   
Chicago is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing at home against Brooklyn
The total has gone OVER in 5 of Chicago's last 6 games at home

LA CLIPPERS vs. MEMPHIS
The total has gone UNDER in 6 of the LA Clippers last 9 games when playing Memphis
LA Clippers are 5-0 SU in their last 5 games   
The total has gone UNDER in 8 of Memphis's last 11 games
The total has gone UNDER in 10 of Memphis's last 12 games at home


Miami at Milwaukee
Miami: 14-6 ATS away after winning 15+ of their last 20 games
Milwaukee: 16-30 ATS playing with same-season revenge

Brooklyn at Chicago
Brooklyn: 10-1 ATS away playing their second game in five days
Chicago: 1-8 ATS at home after playing BB games as an underdog

LA Clippers at Memphis
LA Clippers: 23-11 ATS off 4+ home games
Memphis: 9-19 ATS at home off ATS wins in 2 of their last 3 games

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, April 25

Thursday's NBA Playoff Action: What Bettors Need to Know
By Covers.com

Miami Heat at Milwaukee Bucks (+7.5, 194)

Miami leads series 2-0.

The Milwaukee Bucks put in a better effort in Game 2 but could not figure out a way around the Miami Heat in the fourth quarter. The Bucks will be looking to avoid a 3-0 hole when the series shifts to Milwaukee for Game 3 on Thursday. LeBron James and Dwyane Wade have gotten plenty of help from the likes of Chris Andersen and Ray Allen in winning the first two games and the Heat have shown no signs that they are ready to lose a game.

Milwaukee leaned on Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings for production while neglecting the frontcourt in getting blown out during Game 1. The Bucks switched tactics in Game 2 and went inside to Ersan Ilyasova and Larry Sanders during the first three quarters, keeping Miami off balance and keeping the game close. The Heat’s big run at the start of the fourth caused Milwaukee to abandon that strategy, and Miami had no trouble pulling away. The Heat have won 10 straight going back to the regular season and need 14 more wins to lock up their second straight championship.

ABOUT THE HEAT: Miami was clinging to a three-point lead entering the fourth quarter of Game 2 and coach Erik Spoelstra decided to switch things up, sending James out with four reserves to start the fourth. James usually sits out the first couple minutes of the fourth quarter but instead combined with Andersen and Norris Cole on a 12-0 burst that put the Heat in control and allowed them to cruise to the end. James went 9-for-11 from the field in Game 1 before “slumping” to 19 points on 6-of-14 shooting in Game 2, ending a streak of 22 straight postseason games with at least 20 points. But he made his impact during the decisive run with a layup, a pair of rebounds and an assist on Cole’s 3-pointer that capped the burst. “We held court,” Spoelstra said. “We protected (home court) for two games. We did what we were supposed to do, and that’s it.”

ABOUT THE BUCKS: Milwaukee’s big advantage on paper is in the frontcourt with Ilyasova, Sanders, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute and Marquis Daniels off the bench. But the Bucks have been outrebounded in each of the first two games and abandoned any offense from the frontcourt in favor of tough shots off the dribble from Jennings and Ellis in Game 1. The second game was a different story, with Ilyasova and Sanders combining for 35 points on 15-of-21 shooting, but the struggles of Ellis and Jennings kept the offense from getting into a flow. The backcourt duo combined to shoot 5-for-22, including 0-for-10 from 3-point range in the loss. Jennings had predicted a Milwaukee series win in six games.

TRENDS:

* Under is 4-0-1 in the last five meetings.
* Over is 15-6 in the last 21 meetings in Milwaukee.
* Bucks are 6-14 ATS in their last 20 home games.
* Heat are 19-7 ATS in their last 26 road games.

BUZZER BEATERS:

1. Sanders and Heat F Shane Battier collided in the fourth quarter of Game 2 and hit the ground hard. Battier required stitches on his chin and Sanders injured his ankle. Both are expected to play Thursday.

2. Milwaukee beat Miami at home 104-85 on Dec. 29 despite James and Wade combining for 50 points.

3. Allen (315) needs five 3-pointers to match Reggie Miller’s postseason career record.


Brooklyn Nets at Chicago Bulls (-3.5, 181)

Series tied 1-1.

The Chicago Bulls have wrestled home-court advantage away from Brooklyn and look to take a 2-1 lead in the series when they host the Nets when the first-round Eastern Conference matchup resumes on Thursday. Chicago notched a 90-82 victory in Monday’s Game 2 after suffering a 17-point loss in the opener. The Bulls clamped down on Nets star Deron Williams and had three different players record double-doubles while evening the series.

Chicago managed quite a turnaround in the second game in Brooklyn. Now the quest becomes matching that stellar effort. “After a win in the playoffs, you’re sky high and feeling good about yourself,” Bulls center Joakim Noah told reporters. “You’ve got to stay focused and know a lot of basketball is left. Anything can happen. Sometimes you play well, sometimes not.” Nets coach P.J. Carlesimo dissected the game tape closely on Tuesday and that only confirmed his postgame sentiments that it was a combination of poor play from his squad and a solid performance by the Bulls. “I think our guys all feel we let ourselves down and we didn’t play as well as we’re capable of playing,” Carlesimo said. Brooklyn guard Joe Johnson is questionable with a foot injury.

ABOUT THE NETS: Williams had only eight points on 1-of-9 shooting in Game 2 after scoring 22 points in the opener. He was harassed by Chicago point guard Kirk Hinrich and never found his shooting rhythm. Williams vowed that things will be much different in Game 3. “I’m not going to play like this again,” Williams said. “They did some different things and they tried to keep me on one side of the court. They definitely stayed with me longer on pick-and-rolls and tried to trap me a little bit. I’ll look at the film and see where I can improve. I didn’t go to the basket enough.”

ABOUT THE BULLS: Frontcourt performers Luol Deng (15 points, 10 rebounds) and Carlos Boozer (13 points, 12 rebounds) had solid Game 2 performances but the catalyst was Noah, who is playing through a bout of plantar fasciitis in his right foot. He struggled mightily in the opener but was strong down the stretch in Game 2 while finishing with 11 points and 10 rebounds and sideswiping the pain. “I thought Jo was very rusty in the first game but willed it, and I thought he willed it again and we needed every bit of it,” Chicago coach Tom Thibodeau said afterward. “To me, it’s obvious we’re a much better team with him on the floor.”

TRENDS:

* Under is 5-2 in the last seven meetings in Chicago.
* Underdog is 5-2 ATS in the last seven meetings.
* Road team is 6-2 ATS in the last eight meetings.
* Nets are 1-4 ATS in the last five meetings.

BUZZER BEATERS:

1. The Nets set a franchise mark with a 23-18 road mark in the regular season.

2. Boozer is averaging 19 points and 10 rebounds in the series.

3. Brooklyn C Brook Lopez had 21 points, five rebounds and three blocks in each of the first two games.


Los Angeles Clippers at Memphis Grizzlies (-4.5, 179.5)

Los Angeles leads series 2-0.

The Memphis Grizzlies have no margin for error entering Thursday’s Game 3 of their first-round Western Conference series with the visiting Los Angeles Clippers. Memphis is in an 0-2 hole and has lost its last three home contests against the Clippers. The Grizzlies won a franchise-record 32 home games but Los Angeles is streaking with nine consecutive victories after recording a 93-91 victory in Monday’s Game 2 on Chris Paul’s driving bank shot with one-tenth of a second remaining.

The Clippers ousted the Grizzlies from last season’s playoffs and can close in on doing so again with a third straight win in the series. “We’ve had success in Memphis,” Los Angeles coach Vinny Del Negro said. “We’re going there with the right mindset but we have to execute better than we did (Monday), especially on the defensive end.” The Grizzlies are taking the position that the series can be evened up now that the scene has shifted to Memphis. “We’ve got to come here and take care of business,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said. “We have two games at home. We almost got one out in L.A. but it wasn’t to be. We have to come home and try to win two and hold court.”

ABOUT THE CLIPPERS: Paul is in the running for Most Valuable Player honors and he again displayed why with his Game 2 heroics. He was able to shed defensive standout Tony Allen to sink the game-winning hoop and cap a 24-point effort. “Not all great players are clutch,” Los Angeles guard Chauncey Billups said. “But Chris has proven to be one of the best clutch players in the game. Anytime we get in those positions, he’s our closer.” Paul is averaging 23.5 points, eight assists and shooting 57.1 percent from the field. Forward Blake Griffin bounced back with 21 points in Game 2 after struggling to 10 points in the opener.

ABOUT THE GRIZZLIES: Center Marc Gasol was named NBA Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday. The 7-foot-1 Gasol averaged 1.7 blocks and one steal during the regular season as Memphis allowed a league-low 88.7 points per game. The Grizzlies are allowing 102.5 through two games against the Clippers and are aiming to reduce that figure. Gasol is averaging 16.5 points but just 4.5 rebounds in the series. Point guard Mike Conley had 28 points and nine assists in Game 2 and is averaging 20 points and seven assists. Power forward Zach Randolph is averaging 13 points and six rebounds and has been a relative non-factor.

TRENDS:

* Under is 4-0 in the last four meetings in Memphis.
* Clippers are 4-1-1 ATS in the last six meetings in Memphis.
* Clippers are 5-2-1 ATS in the last eight meetings.
* Underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.
* Road team is 4-1 ATS in the last five meetings.

BUZZER BEATERS:

1. Los Angeles has won six of its last seven games against Memphis, counting the regular season and postseason.

2. The Grizzlies are 7-for-23 from 3-point range in the series.

3. Clippers backup PG Eric Bledsoe is averaging 11.5 points on 10-of-13 shooting in the series.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, April 25

Thursday's Tips
By Brian Edwards
VegasInsider.com

Miami at Milwaukee

Miami (68-16 straight up, 47-37 against the spread) took a 2-0 series advantage with Tuesday’s 98-86 win over Milwaukee as a 14-point home favorite. The Heat led by only three points going into the fourth quarter, but a 30-14 run saw it take a 98-79 lead with 2:15 remaining. However, the Bucks hooked up their backers with a backdoor cover by scoring the last seven points of the game, including an essential Mike Dunleavy 3-pointer with 33 ticks left.

Dwyane Wade was the catalyst in Game 2, scoring a team-high 21 points to go with seven rebounds, three assists and a pair of steals. LeBron James added 19 points, eight rebounds and six assists, while Chris ‘Birdman’ Andersen came off the bench and provided a key spark with 10 points and six boards.

Erik Spoelstra’s squad won Game 1 by a 110-87 count as a 13.5-point home favorite. The 197 combined points resulted in a push for wagers on the total. James led the way with 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists as Miami outscored Milwaukee by 16 points in the second half.

Milwaukee guard Brandon Jennings scored 26 points in Game 1, but he made just 3-of-15 shots in Game 2 and finished with merely eight points. In a similar fashion, Monta Ellis had 22 points in the series opener, but he was held to just seven points in Game 2.

As of early Wednesday night, most betting shops had the Heat installed as a 7.5-point road favorite with a total of 194.5. Gamblers can take the Bucks to win outright for a +300 return (risk $100 to win $300). Miami is favored by four in first-half wagers and the total is 97.5.

Milwaukee (38-46 SU, 38-46 ATS) has struggled at home, going 21-20 SU and 16-25 ATS.

Miami has won 10 consecutive games while compiling an 8-2 spread record.

Sportsbook.ag is currently showing the Heat as the -220 ‘chalk’ to win the NBA title (risk $220 to win $100).

The ‘over’ is 42-40-2 overall for Miami, but the ‘under’ is 23-18 in its 41 road assignments.

The ‘under’ is 42-39-3 overall for the Bucks, but the ‘over’ is 22-18-1 in their home games.

The ‘under’ is 4-0-1 in the last five head-to-head meetings between these clubs.

Tip-off on TNT is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern.
   
Brooklyn at Chicago

With the series knotted at 1-1, this best-of-seven matchup moves to the Windy City for Game 3. Most books are listing Chicago (46-38 SU, 37-47 ATS) as a 3.5-point ‘chalk’ with a total of 181. Bettors can take the Nets on the money line for a +145 payout (risk $100 to win $145). The Bulls are favored by two in the first half with a total of 91.5.

Brooklyn (50-34 SU, 40-41-3 ATS) won the series opener in blowout fashion, cruising to a 106-89 victory as a 4.5-point home favorite. The 195 combined points soared ‘over’ the 181-point tally. Deron Williams led six Nets in double figures with 22 points and seven assists. Brook Lopez added 21 points, five rebounds and three blocked shots. In the losing effort, Carlos Boozer scored a game-high 25 points.

Chicago played with more energy and urgency in Game 2, capturing a 90-82 win as a 5.5-point underdog. The Bulls hooked up money-line backers with a +200 return, while the 172 combined points stayed ‘under’ the 183-point total. Luol Deng paced the winners with 15 points and 10 rebounds, while Boozer finished with 13 points and 12 boards. Joakim Noah also had a double-double with 11 points, 10 rebounds, three assists and two blocked shots.

In the Game 2 defeat, Lopez scored a game-high 21 points for the Nets.

Brooklyn’s Joe Johnson is struggling with plantar fasciitus but is listed as ‘probable’ for Game 3 (as of early Wednesday night). Johnson averages 16.3 points, 3.5 assists and 3.0 rebounds per game.

P.J. Carlesimo’s team has thrived in road underdog situations recently, posting a 9-3 spread record with eight outright victories in its last 12 such spots.

The ‘over’ is 42-41-1 overall for the Nets, 20-20-1 in their road contests.

The ‘under’ is 45-38-1 overall for the Bulls, 24-16-1 in their home games.

Sportsbook.ag has Brooklyn and Chicago with 75/1 and 100/1 odds, respectively, to win the NBA title. However, the offshore website has the Bulls with -115 odds to win this series, while the Nets are carrying a -105 price.

NBA-TV will provide television coverage at 8:30 p.m. Eastern.

Los Angeles Clippers at Memphis

Los Angeles (58-26 SU, 46-38 ATS) took a 2-0 series lead thanks to Chris Paul’s game-winning leaner that kissed home off the glass with 0.1 seconds remaining in Game 2. The shot lifted the Clippers to a 93-91 home win but the Grizzlies took the money as 5.5-point underdogs. Paul finished with 24 points and nine assists compared to only one turnover. Blake Griffin scored 21 points and pulled down eight boards, while Jamal Crawford contributed 15 points off the bench.

Memphis dropped Game 2 despite a spectacular effort from Mike Conley, who finished with 28 points and nine assists, including a gorgeous ‘dime’ to Marc Gasol for the tying bucket that preceded Paul’s game-winning heroics. Gasol finished with 17 points, seven rebounds and three blocked shots, while Tony Allen had 16 points and 10 boards.

For Game 3, most spots have tabbed Memphis (56-28 SU, 47-35-2 ATS) as a 4.5-point favorite with a total of 179.5. Gamblers can take the Clippers on the money line for a +175 payout. The Grizzlies are three-point ‘chalk’ for first-half bets, while the total is 90.5.

Vinny Del Negro’s team has won nine in a row and hasn’t tasted defeat since April 1. The Clippers have now won five of six head-to-head meetings against the Grizz this year.

The ‘over’ is 47-37 overall for the Clippers, but the ‘under’ is 21-20 in their road assignments.

The ‘under’ is 50-33-1 overall for Memphis, 27-14 in its home games.

Going into Game 3, Sportsbook.ag has the Clippers with 15/1 odds to win the NBA title. The Grizzlies have 100/1 odds. Sportsbook has the updated series price as the Clippers -650 compared to Memphis at +450.

Tip-off is slated for 9:30 p.m. Eastern on TNT.

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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, April 25

2013 NBA Playoffs

Milwaukee lost 17 of last 23 games; can they even win a game in series? Bucks upset Heat 104-85 at home Dec 29, forcing 20 turnovers (+15), but lost other five meetings by 7-13-11-23-12 points, with under 4-0-1 in last five series games. Bucks played better in Game 2, making 50% on night, holding Heat to 44.9%, but they got outscored 22-10 on foul line and are just 11-44 from arc themselves in series. Miami was 4-3 as road favorite in LY's playoffs; they lost first road game in three of four series they played in playoffs last spring.

Three of five Chicago-Brooklyn games this season were decided by 4 or less points; Nets shot 55.8% in Game 1, 35.4% in Game 2, as Brooklyn guards were 7-27 from floor. Other than Lopez, other Net starters made 10-37 form floor. Bulls do not shoot ball well, (28-45 from line, 5-20 on arc in series) but they defend like hell and are very well coached. Have to give coaching edge in series to Thobodeau. Nets won three of last four road games, with wins at Indiana/Boston. So far in playoffs, home teams are 9-7 vs spread, 5-3 in East; under is 8-7-1, 4-3-1 in East.

Clippers pulled out 93-91 win in Game 2, when their bench was +43 in game, Memphis bench -34; LA led both games by six at half, have made 9-34 from arc in series. Clips led Memphis 3-1 in LY's playoffs, wound up having to win Game 7 Im Memphis to advance, so Grizzlies are still alive here; they closed rebounding gap to 40-38 in Game 2, after it was 47-23 in Game 1. Clippers won five of six meetings vs Memphis this year, with wins here, by 26-4 points. Conley exploded for 28 points in Game 2; Memphis lost first two games despite getting to line 59 times, compared to 53 for the Clippers.


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Re: NBA Betting News and Notes Thursday, April 25

Thursday NBA Action
By Sportsbook.ag

MIAMI HEAT (68-16) at MILWAUKEE BUCKS (38-46)

The Bucks will be playing to avoid a 3-0 series deficit when they take their home court against the defending champion Heat on Thursday night.

Milwaukee was right in Game 2 for three quarters, but then Miami, yet again, flipped a switch, winning the game 98-86 behind a balanced attack led by Dwyane Wade. Wade had 21 points in the game and scored timely buckets to counter Bucks runs. One thing the Heat didn't do in Game 2, however, was cover the 14-point spread. They failed to do so, despite a very poor shooting night from the Bucks backcourt in which Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings combined to make only 5-of-22 FG (23%), including 0-for-10 from three-point range. Although Milwaukee was a winning team at home (21-20 SU), it was a paltry 15-25 ATS (38%) at BMO Harris Bradley Center this season. Miami was outstanding on the road this season, going 29-12 SU and 24-17 ATS (59%).

The Heat have dominated the first two games of this series with help from almost every player on the roster. In Game 2, SG Dwyane Wade led the way with 21 points (8-of-14 FG) and seven rebounds, but SF LeBron James was also a difference maker as always. James was 0-for-3 from three-point range, but he had 19 points, six assists and eight rebounds in the game. Some of the biggest contributions for Miami on Tuesday came from its bench players. SF Shane Battier was 2-of-5 from three and 4-for-4 from the free throw line to add 10 points and a +17 rating for Miami in just 24 minutes. The Heat also got tons of energy from PF Chris Andersen, who has become a fan favorite at AmericanAirlines Arena. The "Birdman" finished the game with 10 points, six rebounds and a +14 rating in just 12 minutes of play. He has provided the Heat with another defensive presence in the small spurts he has been on the court. SG Ray Allen shot poorly (2-of-8 FG), but had four assists and a game-best +26 rating. PF Chris Bosh finished with just 10 points and six boards, lowering his postseason averages to 12.5 PPG and 6.5 RPG.

The Bucks definitely feel better about their Game 2 performance than they did after Game 1. On Tuesday, Milwaukee was right in the game despite their best two scorers having an off-night. PG Monta Ellis was 2-for-7 FG (0-for-3 threes) and PG Brandon Jennings shot 3-for-15 from the floor and 0-for-7 from downtown. The backcourt did had five assists apiece, but posted a combined minus-20 rating with six turnovers. Despite being outrebounded 43-33, the Bucks got major offensive contributions in this game from their frontcourt though, with SF Ersan Ilyasova, C Larry Sanders and SF Mike Dunleavy. Ilyasova had 21 points (9-of-14 FG) and six rebounds in 29 minutes of play, while Sanders, who battled foul trouble in the game, scored 14 points on 6-of-7 shooting from the field. Sanders also had six rebounds and five turnovers. Mike Dunleavy provided instant offense off the bench for Milwaukee, going 6-of-9 from the field and 2-for-5 from three with 16 points, six rebounds and five assists in 25 minutes of play.


BROOKLYN NETS (50-34) at CHICAGO BULLS (46-38)

After a big win on Monday to even up the series with Brooklyn, Chicago looks to keep the momentum going on Thursday when it returns home for Game 3.
   
The Bulls looked miserable in Game 1, but responded with an eight-point victory, 90-82, over the Nets in Game 2. That is how the season has looked all season. It hasn't been pretty at times for Chicago, but the club eventually finds a way to get the job done. The Nets are 4-2 ATS (1-5 SU) at United Center over the past three seasons, and have also been a great road team at 23-18 (SU and ATS) overall this season. The Bulls have struggled to put teams away on their home court, going 13-28 ATS (32%) despite a decent 24-17 SU mark. Brooklyn is 7-5 SU (8-4 ATS) with exactly two days' rest, but Chicago has been horrible in this scenario, going 7-13 SU (6-14 ATS). And as poor of a wager that the Nets have been after an SU loss this season (14-19 ATS, 42%), the Bulls are only 16-29 ATS (36%) following an SU win.

The Nets looked great in Saturday's Game 1, but were horrendous in Monday's Game 2. They were out-rebounded 44-39 and shot just 35.4% from the field (4-of-21 threes) as a team. PG Deron Williams must do a better job on Thursday, because as he goes, the team goes. In Game 1 he was brilliant (22 points), but in Game 2 he couldn't hit a shot (1-for-9 FG) nor was he aggressive enough in finding his rhythm, finishing with just eight points, but also dishing out 10 assists with a mere two turnovers. C Brook Lopez continues to play well for Brooklyn as he tallied 21 points (7-of-14 FG), five rebounds and three blocks in Monday's loss. PF Reggie Evans didn't rebound the ball like he normally does though, finishing with just eight rebounds and a minus-12 rating on Monday. The Nets are going to need SG Joe Johnson to perform better if they are going to take control back in this series. Johnson went 6-for-18 against the Bulls in Game 2 for 17 points, four assists and four rebounds. He will need to start shooting the ball better to give the Nets a second go-to option on the wing. SF Gerald Wallace also needs to show up on Thursday after a horrendous Game 2 where he scored two points on 1-of-7 shooting with a game-worst, minus-16 rating.

The Bulls responded well to the 106-89 beating they took in Game 1, and came back and won Game 2 by holding Brooklyn to 82 points. Chicago dominated the third quarter of the game, winning that period 22-11 and never looking back after that. SF Luol Deng stepped up on Monday after he was seemingly absent in Game 1. Deng went 7-of-17 from the field with 15 points, 10 rebounds and four assists. His defense was also superb, as he finished with two blocks and one steal. PF Carlos Boozer continued to play well for Chicago with 13 points and 12 rebounds, giving him 19.0 PPG and 10.0 RPG for the series. The X-factor in this series is C Joakim Noah, who has been playing despite a nagging foot injury. Noah was non-existent in Game 1 with four points and five rebounds, but played very well in his 25 minutes in Game 2, tallying a double-double with 11 points and 10 boards. If the Bulls can get more positive minutes from C Nazr Mohammed, who scored eight points on 4-of-5 shooting Monday, it will really ease the burden on head coach Tom Thibodeau. PG Nate Robinson has also had a strong series offensively with 14.0 PPG on 52% shooting.


LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (58-26) at MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (56-28)

After dropping both games in Los Angeles, the Grizzlies try to climb back into their first-round series with the Clippers in Thursday's Game 3 back home in Memphis.

The Grizzlies were blown out of Game 1 by a 112-91 score, but played much better defense in Monday's Game 2, and nearly pulled out the victory, losing 93-91 after Chris Paul made a last-second floater. That gives L.A. nine straight victories (5-3-1 ATS) during a streak that has seen the team score 104.8 PPG on 50% FG and 36% threes. Memphis is happy to return home, where it is 32-9 SU and 23-16-2 ATS (59%) this season, including 14-1 SU (8-7 ATS) in the past 15 games. But that one SU defeat came to the Clippers, 91-87 on April 13. Los Angeles is a solid 24-17 SU on the road this season, but just 20-21 ATS. The Clippers are 13-7 SU (11-8-1 ATS) in the past three years versus Memphis, which includes a 5-1 SU mark (4-2 ATS) this season. Los Angeles is also much better with two days' rest, going 14-3 SU (12-4-1 ATS) in this scenario, compared to the Grizzlies' 10-2 SU record, but subpar 5-6-1 ATS mark after a couple days off.

The Clippers have had a tremendous series offensively with 102.5 PPG on 51.3% FG, but they shot terribly from three-point range in Monday's Game 2, making just 2-of-15 threes. But it has been the defense that has been the difference in this series, limiting Memphis to 91 points in both games and holding a decisive 87-61 rebounding edge in the two games. The Clippers produced a league-leading 9.6 steals per game during the regular season, but have less than half of that (4.5 SPG) so far in the series. PG Chris Paul has been the star of the series with 23.5 PPG (57% FG), 8.0 APG, 3.0 RPG and 1.5 SPG. He's committed just two turnovers in his 69 minutes of action. Four other Los Angeles players have also averaged double-figures so far this series. PF Blake Griffin has 15.5 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.5 APG and 1.5 BPG, while SG Jamal Crawford has knocked down 14.0 PPG on 11-of-22 shooting. Two other Clippers players have been even hotter from the floor, as PG Eric Bledsoe has 11.5 PPG on 10-of-13 FG (77%), while SF Caron Butler has 11.0 PPG on 10-of-15 shooting (67%). C DeAndre Jordan has scored a total of only seven points (3-of-6 FG), but has 16 rebounds in the series, and posted four blocks in Game 2. The one player that had a poor performance Monday was SG Chauncey Billups, who scored just five points on 2-of-8 FG with a team-worst minus-11 rating. In Game 1, Billups tallied 14 points and a +14 rating. Although the L.A. starters combined for a minus-33 rating on Monday, the six bench players posted a stellar +43 combined rating.

Despite the pedestrian point totals, the Grizzlies have actually shot pretty well in this series, making 46% FG despite a poor 7-of-23 three-point clip. Their defense has been outstanding at FedEx Forum this season, holding visitors to a mere 87.0 PPG on 42.7% FG and 31.8% threes. And despite getting outrebounded, points in the paint are nearly even in this series at 96-94 favoring the Clippers. If the Grizzlies are going to get back in this series, PF Zach Randolph has to stay out of foul trouble, picking up five personals in each of the first two games. That has limited him to 13.0 PPG and 6.0 RPG in the postseason, numbers well below what he did against L.A. in the regular season (14.8 PPG, 12.0 RPG). PG Mike Conley has admittedly struggled to keep Chris Paul in check, but he was still able to score a playoff-career-high 28 points in Game 2, and is averaging 20.0 PPG, 7.0 APG and 2.0 SPG for the series. C Marc Gasol has also had a strong offensive series with 16.5 PPG, but has just nine rebounds in the two games combined. SG Tony Allen was a monster on the glass Monday with a game-high 10 boards to go along with 16 points on 6-of-9 shooting. Starting SF Tayshaun Prince has been dreadful this postseason, scoring just eight points on 3-of-15 shooting. PF Darrell Arthur had some key buckets during his team's fourth-quarter comeback on Monday, finishing with nine points (4-of-5 FG), but had the worst rating on the team (minus-11).

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