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NBA ♦ Playoffs ♦ Monday 4/18/16

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    NBA Playoffs betting preview and odds

    The Golden State Warriors aren’t sure if they’ll be with or without reining MVP Stephen Curry against the Houston Rockets. There is certainly plenty of intrigue heading into Monday’s trio of Game 2 matchups.

    Indiana Pacers at Toronto Raptors (-7, 193.5)

    Pacers lead series 1-0

    All-Star forward Paul George and the Indiana Pacers delivered the opening salvo and look to make it two consecutive road victories when they face the Toronto Raptors on Monday. George poured in 33 points in Saturday’s 100-90 victory and Indiana attempts to continue the playoff woes of the Raptors.

    Second-seeded Toronto hasn’t won a playoff series since 2001 and has dropped its last seven postseason games, which includes last season’s four losses to the Washington Wizards. “As a team, as a whole, I thought we were tight,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey told reporters. “I know our team did not play to our identity, but I know we’ll come back Monday night and play to our identity.” The seventh-seeded Pacers plan to ride the coattails of George in this series and he is intent on making a mark in his first postseason appearances since badly breaking his right leg in the summer of 2014. “Paul’s shot-making at the end of the game was spectacular,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel told reporters in reference to George’s 27 second-half points. “It’s been a long road for him in terms of actually getting back to the court but before his injury, we were in the conference finals.”

    TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBATV, FSN Indiana, Sportsnet (Toronto)

    LINE HISTORY: The Raptors opened as seven-point favorites at home and the spread has yet to move off the opening number. The total opened at 193 and was adjusted slightly to 193.5. View complete line history here.

    ABOUT THE PACERS (46-37, 42-40-1 ATS, 37-46 O/U): George said after the Game 1 victory that he is still working on getting to be as strong physically as he was prior to the devastating injury that required an arduous recovery. “Some days I felt great, felt like I could have started that night,” George told reporters. “Some days I wanted to throw it all in, let Mother Nature heal it without doing any work. It was a little bit of both.” George (4-of-5) and shooting guard Monta Ellis (3-of-4) were strong from 3-point range in the opener and Indiana was 11-of-21 overall.

    ABOUT THE RAPTORS (56-27, 45-38 ATS, 42-40-1 O/U): Game 1 was filled with offensive inefficiency as Toronto shot 38 percent from the field and committed 20 turnovers that led to 25 Indiana points. “We just missed some shots and turned the ball over,” All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry told reporters. “Now there’s a series of adjustments we have to do in one day. It’s one game. This is not last year. We’re very positive, we’re very confident.” Lowry was just 3-of-13 shooting, All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan was only 5-of-19 and center Jonas Valanciunas – who set a franchise playoff record with 19 rebounds – was just 4-of-14.


    * Pacers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. Eastern Conference.
    * Raptors are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up loss.
    * Under is 6-1 in Pacers last 7 Conference Quarterfinals games.
    * Over is 6-1 in Raptors last 7 games following a double-digit loss at home.
    * Pacers are 2-10 ATS in the last 12 meetings.


    Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder (-13.5, 200)

    Thunder lead series 1-0

    The Oklahoma City Thunder put together an immaculate performance in the series opener and look to outclass Dallas again when they host the visiting Mavericks on Monday. The Thunder rolled to a 108-70 annihilation of Dallas on Saturday in what was the franchise’s largest margin of victory in a playoff game since relocating from Seattle to Oklahoma City prior to the 2008-09 campaign.

    The third-seeded Thunder missed the playoffs last season and came out with a vengeance against the Mavericks as if they had a point to make. “We just wanted to come out and impose our will early,” All-Star forward Kevin Durant told reporters. “We didn’t want to ease into the game. We wanted to be the aggressor. We came out and did a good job.” Sixth-seeded Dallas set dubious franchise playoff records for fewest points scored and worst field-goal percentage (29.8 percent) in a truly woeful showing. “I guess the only positive I take out if this – it’s only one game,” power forward Dirk Nowitzki told reporters. “If you lose by two or by 50, in the playoffs, it’s only one game. We’ve got another crack to steal one on Monday night. We’ve got to play harder, we’ve got to play better. It’s as simple as that.”

    TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, FSN Oklahoma

    LINE HISTORY: Oklahoma City opened as 13-point favorites but that line was quickly bet up to -13.5. The total opened at 202 and the public jumped all over the under, forcing the books to drop the number a full two points to 200. View complete line history here.

    ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (42-41, 45-37-1 ATS, 39-43-1 O/U): Point guard J.J. Barea has been one of the team’s better players this month but his availability is in jeopardy after he aggravated a groin injury during the second half of Game 1. “I’m very, very concerned,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. “I think something happened. I don’t think it’s just tight.” Nowitzki scored 18 points on Saturday and the rest of the starting lineup combined for just 12 points on 5-of-25 shooting as guards Deron Williams (1-of-9), Wesley Matthews (3-of-10) and Barea (1-of-6) were unable to get untracked.

    ABOUT THE THUNDER (56-27, 38-44-1 ATS, 39-44 O/U): Point guard Russell Westbrook (24 points and 11 assists in 29 minutes) and Durant (23 points in 26 minutes) were productive as usual but Oklahoma City also received a strong performance from power forward Serge Ibaka, who had 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting to go with nine rebounds and three blocked shots. Ibaka has struggled recently and went 1-of-12 from the field in his final regular-season appearance but was a much different player in the assault of the Mavericks. “When he’s knocking (down shots), it opens it up for us on the offensive end,” Durant told reporters. “Then guarding Dirk is tough. He made it tough on him all night. He was helping off, protecting the rim, spreading the floor. He was good, but we need him to be better next game.”


    * Mavericks are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 Conference Quarterfinals games.
    * Thunder are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
    * Under is 6-1 in Mavericks last 7 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
    * Under is 5-1 in Thunder last 6 vs. NBA Southwest.
    * Under is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings in Oklahoma City.


    Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors (-13, 218)

    Warriors lead series 1-0

    The Golden State Warriors looked every bit like the best team in the NBA in Game 1 of their first-round series but did not come out of the 26-point victory with all positives. The Warriors hope to have star guard Stephen Curry (ankle) available when they host the eighth-seeded Houston Rockets in Game 2 on Monday.

    Curry scored 24 points in 19 minutes in Game 1 but rolled his right ankle and barely played in the second half as the Warriors cruised to a 104-78 win. Coach Steve Kerr called him “questionable” for Game 2, but Curry disagreed. “Right now, don’t see a scenario where I’ll be out,” Curry told reporters. “Obviously, if it’s not right and I’m at risk of further injury or whatnot, that’s the only thing that we’ll have to worry about. Pain tolerance and all that stuff, I kind of know what I can deal with on the court. But you don’t want anything more serious to happen, favoring an ankle or whatnot. So that’s what we’ll kind of pay attention to the next two days.” The Rockets will spend their off day trying to figure out how to coax more offense out of a team that shot 35.7 percent from the field, including 6-of-22 from 3-point range, in the opener.

    TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT, ROOT (Houston), CSN Bay Area (Golden State)

    LINE HISTORY: The Warriors opened as 12.5-point favorites for Game 2 and that line was adjusted up slightly to -13. The total opened at 220 but the betting public decided that number was too high and the books adjusted the number to 218. View complete line history here.

    ABOUT THE ROCKETS (41-42, 37-46 ATS, 47-36 O/U): Houston went with a smaller lineup to try to counter Golden State, inserting Corey Brewer into the starting lineup in place of power forward Donatas Motiejunas to give the defense more athleticism. “Defensively, we thought it gave us more versatility to switch things,” Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters. “Games we’ve watched, the way we’ve studied it, the teams that have had success versus them defensively weren’t chasing them all over the floor. They just check in front of them. So we went that way.” The defensive changes backfired and the offense stalled as star James Harden went 7-of-19 from the floor and did not attempt a free throw for the first time in 148 games.

    ABOUT THE WARRIORS (74-9, 46-35-2 ATS, 45-37-1 O/U): Golden State was plus-28 with Curry on the floor in Game 1 and doesn’t want to play without its star, but is prepared if necessary. “If you lose the MVP, it’s going to change your team,” Warriors forward Draymond Green told reporters. “I think he’ll be fine at some point. One man is not going to come out and be Steph Curry. We have to do it collectively. But we have the blueprint (for winning without Curry). We know we can do it, if we have to.” Fellow All-Star guard Klay Thompson struggled from the field (4-of-14) but Green collected 12 points and 10 rebounds and Golden State scored 33 points off Houston’s 24 turnovers in Game 1.


    * Rockets are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 Conference Quarterfinals games.
    * Warriors are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Southwest.
    * Under is 6-0 in Rockets last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
    * Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in Golden State.


    Indiana-Toronto (Ind 1-0)
    Toronto lost its last five first round series; last time they won a first round series was 2001- they got upset 100-90 here Saturday, turning ball over 19 times, going 4-19 on arc, so pressure on them to even series before it heads to Indy. Raptors won seven of last nine games with Indiana; Toronto has covered nine of last 11 series games- six of last nine went over total. Pacers won seven of last nine t overall, four of last five on the road. Raptors won seven of last ten games overall, covering five of last eight.

    Dallas-Oklahoma City (OC 1-0)
    OC was up 59-33 at half in Saturday’s rout; Thunder won last five games with Dallas, but Mavericks are 6-5 vs spread in last 11 vs OKC. Seven of last ten series games went over. Dallas won seven of last ten games, covered four of last six as a dog- Eight of last ten Dallas games stayed under total. Mavericks shot 29.8% in big loss Saturday, 4-18 on arc. Thunder was 12-35 on arc. Every west Game 1 saw favorite win by 20+; dogs were 3-1 vs spread in east.

    Houston-Golden State (G 1-0)
    Curry’s ankle is only question here; he played very little in 2nd half of huge rout Saturday; was it a precaution? Golden State won 10 of last 11 games (7-4 vs the spread) against Houston, covering last six played here. Rockets won three of last four games, are 3-2 vs spread in five tries as an underdog. Warriors won by 26 in first game Saturday, leading 60-33 at half, have to question whether the Rockets want to compete- they shot 36% from floor, 12-24 on line, 6-22 on arc.

    Playoff tally: Favorites vs spread: 6-2, Over: 2-6


    StatFox Super Situations™ – FoxSheets

    Play On – Road teams (HOUSTON) explosive offensive team – scoring 103+ points/game on the season, after trailing in their previous game by 15 or more points at the half
    102-54 since 1997. ( 65.4% | 42.6 units )
    15-9 this year. ( 62.5% | 5.1 units )

    Play On – Any team vs the money line (TORONTO) when trailing in a playoff series, a good team (60% to 75%) playing a marginal winning team (51% to 60%)
    42-15 since 1997. ( 73.7% | 25.0 units )

    Play Under – Home teams where the first half total is between 95.5 and 100.5 points good team – outscoring their opponents by 3+ points/game, in April games
    188-113 since 1997. ( 62.5% | 63.7 units )
    3-2 this year. ( 60.0% | 0.8 units )


    Gambling recap of a wild NBA Playoffs weekend, look ahead to Game Two
    By Joe Fortenbaugh

    How’s this as a way to kick-off the 2016 NBA playoffs: through just eight total matchups, there have already been four blowouts of 25 or more points. To put that into perspective, the 2011, 2012 and 2014 NBA playoffs each featured just four total blowouts of 25 or more points during their entire respective postseason runs.

    Yes, things got a bit wild as The Association’s annual postseason slugfest got underway Saturday. And between Steph Curry’s ankle injury, Detroit’s feistiness and Toronto’s never-ending first-round woes, things will only get more exhilarating as we progress towards crowing a champion in June.

    For now, let’s take a look at how NBA teams have historically fared in a seven-game series based on the series deficit before diving into some matchup-by-matchup analysis.

    Best-of-7 series in NBA history:

    1-0 lead: 372-111 (77.0%)
    2-0 lead: 254-16 (94.1%)
    3-0 lead: 118-0 (100.0%)
    2-1 lead: 294-71 (80.5%)
    3-1 lead: 220-9 (96.1%)
    3-2 lead: 238-42 (85.0%)

    In addition, take note that only 23 teams in NBA history have emerged victorious in the first two games of a best-of-7 series on the road. Of those 23 clubs, 20 went on to win the series.

    No. 1 Golden State Warriors vs. No. 8 Houston Rockets

    Game 1: Warriors 104, Rockets 78 (at Golden State)
    ATS result: Warriors -13 and UNDER 224.5
    Game 2: Monday at 10:30pm eastern in Oakland

    What you need to know: From the opening whistle, this game was never in doubt as the defending champs jumped out to a 33-15 first quarter lead and never looked back. I was at Oracle Arena on Saturday and can tell you first-hand that Houston’s body language was nothing short of dreadful, which gave the impression to anyone with a pulse that the Rockets would rather be on a beach sipping margaritas than waging war with a 73-win juggernaut.

    However, MVP Steph Curry tweaked his ankle just before halftime, sat out practice on Sunday and is officially listed as “questionable” for Game 2 on Monday night. But Houston point guard Patrick Beverley isn’t buying it, stating Sunday when asked if Curry was questionable for Game 2, “S— no. He’s playing.”

    Trend to consider: Despite their dominance over the rest of The Association, the Warriors are just 6-6 ATS at home during the playoffs since last season.

    No. 1 Cleveland Cavaliers vs. No. 8 Detroit Pistons

    Game 1: Cavaliers 106, Pistons 101 (at Cleveland)
    ATS result: Detroit +11 and OVER 200
    Game 2: Wednesday at 8:00pm eastern in Cleveland

    What you need to know: As predicted by several insiders prior to the start of this series, Detroit gave Cleveland all it could handle from the opening tip by grabbing a 58-53 halftime lead that regressed into a 78-76 edge entering the fourth quarter. But LeBron James finally got some playoff help in the form of 59 combined points from Kyrie Irving (31) and Kevin Love (28) as the Cavaliers took control of an 88-88 tie with 6:29 remaining in the fourth quarter and brought down the curtain on the upstart Pistons thanks to a combination of experience and patience.

    Be suspicious of Detroit in Game 2, as the Pistons went 15/29 (51.7%) from three-point range on Sunday. That type of accuracy will be tough to maintain for a team that shot just 34.5% from deep during the regular season (t-21st in NBA).

    Trend to consider: LeBron James has now won 14 consecutive first-round playoff games and has never failed to advance past the conference quarterfinals in ten attempts.

    No. 2 Toronto Raptors vs. No. 7 Indiana Pacers

    Game 1: Pacers 100, Raptors 90 (at Toronto)
    ATS result: Indiana +7 and UNDER 195
    Game 2: Monday at 7:00pm eastern in Toronto

    What you need to know: The Raptors are now 0-8 all-time in their first game of the playoffs, with this latest loss coming thanks to an inability to defend Pacers forward Paul George, who became the first Indiana player since Jalen Rose in 2000 to record 30 points and 5 assists in a postseason game. Not only that, but George locked it down on the defensive end of the floor as well by limiting Raptors All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan to 3/15 shooting when marked by George. Indiana’s upset victory marked the end of the franchise’s five-game losing streak at Air Canada Centre.

    Trend to consider: The Pacers have now covered the spread in four straight games as well as in five of their last six outings.

    No. 2 San Antonio Spurs vs. No. 7 Memphis Grizzlies

    Game 1: Spurs 106, Grizzlies 74 (at San Antonio)
    ATS result: Spurs -17 and UNDER 188.5
    Game 2: Tuesday at 9:30pm eastern in San Antonio

    What you need to know: San Antonio shot 68% from the field during the third quarter while outscoring Memphis 33-14 to hand the Grizzlies their worst postseason loss in franchise history on Sunday night. Never was the absence of both Memphis center Marc Gasol and point guard Mike Conley more evident than during the first quarter when the Grizzlies notched just 13 total points en route to a nine-point deficit after just 12 minutes of action.

    Between one of the deepest rosters in the league in San Antonio and one of the most banged-up clubs in the league in Memphis, this series has all the makings of a blowout.

    Trend to consider: San Antonio is now 5-0 straight-up and 4-1 ATS against Memphis this season while winning by an average of 16.4 points per game.

    No. 3 Oklahoma City Thunder vs. No. 6 Dallas Mavericks

    Game 1: Thunder 108, Mavericks 70 (at Oklahoma City)
    ATS result: Oklahoma City -12 and UNDER 206
    Game 2: Monday at 8:00pm eastern in Oklahoma City

    What you need to know: Oklahoma City forward Kevin Durant checked out of Game 1 for good with 4:43 remaining in the third quarter. At that point, Durant and All-Star teammate Russell Westbrook had outscored the entire Mavericks roster 43-42 by themselves. The 70 total points Dallas posted on Saturday night marks the fewest points scored in a playoff game in franchise history, while Oklahoma City’s 38-point win was the club’s second-largest margin of victory in a playoff game in team history.

    Be advised that only two teams in NBA history have gone on to win a playoff series after losing a game by at least 38 points.

    Trend to consider: Oklahoma City is now 5-0 straight-up and 3-2 ATS in five games against Dallas this season.

    No. 3 Miami Heat vs. No. 6 Charlotte Hornets

    Game 1: Heat 123, Hornets 91 (at Miami)
    ATS result: Miami -4.5 and OVER 199
    Game 2: Wednesday at 7:00pm in Miami

    What you need to know: It was a performance for the ages in South Beach on Sunday as the Heat tied a franchise playoff record with 41 first-quarter points and broke another franchise playoff record with 123 total points in a 32-point route of a Hornets team that was outmatched and out-hustled from the jump.

    Making just their third playoff appearance since re-emerging as the Charlotte Bobcats in 2004-2005, the Hornets shot just 6/17 (35.3%) from three-point range and recorded a grand total of only 11 assists, while the Heat went 9/18 from deep and notched 27 assists with just six turnovers committed.

    Trend to consider: The OVER has hit in each of Charlotte’s last six games.

    No. 4 Atlanta Hawks vs. No. 5 Boston Celtics

    Game 1: Hawks 102, Celtics 101 (at Atlanta)
    ATS result: Boston +5.5 and UNDER 206
    Game 2: Tuesday at 7:00pm in Atlanta

    What you need to know: Despite a valiant second-half effort, the Boston Celtics have now dropped six straight playoff games for the first time since losing eight consecutive postseason showdowns from 2003-2004 thanks, in large part, to Atlanta point guard Jeff Teague’s third career postseason effort of at least 20 points (23) and 10 assists (12). Boston fell behind 30-19 in the first quarter and 51-34 at halftime before a second-half surge brought the club to within striking distance within the final minute.

    However, the loss of point guard Avery Bradley to a hamstring injury with 6:42 left in the fourth quarter ultimately doomed Boston’s chances. Bradley is currently considered doubtful to play in the rest of the series according to Celtics head coach Brad Stevens.

    Trend to consider: The Hawks are now 4-1 straight-up and 3-2 ATS in five games against Boston this season.

    No. 4 Los Angeles Clippers vs. No. 5 Portland Trail Blazers

    Game 1: Clippers 115, Trail Blazers 95 (at Portland)
    ATS result: Los Angeles -8.5 and UNDER 210.5
    Game 2: Wednesday at 10:30pm eastern in Los Angeles

    What you need to know: The second-largest Game 1 victory in Clippers playoff history featured Los Angeles point guard Chris Paul’s 21st career postseason game with at least 20 points (28) and 10 assists (11). Damian Lillard and the Blazers proved no match in Game 1 as Portland was outscored in all four quarters and pummeled in the second half by a margin of 65-53.

    Perhaps what’s most terrifying for the Blazers is that Los Angeles power forward Blake Griffin (19 points, 12 rebounds, 6 assists in 31 minutes) appears to be back in form after returning to action just two weeks ago following a 45-game absence due to both hand and quadriceps injuries. Take note that the Clippers have now won four straight games against the Trail Blazers dating back to the regular season.

    Trend to consider: The Trail Blazers are 2-13 all-time in a best-of-7 playoff series when falling behind 1-0. However, the Clippers have lost three of their last four playoff series after winning Game 1.


    Basketball Crusher

    Indiana Pacers +7 over Toronto Raptors
    (System Record: 78-4, won last 3 games)
    Overall Record: 78-88-3

    Houston Rockets +13 over Golden State Warriors



    100* Mavs +13.5


    Monday’s Playoff Essentials
    By Tony Mejia

    Indiana at Toronto, 7:05 PM ET – NBA TV

    2015-16 Meetings

    Oct 28, 2015 – Indiana 99 at Toronto 106 (Raptors -5.5, Over 200)

    Dec 14, 2015 – Toronto 90 at Indiana 106 (Pacers -4.5, Under 200)

    Mar 17, 2016 – Toronto 101 at Indiana 94 – OT (Raptors +1.5, Under 203.5)

    Apr 8, 2016 – Indiana 98 at Toronto 111 (Raptors +5.5, Over 195)

    Apr 16, 2016 – Indiana 100 at Toronto 90 (Pacers +7, Under 195)

    The Pacers (46-37 SU, 43-40 ATS) opened action north of the border wanting to put some doubts in the Raptors (56-27 SU, 45-38 ATS) given their recent playoff history. Consider that mission accomplished, as Indiana walked out of Air Canada Centre with a 100-90 Game 1 win that extended Toronto’s playoff losing streak to seven games. Despite wrapping up its third consecutive Atlantic Division title with a franchise-record 56 victories, the Raptors face a must-win situation considering that they’ve already surrendered homecourt advantage and will play the next two in Indianapolis beginning Thursday.

    Failing to win here would make life tough on head coach Dwane Casey, who is just 3-6 since joining the Raps after serving as a top assistant on Rick Carlisle’s staff for 2010-11 NBA Champion Dallas. Casey is the franchise’s all-time winningest coach, but there’s disappointment that his reputation as a great defensive mind has been unable to produce results when it matters most. The Wizards averaged 116 points over the last three contests of the 2015 playoffs in closing out Toronto, while the Pacers reached 100 on Saturday, scoring 30 in the fourth quarter and connecting on 11 3-pointers.

    Paul George finished with 33 points and team-highs with six assists and four steals, so Casey is going to have to come up with answers to stop him from getting into a similar rhythm in Game 2. Monta Ellis came through with 15 points and five assists, while George Hill scored 10 and helped handle pressure and keep the ball movement. Off the bench, Solomon Hill and rookie Myles Turner, Indiana’s most recent first-round picks, combined for 23 points, seven rebounds and five blocks.

    DeMar DeRozan (23.5 points per game) and Kyle Lowry (21.2 ppg), combined to shoot 8-for-32 (25 percent) in Game 1, which included going 1-for-10 from beyond the arc. Toronto shot 4-for-19 from 3-point range. No matter what Casey devises on the defensive end, the Raptors don’t have a prayer if their All-Star backcourt is going to perform as poorly as they did Saturday. Casey commented that it was the most tentative he’d seen his team play on the offensive end this entire season. The Raptors did win the rebounding battle by a 52-38 count, getting a franchise playoff-record 19 from Jonas Valanciunas, who kept possessions alive with 11 offensive boards.

    The Raptors won three of four meetings from the Pacers this season, including both in Toronto, but those results are ancient history entering Monday. The Raptors are now 11-12 ATS record as a home favorite of nine points or less, but had won seven consecutive games (5-2 ATS) where they were favored prior to the Game 1 upset. Indiana is now an impressive 7-1 ATS mark this season as an underdog of six points or more. Indiana snapped a five-game losing streak in Toronto that dated back to March 1, 2013. The ‘under’ has prevailed in the last three Pacers games and three of the last four involving the Raptors.

    Dallas at Oklahoma City, 8:05 p.m. ET – TNT

    2015-16 Meetings

    Nov 22, 2015 – Dallas 114 at Oklahoma City 117 (Mavs +3.5, Over 208.5)

    Jan 13, 2016 – Dallas 89 at Oklahoma City 108 (Thunder -12.5, Under 207)

    Jan 22, 2016 – Oklahoma City 109 at Dallas 106 (Mavs +6.5, Over 208)

    Feb 24, 2016 – Oklahoma City 116 at Dallas 103 (Thunder -5.5, Over 215)

    Apr 16, 2016 – Dallas 70 at Oklahoma City 108 (Thunder -12, Under 206)

    While the Mavericks (42-41 SU, 44-38-1 ATS) knew they were in for a tough time against a full-strength Thunder squad on the road, Saturday’s 108-70 result provided a glaring reminder of just how tough the sledding is for the short-handed visitors. Oklahoma City led wire-to-wire, scoring the first nine points en route to winning the first three quarters by a 93-51 count. OKC took its foot off the gas in the fourth quarter, resting regulars, but dominated at both ends of the floor over the first 36 minutes. In all, the 38-point win was the largest since the team moved to Oklahoma from Seattle and the 33 points surrendered at halftime set a new franchise defensive record.

    Dallas shot a franchise playoff record-worst 29.8 percent from the field in the loss and didn’t have one of its primary catalysts, guard J.J. Barea, available for the second half due to a groin injury that is expected to keep him out of this one. He shot just 1-for-6, scoring 2 points in 16 minutes after often leading the team in scoring as one of the driving forces for the team’s playoff push down the stretch.

    One of the few advantages Dallas figured to have in this series was with veteran Rick Carlisle pushing buttons against playoff newbie Billy Donovan, but without a healthy team, his hands appear tied. Deron Williams, who has also been nursing a number of ailments over the past few weeks, shot 1-for-9. He’s considered doubtful here. Dirk Nowitzki (7-for-15), Justin Anderson (2-for-5) and JaVale McGee (1-for-1) were the only Mavs to shoot even 40 percent from the field. The rest of the team went a combined 15-for-63 (23.8 pct). Besides Barea, David Lee (foot) missed Game 1 and is considered a long shot to participate on Monday. Key forward Chandler Parsons, a versatile starter, was lost to a season-ending knee injury in mid-March.

    OKC won the rebounding battle 56-33 and blocked six shots while Dallas swatted none, controlling every aspect of the contest. Bigs Serge Ibaka, Enes Kanter and Steven Adams combined to shoot 16-for-22, feeding off the attention the Mavs had to pay Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook, who combined for 47 points, 10 rebounds and 16 assists despite neither playing 30 minutes.

    Oklahoma City (56-27 SU, 38-44-1 ATS) is now 5-0 against the Mavericks this season and is 33-9 at home (21-20-1 ATS). The Thunder have gone 19-2 as a double-digit home favorite this season and are now 11-10 ATS. Dallas has been a road underdog 33 times, going 17-15-1 ATS with 11 outright victories, but they’re now 2-5 against the number in the same double-digit road underdog role that awaits it tonight. The ‘under’ is now 44-39 overall for the Thunder, and has prevailed in 26 of their 42 home contests. The ‘under’ has cashed in 8 of the Mavs’ last 10 games.

    Houston at Golden State, 10:35 PM EST – TNT

    2015-16 Meetings

    Oct 30, 2015 – Golden State 112 at Houston 92 (Warriors -1, Under 216.5)

    Dec 31, 2015 – Golden State 114 at Houston 110 (Warriors +3.5, Over 211)

    Feb 9, 2016 – Houston 110 at Golden State 123 (Rockets +13.5, Over 229)

    Apr 16, 2016 – Houston 78 at Golden State 104 (Warriors -13, Under 224.5)

    All eyes will be on the right ankle of soon-to-be back-to-back MVP Stephen Curry, who is officially listed as questionable after tweaking it in the second quarter while trying to get back on defense. He had his ankle re-taped at halftime but played less than three second-half minutes due to discomfort and then sat the rest of the way since the game was out of hand. While Curry said post-game that he expects to play, monitor his availability throughout the day to see if he’s undergoing his normal pre-game routines. Obviously, if developments arise that lead to him missing this Game 2, the point spread should be affected by at least 3-to-4 points.

    Curry scored 24 points in less than 20 minutes of action on Saturday afternoon, getting his team off to a hot start by knocking down 5-of-7 from 3-point range. The rest of the Warriors were just 5-for-18 from beyond the arc, dominating instead by locking down defensively in holding Houston to just 35.7 percent shooting. Curry made just one 3-pointer less than the entire Rockets team despite taking 15 fewer attempts.

    The Rockets committed 24 turnovers in a brutal performance. James Harden was the primary culprit with six and was a team-worst -27 when out on the floor. Dwight Howard turned it over five times, shot 4-for-11 from the free-throw line and was unable to get much done in the post against Andrew Bogut, Festus Ezeli and the undersized Draymond Green. If Houston can’t get much done in the paint, they’re at the mercy of Golden State’s pace and aren’t likely to get the open looks necessary to hang with the NBA’s most efficient offensive team. The Rockets shot 6-for-22 from 3-point range as a group, while Harden missed 12 of his 19 attempts and failed to get to the free-throw line even once.

    Golden State (74-9 SU, 46-35-2 ATS) eliminated Houston in last year’s Western Conference finals, so they came into this postseason with plenty of respect for a team that has fallen on hard times. Houston (41-42 SU, 37-46 ATS) finally reached the playoffs on the final night of the regular season after Utah left the door open due to its own collapse, but any thought that it might be able to capitalize on its late momentum and catch the Warriors basking in their newly minted place in NBA regular-season history went out the window during a 33-15 first quarter in which the champs never trailed.

    Harden has a 37-point game against Golden State this season but has largely struggled, now shooting just 38 percent from the field against the Warriors through the three games he’s participated in. After coming in second to Curry in this year’s league scoring race, the Rockets star had to come into this series expecting that his team would only go as far as he’d be able to take them by matching Curry shot for shot. The inability to even get to the free-throw line and his struggles against the Dubs’ long wing defenders limited his effectiveness in the series opener, so we’ll see how he’s able to adjust.

    Golden State is 2-1 (1-2 ATS) without Curry in the lineup this season, which includes a 114-110 win over Houston when he sat on Dec. 31. The Warriors are now 23-21 ATS as a double-digit favorite. In last year’s postseason, The Rockets are now 1-2 ATS and 0-3 straight up as a double-digit underdog, losing games by an average margin of 19 points.



    ‘Blue Chip Total’
    Pick: @ Over 218.5 -105. (Golden State)
    Evaluation:Apr 18 – 10:30 PM
    Star Rating: 10.0*


    DR. BOB

    2* Toronto Raptors -7
    (Game 2)


    NBA Basketball Betting Trends – Mon – April, 18

    Indiana at Toronto, 3:00 ET
    Indiana: 21-10 ATS after playing a game as an underdog
    Toronto: 10-24 ATS revenging a straight up loss vs opponent as a favorite

    Dallas at Oklahoma City, 3:00 ET
    Dallas: 50-27 ATS off a road blowout loss of 20 points or more
    Oklahoma City: 29-40 ATS after playing a game as favorite

    Houston at Golden State, 3:00 ET
    Houston: 48-72 ATS on road revenging a loss vs opponent of 10 points or more
    Golden State: 14-5 ATS against Southwest division opponents



    ‘NBA playoffs on Monday night!!!
    #522 Golden State Warriors -12.5 (10:35 edt) TNT
    You watched game 1. The Rockets are so over-matched in this series it is shocking. There just does not appear to be any way they can hang with the Warriors here – this line looks big but no way it will be close. Take Golden State to get this win and cover.


    Greg Smith

    Houston Rockets +13.5



    ‘Guaranteed Pick’
    Game: Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder
    Apr 18 2016 8:00PM
    Prediction: Dallas Mavericks

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