LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (58-26) at MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (56-28) Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Memphis -4.5 & 179.5
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 50percent FG and 36percent threes. Memphis is happy to return home, where it is 32-9 SU and 23-16-2 ATS (59percent) 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 51.3percent 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 (57percent 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 (77percent), while SF Caron Butler has 11.0 PPG on 10-of-15 shooting (67percent). 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 46percent 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 42.7percent FG and 31.8percent 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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NBA Finals Game 5 – Find a Way to Win2010-06-11
The NBA Finals series is tied at two games apiece, with the critical Game 5 looming on Sunday. After Boston evened the series on Thursday night, the Celtics have once again been installed as favorites, laying 3-points according to Sportsbook.com. Stay up to date with all of the key betting information for this crucial contest by following the LIVE ODDS, BETTING TRENDS, and GAME MATCHUP pages.
Say what you want about the Boston Celtics, this group is buoyant and tenacious, from the starters to the bench players and their coach might be a blast at a black jack table, hitting on 16 because he feels a five coming as next card.
If Glen Davis, Nate Robinson, Rasheed Wallace and Tony Allen sound like the makeup of an NBA expansion team, that belief would likely be correct. However, this group of bench jockey’s scored on the first nine possessions of the final stanza for the Celtics and largely cemented the game away against the Lakers regular starters.
Coach Doc Rivers took a gamble, not calculated, but heart-felt and emotional, that this contingent had just a bit more to give with over 240 seconds left in Game 4 and his team leading by nine points and waved back his starting subs back to the bench.
“Hell, Rondo and all of them were begging me to keep guys in. 'Don't take them out. Don't take them out,'" Rivers recalled. "It was great. That was the loudest I've seen our bench, and it was our starters cheering from the bench. I thought it was terrific."
This enabled the Celtics to tie the series and moved their record to 8-3 SU and ATS at TD Garden in the postseason with one more to go.
Boston could be gaining some advantages as the series is wearing on. Pierce was much more efficient in running off screen and roles, getting Ron Artest out of his face, scoring 19 points and handing out five assists.
The player formerly known as “Big Baby” has been a man, as Davis’ internal flame has him continually outhustling the Los Angeles big men and he found a way to not let his height be a detriment in the paint against the taller L.A. players in making seven of 10 shots and collecting five boards (four offensive).
Going from the speed and quickness of Rajon Rondo to Nate Robinson allows the Celtics to have accelerator to the floor like a NASCAR driver in a straight away if they choose for all 48 minutes.
The Lakers give the appearance of being in control, but cracks are formulating. Andrew Bynum knee not only limits him, but forces Pau Gasol and Lamar Odom to log more minutes against the more physical Boston frontline.
Though Kobe Bryant scored 33 points in last conflict, the Allen Gang (Tony and Ray) are making life difficult, as witnessed by his seven turnovers.
Bryant said, "They got all the energy points, the hustle points, the second-chance points ... "
" ... points in the paint, beat us to the loose balls," Bryant continued. "I mean, that's how the game turned around."
For the third time in this year’s playoffs, Los Angeles is 2-2 and they are 19-6 ATS when a series is tied and 18-6 ATS in road games having lost two of their last three tilts. The extra day off should help Bynum and the exhausted looking Lakers should be fresher.
Sportsbook.com has Boston as three-point home faves with total slipping to 188 after a pair of Under’s.
The Celtics are 8-2 ATS in last 10 NBA Finals’ affairs and 5-0 ATS with two days off. They are 6-0-1 UNDER in last seven home assignments.
The Lakers are still a potent 37-21 as an underdog, including 5-2 ATS in previous seven tries. Phil Jackson must devise ways to get better looks and increase the tempo since his club is 15-6 UNDER as a road underdog of six points or less this season, which has them being outscored 3.9 points per game when this happens.
ABC will have Game 5 at 8:00 Eastern and the team that snares the most rebounds in 4-0 SU and ATS in the Finals.
StatFox Power Line – Boston by 4
NBA: Orlando at Charlotte 8:00E TNT2010-04-26
Orlando and Charlotte play Game 4 of their first round NBA Eastern Conference Playoff series and the Magic have the chance to become the first team to move on to the second round with a sweep. The Bobcats would like to at least experience the success of a playoff win in this, their first postseason ever, and play as a 4-point home dog according to Sportsbook.com.
Without reading the entire boxscore, finding out Vince Carter, Dwight Howard and Rashard Lewis would score 37 points on 12 for 29 shooting in Charlotte; it would be assumed Orlando would have fallen in Game 3.
But as J.R.R. Tolkien once said “Even the smallest person can change the course of the future.” This is precisely what 6’0 Jameer Nelson has done; scoring 32 points in 90-86 win in Game 3 to lead the Magic to victory.
Nelson is averaging 25.7 points per game and has a turnover about every 36 minutes of play in this series. “I’m not out there trying to shoot every shot,” Nelson said. “It just happens that sometimes you have to, especially if you have it going.”
Orlando now has a commanding 3-0 lead and is 12-0 ATS after a win by six points or less this season. Because the Bobcats don’t have the offensive firepower to match the Magic, it’s more a matter of who wants to win this game than overall ability.
Charlotte is 18-5 ATS having lost four of their last five games and veteran coach and vagabond Larry Brown knows what he has seen in the series. “It hasn’t been the defense that has let us down,” Brown said. “Defensive rebounds have been a problem. Turnovers have been a problem. And I think more than anything is poor execution on offense.”
Orlando is a four-point pick and is 25-14 ATS as a road favorite of four points or less and is 21-11 UNDER in this role. The Bobcats will attempt to stave off elimination and are 20-9 ATS after a game as a home underdog, losing by 2.7 points per contest.
The StatFox Outplay Factor Ratings call for Orlando to win by 2.9 points, slightly less than the actual line, indicating at least a point of value on the home underdogs.