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Thread: Cnotes 2017 NBA Best Bets-Trends-News Thru Playoffs !

  1. #1576  
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    We are now 30 games into the 2018 NBA Playoffs. Here are the current betting stats:


    Home Teams:
    21-9 Straight Up
    18-11-1 ATS


    Favorites:
    22-8 Straight Up
    18-11-1 ATS


    Over-Under:
    16-14
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  2. #1577  
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    Monday's Playoff Essentials
    April 23, 2018



    Western Conference First Round - Game 4 - Rockets lead 2-1
    Houston (-5.5/218) at Minnesota, TNT, 8:05 p.m. ET

    After failing to even put up a field goal attempt for the final 30 minutes of a 20-point Game 2 loss in Houston, Karl-Anthony Towns was under the microscope on Saturday night as Minneapolis’ Target Center hosted its first playoff game in 14 years.


    The All-Star forward ended up leading the Timberwolves in rebounds (16) and blocked shots (2) while getting to the free-throw line a team-best seven times in contributing to an impressive 121-105 upset of the top-seeded Rockets. That he wasn’t the primary reason his team won, cashing as a 6-point underdog and +210 money-line winner, was an even better sign.


    Jimmy Butler led the way with 28 points in 41 minutes while providing his typically stifling defense, while point guards Jeff Teague and Derrick Rose combined for another 40 points as catalysts who helped put the game away with electric play in the second half.


    For at least one night, head coach Tom Thibodeau found the right combination, one rooted in his past with the Bulls. Butler and Rose, combined with the young phenoms he inherited and Teague, the point guard he recruited to be his Rose on this team, badly outplayed a Rockets team that looked stuck in the mud, especially by their standards.


    Is it possible to replicate that roughly 48 hours later? Well, how do you feel about relying on Rose again?


    He hasn’t scored in double-digits in consecutive games since the first week in November, back when he was starting to find a rhythm next to LeBron James with a Cavs squad that could use him right about now. It’s obvious he’s a major part of Thibodeau’s game plan in this series and looks spry, shooting just under 50 percent from the field while averaging 14 points over the first three games, which includes a 3-for-5 showing from beyond the arc.


    Teague played his best game in weeks in shooting 9-for-14 on Saturday night, finishing with eight assists and most important, only one turnover. The fact he’d accumulated nine through the first two games was one overlooked reason why the Timberwolves looked so helpless on the road, but there’s no denying he looked like a different player in Game 3.


    With Teague and Rose looking to compete in their matchup against Chris Paul and Butler looking to keep Harden from finding his flow, the Timberwolves do have players physically capable of making a dent in place. They can get the job done. It remains to be seen whether they will.


    Chris David of VegasInsider.com was impressed with Minnesota’s performance on Saturday but is hesitant to back them again in Game 4.


    “I wasn’t surprised the T-Wolves put up a crooked number in Game 3 but how they did it was a tad startling as they hit 15 bombs from distance, which was their second-best performance from 3-point land this season,” David explained. “I still believe Minnesota goes as Towns goes and while he was better on the glass Saturday, he’s not playing to his All-Star status. The Timberwolves are averaging 106 PPG after scoring 120 or more this season and an expected drop-off from their offense is expected in Game 4.”


    As David pointed out, Towns still hasn’t looked like his normal self with Clint Capela, P.J. Tucker and Nene all taking turns keeping him from getting going. If he’s finally able to find a rhythm, Minnesota would really have an opportunity to even this series up.


    Houston blocked just three shots in Game 3 after combining for 17 in the first two games, so the Timberwolves were certainly able to make some waves in creating space and executing better. VI’s David is of the opinion that the West’s top seed has proven resilient when it has come across adversity.


    “Another angle that could have you fading Minnesota is Houston’s ability to rebound. Since the New Year, the Rockets have gone 7-1 off a loss and they’ve held opponents to 100.1 PPG. A lot of bettors fall into the trap that Houston isn’t a great defensive team but they’re the most improved team this season in scoring,” David said. “The total seems a tad inflated and the value for me is with Minnesota’s Team Total Under (106 ˝) on Monday.”


    Butler is expected to play and was effective despite falling to the floor with a scary-looking injury in the first half on Saturday. He’s slowed down Harden, who has shot just 11-for-39 from the field since opening the series with a 44-point explosion. Harden looks like he’s missing a step and has shot 4-for-18 from 3-point range over the past two games.


    He and Paul are two of the NBA’s top free-throw shooters, which is important since a 5.5-point spread isn’t budging.


    Western Conference First Round - Game 4 - Jazz lead 2-1
    Oklahoma City at Utah (-5.5/209.5), TNT, 10:35 p.m. ET



    Utah’s Ricky Rubio and Donovan Mitchell have gotten the better of reigning MVP Russell Westbrook, which is why the No. 4 seed is trailing in the series and in an underdog role that puts it in danger of falling down 3-1.


    Rubio so clearly got the better of their matchup in Game 3 that the brash OKC guard guaranteed that wouldn’t happen again on Monday, vowing to shut him down.


    Game on.


    After landing Paul George and Carmelo Anthony to pair with Westbrook, the expectation that this team would compete for a championship has made them look to be underachievers all season since we’ve largely been waiting on things to click. Losing top perimeter defender Andre Roberson was a major blow, but the Thunder are about to become a major disappointment if they fail to get out of the first round against a young Jazz team being led by a rookie.


    Mitchell has been special all season but has really turned it up down the stretch, dominating since the All-Star break to help Utah nearly catch Portland for the Northwest Division title, earning the No. 5 seed. He averaged 23.0 points in March, 22.2 to close the regular season this month.


    In this series, he’s averaged 25.7 points and 9.0 rebounds despite coming in with a foot contusion that had his availability for Game 1 in question. Rubio is shooting under 40 percent but averaging 20 points, 8.3 rebounds, 8 assists and 2.3 steals.


    Westbrook is shooting 36 percent, averaging a triple-double (20.7 points, 11.0 rebounds, 10.0 assists) but leaving a lot of plays out there due to a lack of efficiency due to a shooting stroke that has failed him. He’s 3-for-11 from 3-point range in the series, so it’s become a victory for the Jazz defense when they get him to settle for one. Westbrook has been mired in a horrific shooting slump for weeks now, so there’s no question the strategy will remain to keep him from attacking the rim.


    Rudy Gobert’s presence in the paint has also been a huge factor over the last two games, especially since Derrick Favors has answered the bell in the series. Steven Adams’ impact has been limited as a result, and the OKC center failed to come up with an offensive board in Game 3, managing just two defensive rebounds in 26 minutes. Patrick Patterson came in to offer a small-ball look and drained two 3-pointers, but the Thunder don’t appear to have many consistent answers against Utah’s edge in size.


    Another major issue for the Thunder entering this game has been their inability to respond away from home in the postseason. A loss in tonight’s Game 4 would be their eighth consecutive road playoff loss, which would set a new mark for futility in franchise history, matching something done by the SuperSonics three decades ago.


    Westbrook has proven ineffective in calling his own number in the fourth quarter or doing his job as the point guard to ensure at least one of his teammates finds a rhythm. He, George and Anthony are a combined 3-for-21 from the field in the fourth quarter of both losses suffered in the series, which will obviously have to change to get out of Salt Lake City with a split.


    The Thunder did win their last three regular-season road games at New Orleans, Houston and Miami, turning it on to ensure their postseason spot. They’re still capable of getting back in this series and have have settled on a bench rotation that isn’t a liability despite being short-handed. Whether they can scratch back into this series depends on whether Westbrook can come through on his word.


    He’s got to be better than he’s shown. OKC opened as a 5.5-point underdog and remains there across the board. An upset will fetch +210 on the money line, while the total has dipped slightly in some spots, from 210.5 to 209.5, consistent with where it has resided throughout the series.
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  3. #1578  
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    Big Easy Sweep
    April 23, 2018



    How The Pelicans Swept The Blazers


    Not only do the Pelicans own the only series sweep of the first round, they have Alvin Gentry as a secret weapon against the Golden State Warriors. Man, I don’t care if you want to sit around and poke holes in how they did it. They just undressed the Blazers, paraded them around the town square and then burned the whole place down just for fun. Absolutely incredible stuff.


    You could’ve easily made the argument that the Portland Trail Blazers were the third best team in the league, not just the Western Conference. Dame was going animalistic to end the year, and they had also worked up a 13-0 SU and ATS streak through late February in to March. There was a lot to believe in when it came to Portland. I for one touted their awesomeness firsthand.


    But now it’s hard not to take all of that adoration I had for the Blazers and dump it squarely in to the fuel canister that powers the Pelicans bandwagon. It’s just such a damn fun team to cheer for.


    What they did was bump up their average scoring by a few ticks, and knock down their defensive scoring by a few notches. That doesn’t seem significant but it’s a huge swing in terms of both covering the spread and being dominant. Their point differential of +9.5 during the sweep of Portland is marked improvement on the +1.3 point differential they had in the regular season.


    That also saw their offense go from 111.7 points per game to 114.5, and their bottom dwelling defensive points against average improve from 110.4 to 105.5. Crazy what a difference those tiny adjustments to an average makes.


    Listen, I wouldn’t say that they’re close to being world championship material if they didn’t just beat the living crap out of Portland as a sixth seed. It was one thing for Jrue Holiday to have a great Game 1. To keep getting better and rock the Blazers for 41 points in Game 4 is…like, I still can’t believe it happened.


    The downside is that they’re truly a five man rotation. They got basically nothing out of the trio of Ian Clark, Darius Miller and Solomon Hill who are their only real reserves. I totally forgot that Emeka Okafor was on the bench still getting them cheques.


    I’m a true sucker for bets like this, but this is what’s sport is about – the unkown. The Out of Nowhere Teams. This is great, and the fact that Gentry is steering the ship makes you feel like they can figure out a way to fully recover and rest while preparing to face his former team. I love everything about it even though they (probably) won’t get past the Warriors.


    But if you think I’m not betting on the Pelicans in Game 1, you’re nuts. This matchup was built for idiots like me and I can’t resist no matter what my spreadsheets are telling me. Not bad for a team that +20000 to win the NBA Championship at the start of the season and almost didn’t even make the playoffs.
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  4. #1579  
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    MONDAY, APRIL 23
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS



    HOU at MIN 08:00 PM
    MIN +6.0
    O 217.0



    OKC at UTA 10:30 PM
    OKC +4.5
    U 209.5
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    Harden, Rockets soar past Wolves 119-100 with 50-point 3rd
    April 23, 2018



    MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Though James Harden and most of the Houston Rockets were misfiring throughout the first half, their confidence never wavered.


    In the third quarter, those sharpshooters sure came to life.


    Harden had 22 of the team's near-record 50 points in the third, launching the Rockets past the Minnesota Timberwolves 119-100 on Monday night to take a 3-1 lead in their first-round playoff series.


    ''We had the mentality to be aggressive, make or missed shots,'' said Harden, who went 7 for 10 in the third quarter and finished with 36 points. ''That's what we do. We shoot the basketball, and eventually they'll start falling.''


    Chris Paul scored 15 of his 25 points in the near-record third for the Rockets, who still had a 50-49 halftime edge despite their rough start. With those torrid 12 minutes, they built a 31-point lead and were up 104-69 about a minute into the fourth. The only team in the history of the NBA playoffs with more points in one quarter was the Los Angeles Lakers, who scored 51 points in the fourth on March 31, 1962, in a loss to the Detroit Pistons.


    ''It was a good time to do it. We've been talking about it for two years, putting the 50-piece up,'' Rockets coach Mike D'Antoni said. ''And that starts with the intensity and the right spirit and everything.''


    Clint Capela added 14 points and 17 rebounds, Eric Gordon finally got going with 18 points off the bench and the Rockets left the Wolves wondering what hit them after 3 1/2 games of decent defense against one of the league's most dangerous offensive teams. The Rockets scored on 11 straight possessions after an opening stop by the Wolves, and Harden alone scored 17 of their first 20 points.


    ''I've got to watch it again,'' Paul said. ''We just, I don't know, got hot.''


    Wolves star Jimmy Butler, on the other hand, began forcing off-balance shots. Teague and Paul, the two former Wake Forest point guards, engaged in some intense trash talk. Paul baited Teague into a pushing foul for a pair of add-to-the-pile free throws. Gordon tacked on another 3-pointer at the buzzer for the 100-69 lead.


    ''I think we came out a little flatter than last game. We didn't come out right away with that straight grit in the third quarter,'' said Karl-Anthony Towns, who had 22 points and 15 rebounds for the Timberwolves.


    Minnesota missed 14 of 21 shots, producing several panicked possessions over the third. Perhaps that's because they were so rattled by how suddenly and quickly the Rockets were scoring.


    ''We came out lackadaisical on both ends of the floor,'' Butler said. ''We didn't take anything away from them. They got whatever shot that they wanted.''


    The Timberwolves rebounded from their two defeats on the road by matching the Rockets with 15 makes from 3-point range in Game 3. They wisely took another tack for Game 4, attacking the basket in the first half with relentless abandon and plenty of success.


    Derrick Rose, who finished with 17 points and six rebounds, was the catalyst off the bench with multiple muscle-his-way-in layups on both fast breaks and in the half court. Starting point guard Jeff Teague, meanwhile, had only two points on 1-for-7 shooting while fighting through dislocated right pinky finger.


    The Wolves were in front by as much a 36-29, but with as poorly as the Rockets were shooting they badly needed a larger lead than that. They went 21 for 44 from the field (47.7 percent) in the first half, but with all the layups and putbacks in the mix they easily could have made more.


    Trevor Ariza made the first three 3-pointers attempted by the Rockets, who then missed on 13 of their next 14 tries from behind the arc. Harden didn't make a basket until 5:57 remained in the second quarter, when his 10-foot floater fell in to cut Minnesota's lead to 39-37. He swished one of his signature step-back 3-pointers on the next possession, and Houston was right back in front to sow the seeds for the staggering third quarter.


    ''Once we get going, it's hard to stop us,'' Capela said.


    FULL CIRCLE


    The last time the Timberwolves were in the first round of the playoffs in 2004, their opponent was Denver and Nene was a 21-year-old starter for the Nuggets. This is his 16th season in the NBA, the second with the Rockets.


    TIP-INS


    Rockets: Ariza finished with 15 points, after missing his last eight 3-pointers. ... Harden is averaging 30.3 points in the series. He's 38 for 91 from the floor (41.8 percent). ... Capela is leading the league in the playoffs in rebounding, averaging 14 per game.


    Timberwolves: Backup point guard Tyus Jones was available on an emergency-only basis because of a sore right knee. Rose played 33 minutes. ... Butler (19 points) and Andrew Wiggins (14 points) combined to shoot 12 for 31 from the floor.


    UP NEXT


    The series shifts back south to Houston for Game 5 on Wednesday night.
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  6. #1581  
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    AP Source: Pelicans pick up Gentry's option for next season
    April 23, 2018



    NEW ORLEANS (AP) A person familiar with the situation says Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry's contract option for next season has been exercised by the club.


    The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the club has not announced the move. The person says Gentry was informed of the decision before the Pelicans swept their first-round playoff series against third-seeded Portland.


    ESPN first reported the club's move.


    Gentry is in his third season with the Pelicans and has gone 116-134, including four victories in this season's playoffs.


    New Orleans missed the playoffs during Gentry's first two seasons, during which the team was hampered by a combination of key injuries or other matters that caused extended absences of key personnel.
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  7. #1582  
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    JAZZ 113 THUNDER 96




    ******************


    SCHEDULE FOR TUESDAY APRIL 24, 2018
    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    7:00 PM Milwaukee Bucks Boston Celtics TD Garden
    8:00 PM Miami Heat Philadelphia 76ers Wells Fargo Center
    10:30 PM San Antonio Spurs Golden State Warriors ORACLE Arena


    SCHEDULE FOR WEDNESDAY APRIL 25, 2018
    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    7:00 PM Indiana Pacers Cleveland Cavaliers Quicken Loans Arena
    7:00 PM Washington Wizards Toronto Raptors Air Canada Centre
    9:30 PM Minnesota Timberwolves Houston Rockets Toyota Center
    9:30 PM Utah Jazz Oklahoma City Thunder Chesapeake Energy Arena




    *********************


    NBA PLAYOFF RECORD


    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD


    04/23/2018 2-2-0 50.00% -1.00
    04/22/2018 1-7-0 12.50% -33.50
    04/21/2018 5-3-0 62.50% +8.50
    04/20/2018 3-3-0 50.00% -1.50
    04/19/2018 1-5-0 16.67% -22.50
    04/18/2018 2-4-0 33.33% -12.00
    04/17/2018 4-2-0 66.67% +900
    04/16/2018 1-3-0 25.00% -11.50
    04/15/2018 5-3-0 62.50% +8.50
    04/14/2018 1-6-1 14.29% -28.00


    TOTALS.........25-38-1........39.68%.....-84.00
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  8. #1583  
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    Tuesday’s 6-pack


    Attendance at spring football games around the country:


    86,818: Nebraska


    82,184: Georgia


    74,732: Alabama


    71,000: Penn State


    65,098: Tennessee


    60,934: Florida State


    Quote of the Day
    “It was one of those kind of deals that seems small at the time, but every now and then, you hit big on one of them.”
    St Louis Cardinals’ GM Michael Girsch, on trading for 1B Jose Martinez

    Tuesday’s quiz

    What was the nickname of the NHL team that used to play in Quebec City?


    Monday’s quiz
    Oakland is the only current major league baseball team that shares its stadium with an NFL team.


    Sunday’s quiz
    Before last night, Dallas Braden was last Oakland A’s pitcher to throw a no-hitter, in 2010.




    **************************


    Tuesday’s List of 13: Nobody asked me, but……


    13) I’m tired of mock drafts, people guessing about what the Browns/Giants are thinking, just want to get to Thursday night and watch the real draft.


    The guys who get drafted have to be relieved once they find out where they’ll be playing. Getting interviewed by teams and the media for two consecutive months has to be tiresome.


    12) According to Mark Dalton, Senior VP of Media Relations for the Arizona Cardinals, a review of 37 prominent mock drafts from 2017 reveals the average number of first round “hits” (right player to right team) was 4.2/32. Four out of 32. No bueno.


    11) Sounds like Browns’ GM John Dorsey isn’t going to tell his coach who the Browns will draft until Wednesday night. Nothing like getting your working relationship off to a fast start.


    Next to “dysfunctional” in the dictionary, there must be a picture of a Browns’ helmet.


    10) Phillies’ LF Rhys Hoskins had 67 RBI in his first 70 major league games.


    9) In 2008, there were 32,884 strikeouts in major league baseball; last year, there were 40,104 strikeouts. Thats a 22% increase in eight years.


    Is defense less important now because there are fewer balls put in play?


    8) It wasn’t less important in Denver Sunday; Cubs’ CF Albert Almora made two great catches in the first two innings against the Rockies. You need fast outfielders to play at Coors Field, which has a bigger outfield than most places; Almora laid full out running to left-center twice; two great plays.


    7) Movie trivia: The 1998 poker movie Rounders is one my favorite movies. In the movie, Matt Damon’s character watches Johnny Chan play poker on TV at the World Series of Poker, and later tells a story of how he beat Chan in one hand playing in Atlantic City.


    Turns out when the movie was originally written, Phil Hellmuth was supposed to be in the movie, but someone convinced the movie’s writers that having Chan in the movie instead of Hellmuth would be better casting, so the change was made.


    6) This from the website of former NFL executive Phil Savage: Most teams have 100-150 names on their “draftable” board. Some teams allow scouts are allowed to put red stars or black dots next to a prospect’s name, the star to denote a favorite prospect- the dot would have a negative connotation about that player.


    5) Teams do last-day, last-minute prep to make sure players to be picked are alive and well.


    Savage tells a story of how one time in the Canadian Football League, a team drafted a player who literally died several hours before the draft. Seriously.


    4) When baseball teams have giveaway promotions, they generally have the best giveaways on days when the worst teams are in town, so more people will attend those games.


    Sounds like the people who run the Bronx Bombers don’t think too much of my Oakland A’s, seeing as how the A’s are in town for Bat Day on May 12.


    3) You can actually wager on the NFL Draft: over/under on number of Alabama players in the first round Thursday is 3.5, with over -$130, under +$110.


    2) I’ve said this several teams in this space over the years, so one more time won’t hurt: the NCAA should allow kids who leave early for the NBA but don’t get drafted to keep their college eligibility. What would it hurt? Would increase the talent level in the college game.


    1) Could you imagine what it would be like if the NFL did their draft like the NHL, with the league’s executives all in one arena for one night?
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    Preview: Heat (44-38) at 76ers (52-30)
    Date: April 24, 2018 8:00 PM EDT


    Even as the Philadelphia 76ers exceeded expectations this season, those who have indeed trusted the process still could not have imagined the team's quick ascension to the NBA's elite.


    Joel Embiid, for one, isn't about to pump the brakes on what has been a whirlwind ride that has the 76ers heading into their Game 5 home matchup on Tuesday sporting a 3-1 lead over the visiting Miami Heat.


    "A lot of people say we have a bright future," said Embiid, whose 76ers host the Heat at 8 p.m. Tuesday at Wells Fargo Center. "But I think our time is now. We have a special team and I feel like now we have a pretty good chance to go forward."


    Speaking of the now: With their backs against the wall, the Heat are not flailing their arms wildly, looking for any target.


    They are pointedly focused on the present: Game 5 and the 76ers.


    "It's not necessarily us against the world," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "It's us against the Philadelphia 76ers. We have to find a way to finish games. They've really nailed us in the fourth quarters of all four games, except the one we were able to pull away. We just have to do better. Through three quarters, we've been up. It's going to require a full 48-minute game of our absolute best effort."


    Miami has been outscored by Philadelphia by an astounding 42 points in just the fourth quarters through four games. Even in the Heat's 113-103 Game 2 win at Philadelphia, the 76ers still outscored Miami 28-27 in the fourth quarter.


    In a roundabout way, that Game 2 loss -- which snapped Philadelphia's 17-game winning streak -- actually gave 76ers coach Brett Brown some much-needed locker room material heading into the game.


    "Everybody's trying to break somebody's spirit," Brown said Monday. "It's always the same thing. It happens on the other side of it. And I know (Spoelstra), who is a great coach, would be in his locker room saying, 'All we got to do is win a game and come home.'


    "They're going to live in a really isolated, sort of roomed-in world of, 'Let's just win a game. We won a game last time we were here, and just come home and figure it out.' You can see it."


    Knowing his team can close out a hungry opponent on Tuesday, Brown isn't changing his message too much.


    "My intention is not to speak anything into existence," Brown said. "It's all about trying help the team win. Like, we want to get better. We're gonna. We're going to go into Tuesday night and we're going to get better. I believe that if we think like that, act like that, coach like that, then the habit becomes, I hope, we're going to win."


    J.J. Redick, no stranger to heated playoff series, echoed his coach's thoughts on Monday.


    In Game 4, Redick led the 76ers with 24 points en route to a 106-102 win in a game that Philadelphia trailed by four after three quarters.


    "You're feeling each other out and then later on in the series you have to deliver a crushing blow," Redick said. "You have to finish that. A team like Miami, their culture, their organization, their group of guys, they have fighters. They have warriors on their team. Every game in this series has been tough and there's no indication that Game 5 will be different. It's going to be a tough game."
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    Preview: Bucks (44-38) at Celtics (55-27)
    Date: April 24, 2018 7:00 PM EDT


    BOSTON -- The Milwaukee Bucks continue to battle history and the Celtics as they visit TD Garden for Game 5 of their opening-round playoff series with Boston on Tuesday night.


    Despite winning both games in Milwaukee, the Bucks, looking for their first series victory since 2000, have never won a series after trailing 0-2, going 0-17 in such situations.


    The Celtics, on the other hand, have never lost a series they led 2-0, winning all 35 times going into their current situations.


    In league history, teams are 19-274 when trailing series 0-2, including the Portland Trail Blazers going out in four straight against the New Orleans Pelicans in the current first round.


    But the Bucks, after a lineup change caused by the back injury to John Henson, guaranteed there will be another game at Bradley Center before the move to their new building next season.


    They win Game 4 when Giannis Antetokounmpo tipped home the winning basket with 5.1 seconds left -- after the Bucks squandered a 20-point lead with what amounted to their season on the line.


    "At the end of the day in the playoffs, we know we have the best player on the floor," Malcolm Brogdon, whose running hook shot was followed by Antetokounmpo, said after the win. "So we rely on him and he comes through."


    Antetokounmpo said, "It means a lot," gutting out a critical victory that evened the series at two wins apiece. "I just want to say good job to everybody because everybody played hard. Whoever stepped on the floor played hard, played together. The most important thing is we trust one another."


    But now, what comes down to a best-of-three series shifts to Boston, where the Celtics have gone 29-14, including playoffs, at home, this season. The Bucks are 19-24 on the road, but they opened the season with a win at TD Garden.


    Antetokounmpo left a Milwaukee restaurant after a delay in seating after Game 4 but can now turn his attention to the Celtics, who are without Kyrie Irving, Gordon Hayward and Daniel Theis. Marcus Smart, who has been out, has been upgraded to questionable for Tuesday's game.


    Jaylen Brown scored a career-high 34 points, including 5 of 8 from 3-point range, in Boston's Game 4 loss.


    "He's the only reason we were in the game in the first," Boston coach Brad Stevens said. "And then in the second, he just continued and did a great job. Played with tremendous spirit, played with tremendous toughness and made shots. Kept us in it."


    "Jaylen was great," teammate Al Horford said. "His energy on defense really translated to the offensive end. Hit some very tough shots and had a lot of timely plays. That's encouraging to see."


    The Celtics called an isolation play for Marcus Morris after the final timeout but the shot didn't go.


    "It's a shot that Mook makes 10 out of 10 times," Brown said. "It just didn't go in tonight. So, Game 5."


    Horford said, "We're battling. We're playing hard, but it's not good enough just to play hard. This is why the playoffs are so challenging. But I think it's good for our group. I think we're learning. We're looking forward to being able to go back home."


    Horford had 24 points and 12 rebounds in Boston's 113-107 overtime win in Game 1, and Brown scored 30 in a 120-106 victory in Game 2.


    Antetokounmpo had 35 points, 13 rebounds and seven assists in Game 1 and 30 points, nine rebounds and eight assists in Game 2. He is averaging 27.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists through four games.


    Brown leads the Celtics in scoring at 23.8 points per game.
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  11. #1586  
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    Preview: Spurs (47-35) at Warriors (58-24)
    Date: April 24, 2018 10:30 PM EDT


    OAKLAND, Calif. -- The San Antonio Spurs hope to take a second step on what would be an unprecedented journey in the NBA playoffs when they once again face elimination in Game 5 against the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday night.


    No team has ever won a series in which it trailed 3-0, but the Spurs were able to stay alive at home with a 103-90 win in Game 4 on Sunday.


    It was the first time in the Gregg Popovich era that the Spurs have as much as won one game after losing the first three of a series. They were swept in a similar situation last season by the Warriors in the Western Conference finals.


    For the third game in a row, the Spurs will be coached Tuesday by assistant Ettore Messina, with Popovich having left the team after the death of his wife Erin last week.


    The teams had different views as to what triggered the dramatic turnaround in Game 4. The Spurs had fallen behind at least 19 points in each of the first three games of the series but never trailed Sunday.


    The Spurs cited improved shooting as one big difference. After connecting on a combined 20 of 83 (24 percent) on 3-pointers in the first three games of the series, San Antonio bombed in 15 of 28 (54 percent) in Game 4.


    The result: A team that had been outscored 105-60 from beyond the arc for three games was able to turn the tables to the tune of 45-21 in the elimination game.


    It was a team effort. LaMarcus Aldridge, Pau Gasol, Dejounte Murray and Manu Ginobili, who had combined to make just three 3-pointers in the first three games, dropped in a total of 10 when it mattered most.


    "It was a do-or-die game," explained Aldridge, a predicament in which the Spurs also will find themselves in Game 5. "Make it happen or go home, and I think every guy played with that mentality, that focus, and we ended up getting it done."


    Meanwhile, the Warriors weren't even getting shots time and again early in the loss. They committed seven turnovers in the game's first 5 1/2 minutes, fell behind by as many as 10 points in the first quarter and never caught up.


    Warriors coach Steve Kerr didn't like seeing it live and enjoyed it even less when he got back to Oakland and watched it on tape.


    "Lack of focus to start the game was really the key," he noted. "More than energy, it was a sense of purpose. And I take a lot of the blame for that. I should know better as a coach of a team that's been up 3-0 plenty times -- you gotta know you're going into the lion's den ...


    "Looking back at the tape, I should have taken a timeout three minutes into the game and broken a clipboard. More than that, I should have had them prepared pregame for what was coming, and I didn't feel like I did a good job at that."


    The Warriors had similar early-game issues at home during the regular season. It helped produce a record as good on the road (29-12) as at home (29-12).


    Even with Sunday's loss, the Warriors have beaten the Spurs in 11 of their last 13 meetings, including both regular-season and playoff games.


    If the Warriors win Game 5, they would advance to face the New Orleans Pelicans in the Western Conference semifinals.
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  12. #1587  
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    Tuesday's NBA Playoffs Betting Preview and Odds


    The opening round of the 2018 NBA Playoffs continues Tuesday night with three Game 5s, featuring the 76ers and Warriors trying to close out their series' and the Bucks and Celtics all even at two games apiece.


    Milwaukee Bucks at Boston Celtics (-3, 204.5)


    Superstar forward Giannis Antetokounmpo looks to help the Milwaukee Bucks win their third straight postseason game when they visit the Boston Celtics in Tuesday's Game 5 of the Eastern Conference first-round series. The "Greek Freak" is enjoying his time in the spotlight and his reputation for being a clutch player took a rise when he tipped in the winning basket with 5.1 seconds left in Game 4 to give the Bucks a series-tying 104-102 victory.


    Seventh-seeded Milwaukee dropped two games in Boston to start the series before winning the past two at home and will ride its star player as far as possible. "At the end of the day in the playoffs, we know we have the best player on the floor," Bucks guard Malcolm Brogdon told reporters of Antetokounmpo. "So we rely on him, and he comes through." The second-seeded Celtics are without their top player in guard Kyrie Irving and are finding themselves in more of a tussle than they were hoping. "We're battling, we're playing hard, but it's not good enough just to play hard," veteran center Al Horford said after Game 4. "This is why the playoffs are so challenging. But I think it's good for our group. I think we're learning. We're looking forward to being able to go back home."


    TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBATV, FS Wisconsin (Milwaukee), NBCS Boston


    SERIES PRICE (PER PINNACLE):





    BETTING ACTION AND LINE MOVES: The Celtics opened as 3-point home favorites for Game 5 and as of Monday night that pointspread has not moved - this is despite 66 percent of consensus users picking the Celtics to cover. The total hit betting boards at 204 and has been bumped up slightly to 204.5.


    ABOUT THE BUCKS (46-40 SU, 35-46-5 ATS, 50-35-1 O/U): Backup forward Jabari Parker came up big in the back-to-back victories by averaging 16.5 points, six rebounds, two blocked shots and 1.5 steals after averaging one point and three rebounds with no blocks or steals in the first two games. His emergence was crucial as small forward Khris Middleton (25.5 points, 6.5 rebounds) had been the lone consistent compliment to Antetokounmpo, who is averaging 27.8 points, 8.5 rebounds and 6.5 assists. "We've been saying from the beginning that we need him," Middleton told reporters. "He is one of the best scorers in the league and one of the best players. For him to come off the bench for us is a huge boost. We just want him to be ready and stay locked in."


    ABOUT THE CELTICS (57-29 SU, 53-31-2 ATS, 47-38-1 O/U): Shooting guard Jaylen Brown continues to excel while picking up the scoring slack associated with Irving's absence and he had 34 points, eight rebounds and three steals in Game 4. It was the second 30-point effort of the series for Brown, who made five 3-pointers in two of the past three games while averaging a team-best 23.8 points in the series. Point guard Terry Rozier came back to earth by averaging 9.5 points on 5-of-19 shooting in the two losses in Milwaukee after averaging 23 points over the first two games when he badly outplayed Bucks veteran Eric Bledsoe.


    INJURY REPORT:


    Bucks - C J. Henson (Questionable, Back).


    Celtics - PG M. Smart (Questionable, Thumb), PG K. Irving (Out For Season, Knee), PF D. Theis (Out For Season, Knee), SF G. Hayward (Out For Season, Ankle).


    MATCHUP CHART:





    TRENDS:


    * Bucks are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 Conference Quarterfinals games.
    * Celtics are 7-1 ATS in their last 8 home games.
    * Over is 11-0 in Bucks' last 11 vs. NBA Atlantic.
    * Over is 10-1 in Celtics' last 11 overall.
    * Over is 10-1-1 in the last 12 meetings in Boston.








    Miami Heat at Philadelphia 76ers (-10, 211)


    The Philadelphia 76ers are winners of 19 of their last 20 games and are one victory away from advancing to the Eastern Conference semifinals. The 76ers will try to put the finishing touches on a first-round series win when they host the Miami Heat on Tuesday.


    Philadelphia shot 7-of-31 from 3-point range and committed 27 turnovers in Game 4 but used a 19-2 run in the fourth quarter to take the lead and hold on for a 106-102 victory, and the team plans to use Monday's practice day to iron out some of the rough patches. "We are just trying to do our job," 76ers coach Brett Brown told reporters. "We are going to come in, bunker down, and get better. We sure hope that equals a win." The Heat are looking to become the 12th team in NBA history to rally back from a 3-1 deficit in a best-of-seven series and are aware that the margin for error is slim. "We need to be smarter," Miami point guard Goran Dragic told reporters. "Our spacing needs to be better. When they blitz us, our other guys need to be available so when we pass it, we need to make the right reads for the open shot or penetration. Everybody needs to be on this train."


    TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, FS Sun (Miami), NBCS Philadelphia


    SERIES PRICE (PER PINNACLE):





    BETTING ACTION AND LINE MOVES: The Sixers opened as 10-point home favorites and as of Monday night that pointspread has not moved - this is despite 62 percent of consensus users picking the Heat to cover as 10-point dogs. The total hit betting boards at 211.5 and is down slightly to 211.


    ABOUT THE HEAT (45-41 SU, 41-39-6 ATS, 39-46-1 O/U): Miami was outscored 27-19 in the fourth quarter on Saturday and went 13-for-25 from the free-throw line in the loss. "We all feel that we're this close," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra told reporters. "That's what makes this game tough. They made bigger plays than us in the fourth quarter. We played really good basketball through most of the game, but we've had a tough time finishing games against Philadelphia and that's been the issue." Veteran shooting guard Dwyane Wade continues to provide a boost to the team off the bench and is averaging 18 points in the series after scoring a team-high 25 in Game 4.


    ABOUT THE 76ERS (55-31 SU, 50-34-2 ATS, 43-42-1 O/U): Philadelphia placed seven scorers in double figures in Game 4 but the clear star was rookie point guard Ben Simmons, who recorded a triple-double with 17 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists. "Ben is Ben," shooting guard JJ Redick told reporters. "It's almost become expected now that he's going to go average a triple-double. He's very tough physically, but I think he’s even tougher mentally. The last four games he's been as vocal and demonstrative as I've seen him all season. He's been fantastic. He's been coming out of his shell in regard to leadership, and that's huge for us." Simmons is the first rookie since Magic Johnson in 1980 to record a triple-double in the playoffs.


    INJURY REPORT:


    Heat - SF J. Richardson (Probable, Shoulder), SG D. Waiters (Out For Season, Ankle).


    76ers - SG T. Luwawu-Cabarrot (Out Indefinitely, Knee).


    MATCHUP CHART:





    TRENDS:


    * Heat are 19-9-2 ATS in their last 30 road games.
    * 76ers are 20-7 ATS in their last 27 home games.
    * Over is 10-4 in Heat's last 14 road games.
    * Under is 6-2 in 76ers' last 8 Conference Quarterfinals games.
    * Favorite is 4-1-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.








    San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors (-11, 204.5)


    The San Antonio Spurs had too much pride to get swept on their homecourt by the Golden State Warriors for the second straight season and earned a 103-90 win in Game 4 on Sunday behind a vintage performance from Manu Ginobili. The 40-year-old future Hall of Famer will try to get the Spurs back home with another win when they visit the Warriors for Game 5 of the best-of-seven series on Tuesday.


    San Antonio, which will be operating without head coach Gregg Popovich for the third straight game following the death of his wife, leaned on Ginobili down the stretch on Sunday and was rewarded with 16 points off the bench. "I cannot lie to you," interim head coach Ettore Messina told reporters. "Even if it's awful, because nobody would like to be in this situation for obvious reasons. At the same time, there is a little part of that that moves me to be there with Manu in these playoff games. Really, that's something that pushes you to try to be the best possible helper for him and the team, and don't mess up anything; just help him to have a great game." Even Golden State coach Steve Kerr, who played with Ginobili in San Antonio in 2003, found a way to be happy for his former teammate. "I smiled when he made that corner 3 right in front of us at the end of the game," Kerr told reporters. "It was just so typical Manu: (40) years old and 16 points and hits the clinching 3. He's Manu. That's what he does. I know he's old because he was my teammate, and I'm old as dirt. So, if I played with him, he must be old."


    TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT, FS Southwest (San Antonio), NBCS Bay Area (Golden State)


    SERIES PRICE (PER WESTGATE LV SUPERBOOK):





    BETTING ACTION AND LINE MOVES: The Warriors opened as 10.5-point home favorites for Game 5 and that number was pushed up slightly by sportsbooks to -11. The total hit betting boards at 204.5 and has been steady as of Monday night.


    ABOUT THE SPURS (48-38 SU, 43-41-2 ATS, 40-45-1 O/U): San Antonio went 15-of-28 from 3-point range in Game 4, with Ginobili (3-of-5), point guard Dejounte Murray (3-of-4) and power forward LaMarcus Aldridge (3-of-3) leading the way. "We're not the best shooting team in the league, but we're not that bad either to shoot 20 percent every game," Ginobili told reporters. "(Sunday), we had a good night shooting. We'll see if we can maintain that for next game. There's not much you can do. You try to get the best shots possible, try to find the open teammate." Aldridge finished with 22 points and 10 rebounds in the win for his third straight double-double in the series.


    ABOUT THE WARRIORS (61-25 SU, 37-48-1 ATS, 41-44-1 O/U): Golden State All-Star shooting guard Klay Thompson shot 63.3 percent from the floor and 65 percent from 3-point range while averaging 25.7 points in the first three games of the series but slumped to 12 points on 4-of-16 shooting in Game 4. The Warriors committed seven of their 18 turnovers in the first quarter, setting the tone for a sloppy performance. "You can't turn the ball over seven times and spot them a 10- or 12-point lead and make them play at their pace," Thompson told reporters. "Come Tuesday, we're going to start better."


    INJURY REPORT:


    Spurs - C J. Lauvergne (Questionable, Personal), SF K. Leonard (Out For Season, Quadricep).


    Warriors - PG S. Curry (Early May, Knee), SG P. McCaw (Out Indefinitely, Back), SF C. Boucher (Out Indefinitely, Ankle).


    MATCHUP CHART:





    TRENDS:


    * Spurs are 0-9 ATS in their last 9 road games.
    * Warriors are 3-12 ATS in their last 15 games playing on 1 days rest.
    * Over is 6-0-1 in Spurs last 7 road games.
    * Over is 4-0-1 in Warriors last 5 home games.
    * Over is 6-1-1 in the last 8 meetings in Golden State.
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  13. #1588  
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    NBA
    Dunkel

    Tuesday, April 24


    Milwaukee @ Boston

    Game 701-702
    April 24, 2018 @ 7:05 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    Milwaukee
    117.699
    Boston
    114.745
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Milwaukee
    by 3
    211
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Boston
    by 3
    203 1/2
    Dunkel Pick:
    Milwaukee
    (+3); Over

    Miami @ Philadelphia

    Game 703-704
    April 24, 2018 @ 8:05 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    Miami
    119.701
    Philadelphia
    127.304
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Philadelphia
    by 7 1/2
    218
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Philadelphia
    by 10
    211
    Dunkel Pick:
    Miami
    (+10); Over

    San Antonio @ Golden State

    Game 707-708
    April 24, 2018 @ 10:35 pm

    Dunkel Rating:
    San Antonio
    116.395
    Golden State
    130.457
    Dunkel Team:
    Dunkel Line:
    Dunkel Total:
    Golden State
    by 14
    209
    Vegas Team:
    Vegas Line:
    Vegas Total:
    Golden State
    by 11
    204 1/2
    Dunkel Pick:
    Golden State
    (-11); Over




    NBA
    Long Sheet

    Tuesday, April 24

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    MILWAUKEE (46 - 40) at BOSTON (57 - 29) - 4/24/2018, 7:05 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    MILWAUKEE is 36-45 ATS (-13.5 Units) in all games this season.
    MILWAUKEE is 14-23 ATS (-11.3 Units) in the second half of the season this season.
    MILWAUKEE is 18-28 ATS (-12.8 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
    MILWAUKEE is 8-17 ATS (-10.7 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record - 2nd half of the season this season.
    BOSTON is 51-31 ATS (+16.9 Units) in all games this season.
    BOSTON is 18-5 ATS (+12.5 Units) revenging a loss vs opponent this season.
    BOSTON is 27-15 ATS (+10.5 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
    BOSTON is 27-17 ATS (+8.3 Units) versus poor defensive teams - allowing 106+ points/game this season.
    BOSTON is 30-16 ATS (+12.4 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 106+ points/game this season.
    MILWAUKEE is 76-50 ATS (+21.0 Units) in road games on Tuesday nights since 1996.
    MILWAUKEE is 135-100 ATS (+25.0 Units) in road games against Atlantic division opponents since 1996.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    BOSTON is 10-5 against the spread versus MILWAUKEE over the last 3 seasons
    BOSTON is 9-6 straight up against MILWAUKEE over the last 3 seasons
    11 of 14 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    MIAMI (45 - 41) at PHILADELPHIA (55 - 31) - 4/24/2018, 8:05 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    PHILADELPHIA is 51-35 ATS (+12.5 Units) in all games this season.
    PHILADELPHIA is 36-23 ATS (+10.7 Units) as a favorite this season.
    PHILADELPHIA is 28-14 ATS (+12.6 Units) in home games this season.
    PHILADELPHIA is 25-13 ATS (+10.7 Units) in the second half of the season this season.
    PHILADELPHIA is 20-8 ATS (+11.2 Units) when playing with 2 days rest over the last 2 seasons.
    PHILADELPHIA is 16-6 ATS (+9.4 Units) against Southeast division opponents this season.
    PHILADELPHIA is 17-7 ATS (+9.3 Units) in home games when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
    MIAMI is 91-73 ATS (+10.7 Units) in all games over the last 2 seasons.
    MIAMI is 55-38 ATS (+13.2 Units) as an underdog over the last 2 seasons.
    MIAMI is 50-31 ATS (+15.9 Units) in road games over the last 2 seasons.
    MIAMI is 31-17 ATS (+12.3 Units) revenging a home loss vs opponent over the last 3 seasons.
    MIAMI is 48-34 ATS (+10.6 Units) revenging a loss vs opponent over the last 2 seasons.
    MIAMI is 26-13 ATS (+11.7 Units) in road games when playing against a team with a winning record over the last 2 seasons.
    MIAMI is 25-11 ATS (+12.9 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record - 2nd half of the season over the last 2 seasons.
    MIAMI is 14-5 ATS (+8.5 Units) in road games versus good offensive teams - scoring 106+ points/game this season.
    MIAMI is 12-2 ATS (+9.8 Units) in road games versus good offensive teams - scoring 106+ points/game - 2nd half of the season over the last 2 seasons.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    PHILADELPHIA is 9-6 against the spread versus MIAMI over the last 3 seasons
    MIAMI is 8-7 straight up against PHILADELPHIA over the last 3 seasons
    8 of 15 games in this series have gone UNDER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    SAN ANTONIO (48 - 38) at GOLDEN STATE (61 - 25) - 4/24/2018, 10:35 PM
    Top Trends for this game.
    SAN ANTONIO is 15-25 ATS (-12.5 Units) in road games this season.
    SAN ANTONIO is 6-18 ATS (-13.8 Units) in road games when trailing in a playoff series since 1996.
    SAN ANTONIO is 6-16 ATS (-11.6 Units) in road games when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
    SAN ANTONIO is 6-17 ATS (-12.7 Units) in road games versus poor defensive teams - allowing 106+ points/game this season.
    SAN ANTONIO is 18-27 ATS (-11.7 Units) versus good offensive teams - scoring 106+ points/game this season.
    GOLDEN STATE is 132-96 ATS (+26.4 Units) in April games since 1996.
    GOLDEN STATE is 59-36 ATS (+19.4 Units) in all playoff games since 1996.
    GOLDEN STATE is 27-9 ATS (+17.1 Units) in the first round of the playoffs since 1996.
    SAN ANTONIO is 1046-919 ATS (+35.1 Units) in all games since 1996.
    SAN ANTONIO is 157-113 ATS (+32.7 Units) on Tuesday nights since 1996.
    GOLDEN STATE is 36-47 ATS (-15.7 Units) in all games this season.
    GOLDEN STATE is 5-15 ATS (-11.5 Units) in home games on Tuesday nights over the last 3 seasons.
    GOLDEN STATE is 17-28 ATS (-13.8 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record this season.
    GOLDEN STATE is 7-17 ATS (-11.7 Units) when playing against a team with a winning record - 2nd half of the season this season.

    Head-to-Head Series History
    GOLDEN STATE is 12-7 against the spread versus SAN ANTONIO over the last 3 seasons
    GOLDEN STATE is 14-5 straight up against SAN ANTONIO over the last 3 seasons
    10 of 18 games in this series have gone OVER THE TOTAL over the last 3 seasons

    --------------------------------------------------------------------------------




    NBA
    Armadillo's Write-Up

    Tuesday, April 24

    Bucks @ Celtics (2-2)
    Home side won last six series games; Bucks lost last three visits here, by 14-6-11 points, and are 2-4 vs spread in last six visits here. Milwaukee shot 50%+ from floor in last three series games; they led last two games by 23-16 at halftime, holding Boston to 35 first half points both games. But now series is back in Boston, where Celtics won games 1-2 by 6-14 points. Bucks held Boston under 42% from floor in three of four games; Celtics are 5-2 vs spread in last seven series games, 4-1 in last five home games overall. Bucks lost four of their last five road games.

    Heat @ 76ers (3-1) 

    Sixers won 19 of their last 20 games; their bench was +24, starters -4 in Game 4 win. Heat lost four of last five games in Philly (2-3 vs spread). 76ers survived 26 turnovers in Game 4; they were +17 on boards, grabbing 17 offensive rebounds. Miami led all four series games at halftime, but were outscored in 2nd half by 34-21-9 points in their three losses. Heat is 6-7 in its last 13 games overall; they’re 3-5-1 vs spread in last nine road games. Miami was 13-25 on foul line in a Game 4 that they lost by four points.

    Spurs @ Warriors (3-1)
    Spurs showed some spunk by winning Game 4, avoiding a sweep; San Antonio is 1-3 vs spread in last four visits to Oakland, losing all four games, three by 15+ points. Warriors were just 7-28 on arc (17-60 in last two games), shot 37.8% from floor in Game 4- they were +27 (61-34) on glass by -8 (16-8) in turnovers. Golden State is 11-2 in its last 13 games with the Spurs; over is 7-4-1 in last dozen. Warriors subs were -21 in Game 4, after being +20/+16 in previous two games. Coach Popovich will miss this game also; his wife passed away Thursday.

    Wizards-Raptors
    Tor 114-106, -7.5, O211
    Tor 130-119, -7, O214
    
Wsh 122-103, -1, O217.5
    
Wsh 106-98, +1.5, U217

    Heat-76ers
    Phil 130-103, -6.5, O212
    Mia 113-103, +6.5, U217
    
Phil 128-108, -2.5, O213.5
    Phil 106-102, -4, U212.5

    Bucks-Celtics
    Bos 113-107 OT, -4.5, O199.5
    Bos 120-106, -1, O200
    
Mil 116-92, -5, O205.5
    Mil 104-102, -5.5, O203.5

    Pacers-Cavaliers
    Ind 98-80, +7.5, U212.5

    Clev 100-97, -8, U209
    
Ind 92-90, -1.5, U209.5
    Clev 104-100, -1.5, U206.5

    Spurs-Warriors
    GState 113-92, -8, U209.5
    GState 116-101, -9 O205.5
    GState 110-97, -3.5, O205.5
    SA 103-90, +5.5, U206.5

    Pelicans-Blazers
    NO 97-95, +5.5, U216.5
    NO 111-102, +6, U216
    NO 119-102, -3.5, O215.5
    NO 131-123, -6.5, O217
    Pelicans win series, 4-0

    Jazz-Thunder
    OKC 116-108, -4.5, O205
    Utah 102-95, +4, U206.5
    Utah 115-102, -5, O209
    Utah 113-96, -5, O208

    Wolves-Rockets
    Hst 104-101, -11.5, U215.5
    Hst 102-82, -10.5, U212.5
    Minn 121-105, +6, O217
    Hst 119-100, -6, O217




    NBA

    Tuesday, April 24

    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------
    Trend Report
    ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

    Milwaukee Bucks
    Milwaukee is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games
    The total has gone OVER in 5 of Milwaukee's last 5 games
    Milwaukee is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games on the road
    The total has gone OVER in 5 of Milwaukee's last 5 games on the road
    Milwaukee is 1-6 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Boston
    The total has gone OVER in 5 of Milwaukee's last 5 games when playing Boston
    Milwaukee is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Boston
    Milwaukee is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Boston
    The total has gone OVER in 10 of Milwaukee's last 12 games when playing on the road against Boston
    Boston Celtics
    Boston is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
    The total has gone OVER in 5 of Boston's last 5 games
    Boston is 7-1 ATS in its last 8 games at home
    Boston is 6-1 SU in its last 7 games at home
    The total has gone OVER in 5 of Boston's last 5 games at home
    Boston is 6-1 ATS in its last 7 games when playing Milwaukee
    The total has gone OVER in 5 of Boston's last 5 games when playing Milwaukee
    Boston is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against Milwaukee
    Boston is 4-1 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against Milwaukee
    The total has gone OVER in 10 of Boston's last 12 games when playing at home against Milwaukee


    Miami Heat
    Miami is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games
    Miami is 2-5 SU in its last 7 games
    Miami is 3-5-2 ATS in its last 10 games on the road
    Miami is 3-13 SU in its last 16 games on the road
    The total has gone OVER in 10 of Miami's last 14 games on the road
    Miami is 2-3-1 ATS in its last 6 games when playing Philadelphia
    The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Miami's last 6 games when playing Philadelphia
    Miami is 2-4 ATS in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Philadelphia
    Miami is 1-5 SU in its last 6 games when playing on the road against Philadelphia
    The total has gone OVER in 6 of Miami's last 9 games when playing on the road against Philadelphia
    Philadelphia 76ers
    Philadelphia is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games
    Philadelphia is 19-1 SU in its last 20 games
    The total has gone OVER in 4 of Philadelphia's last 6 games
    Philadelphia is 18-6 ATS in its last 24 games at home
    Philadelphia is 11-1 SU in its last 12 games at home
    The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Philadelphia's last 6 games when playing Miami
    Philadelphia is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games when playing at home against Miami
    Philadelphia is 5-1 SU in its last 6 games when playing at home against Miami
    The total has gone OVER in 6 of Philadelphia's last 9 games when playing at home against Miami


    San Antonio Spurs
    San Antonio is 1-5 ATS in its last 6 games
    San Antonio is 1-4 SU in its last 5 games
    The total has gone OVER in 6 of San Antonio's last 9 games
    San Antonio is 0-5 ATS in its last 5 games on the road
    San Antonio is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games on the road
    The total has gone OVER in 6 of San Antonio's last 7 games on the road
    San Antonio is 3-8 ATS in its last 11 games when playing Golden State
    San Antonio is 2-11 SU in its last 13 games when playing Golden State
    The total has gone UNDER in 4 of San Antonio's last 6 games when playing Golden State
    San Antonio is 1-4 ATS in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Golden State
    San Antonio is 0-5 SU in its last 5 games when playing on the road against Golden State
    The total has gone OVER in 6 of San Antonio's last 8 games when playing on the road against Golden State
    Golden State Warriors
    Golden State is 4-2 ATS in its last 6 games
    Golden State is 4-2 SU in its last 6 games
    Golden State is 2-5 ATS in its last 7 games at home
    Golden State is 15-6 SU in its last 21 games at home
    The total has gone OVER in 4 of Golden State's last 5 games at home
    Golden State is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games when playing San Antonio
    Golden State is 11-2 SU in its last 13 games when playing San Antonio
    The total has gone UNDER in 4 of Golden State's last 6 games when playing San Antonio
    Golden State is 4-1 ATS in its last 5 games when playing at home against San Antonio
    Golden State is 5-0 SU in its last 5 games when playing at home against San Antonio
    The total has gone OVER in 6 of Golden State's last 8 games when playing at home against San Antonio
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  14. #1589  
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    Tuesday's Playoff Tips
    April 24, 2018



    **Game 5 - Milwaukee at Boston**


    -- Milwaukee (46-40 straight up, 35-46-5 against the spread) evened this best-of-seven series at 2-2 with Sunday’s 104-102 win as a four-point favorite. The Bucks, who were four-point home favorites, went ahead of the number in the final minute of the first quarter and built their lead to 16 at intermission and to as many as 20 in the third quarter. However, Boston’s Jaylen Brown erupted in the second half to spark the Celtics into a 75-75 tie with 9:03 remaining. They went ahead 100-99 on Jayson Tatum’s difficult jumper with 52 ticks left, but Milwaukee’s Malcolm Brogdon countered with a 3-ball from the corner. Al Horford drained a pair of free throws to tie the game. Brogdon missed back at the other end, but All-Star Giannis Antetokounmpo scored the game winner on a tip-in with 5.1 seconds left. Marcus Morris’s baseline jumper at the horn missed.


    -- Antetokounmpo scored 27 points to go with seven rebounds and five assists. Khris Middleton added 23 points, six rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocked shots, while Jabari Parker produced 16 points, seven boards, three blocks and two steals. Brogdon and Eric Bledsoe scored only 10 and nine points, respectively, but both players hit huge shots at crunch time. Bledsoe had five assists compared to merely one turnover and he blocked two shots. The Bucks had a 22/8 assist-to-turnover ratio, but they gave up 16 offensive rebounds to Boston.


    -- Brown has set his career playoff highs in three games this series. He went for 20 points in Game 1, 30 in Game 2 and 34 in the Game 4 loss. Brown buried 13-of-24 field-goal attempts Sunday and 5-of-8 shots from 3-point range. He also had eight rebounds and three steals. Tatum finished with 21 points, three rebounds, three assists and two steals. Al Horford contributed 13 points, nine boards, four assists and a pair of blocked shots.


    -- As of early this morning, Boston (57-29 SU, 53-31-2ATS) was installed as a three-point home favorite for tonight’s Game 5. The total was 204.5 and the Bucks were +135 on the money line (risk $100 to win $135).


    -- Boston defensive stopper Marcus Smart has been out since March 11 due to a torn tendon in his thumb that required surgery. The fourth-year swingman out of Oklahoma St. has been upgraded to ‘questionable’ for Game 5. Smart played in 54 regular-season games, averaging 10.2 points, 4.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds and 1.3 steals per game. He had a 259/129 assist-to-turnover ratio. During last season’s playoffs, Smart averaged 8.6 points, 4.7 rebounds, 4.7 assists, 1.5 steals and 0.9 blocked shots per game. He has played in 28 career postseason games.


    -- Brad Stevens’s squad is 29-14 SU and 24-17-2 ATS at home this year. The Celtics won Game 1 by a 113-107 count in overtime as four-point favorites. They won a 120-106 decision in Game 2 to easily cover the spread as one-point home ‘chalk.’


    -- Milwaukee John Henson is ‘questionable’ for Game 5 with back soreness. He missed Games 3 and 4. Henson, a sixth-year center who played his college ball at North Carolina, had 12 points, six rebounds, four assists and one block in Game 2. He averaged 8.8 points and 6.8 RPG in 76 regular-season contests.


    -- Milwaukee is 19-24 SU and 22-20-1 ATS in its 43 road assignments.


    -- VegsaInsider.com’s Kevin Rogers points out how home teams had the better of Game 5’s last season. Rogers said, “In the playoffs last year, home teams went 6-1 SU and 4-3 ATS when a series was tied at 2-2. The Celtics found themselves in this spot in the first round after winning two road games at Chicago. The Bulls, who had won Game 1 and 2 at Boston when Rajon Rondo was healthy, lost Game 5 at Boston by a 108-97 score.”


    -- The ‘over’ has hit in eight consecutive Boston games to improve to 47-38-1 overall and 25-18 at home.


    -- The ‘over’ is on a remarkable 18-2 run for Milwaukee in its past 20 games. The Bucks have seen the ‘over ‘go 50-35-1 overall, 26-17 in their road outings.


    -- The ‘over’ is 10-1-1 in Milwaukee’s last 12 games at Boston. The ‘over’ has hit in six straight head-to-head meetings between these clubs and is 7-1 in eight encounters this year. Furthermore, the ‘over’ is 13-3-1 in the last 17 games of this rivalry.


    -- Tip-off is scheduled for 7:00 p.m. Eastern on NBA-TV.


    **Game 5 - Miami at Philadelphia**


    -- Philadelphia (55-31 SU, 50-34 ATS) won a 106-102 decision as a 3.5-point favorite in Saturday’s Game 4 at Miami. Brett Brown’s team took a 3-1 series advantage with back-to-back wins in South Florida. The 208 combined points dropped ‘under’ the 212.5-point total in Saturday’s showdown. J.J. Redick’s two free throws with 16 seconds left got the 76ers ahead of the number, and Miami missed a pair of shots on its final possession. Redick led seven Philadelphia players in double figures with 24 points. Ben Simmons produced 17 points, 13 rebounds, 10 assists and four steals, while Joel Embiid finished with 14 points, 12 rebounds and five blocked shots.


    -- Dwyane Wade scored a game-high 25 points in Game 4. He also had three steals and three rebounds. Goran Dragic had 20 points, four steals and three assists, while James Johnson contributed 15 points, eight rebounds, five assists, one steal and one block. Hassan Whiteside finished with 13 points and 13 boards.


    -- Miami was an abysmal 13-of-25 from the free-throw line in the Game 4 loss. The Heat were outscored 27-19 in the final stanza.


    -- As of early this morning, most betting shops had Philadelphia listed as a 10-point favorite with a total of 211. The Heat were +450 on the money line (risk $100 to win $450).


    -- Since March 15, Philadelphia has won 19 of 20 games SU while going 14-6 ATS. The 76ers have won 13 of those 19 games by double-digit margins.


    -- Philadelphia has compiled a 4-4 spread record in eight games as a double-digit favorite this year.


    -- Brown’s team is 31-12 SU and 28-15 ATS at home.


    -- In the first four postseason games of his career, Simmons is averaging 19.3 points, 10.8 rebounds, 9.8 assists and 2.5 SPG. He has made 51.8 percent of his FGAs.


    -- Miami (45-41 SU, 41-39-6 ATS) is 1-2 ATS in three games as a double-digit underdog this season.


    -- Erik Spoelstra’s squad is 19-24 SU and 25-17-1 on the road.


    -- Before posting a double-double in Game 4, Whiteside had only contributed 11 points and 12 rebounds in the first three games combined. For the series, Wade is averaging 18.0 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.3 assists and 1.5 steals per game. He is shooting at a 49.1 percent clip from the field. Wade scored 28 points to go with seven rebounds, three steals and three assists in Miami’s Game 2 win in the City of Brotherly Love. His relentless attacking of the basket has earned him 22 trips to the FT line, where he’s made 18 for an 81.8 percent rate.


    -- VegasInsider.com’s Chris David was surprised to see the line for Game 5 shoot up so high. David said, “After seeing Philadelphia at -6 and -6.5 for the first two games, the number has jumped up to -10. Even though the value appears to be with the Heat, I’m hesitant to go against the 76ers, who are lighting it up from distance. They’re scary good when the shots are falling. It’s rare to see Miami as a double-digit underdog, only happening three times this season. Those were against the NBA’s elite, the Warriors twice and the Rockets. Philadelphia isn’t on that level yet, but it has run the Heat out of the gym twice.”


    -- The ‘over’ is 43-42-1 overall for the 76ers, but they’ve seen the ‘under’ go 22-20-1 in their home contests. The ‘over’ has hit at a 6-3 clip in Philadelphia’s past nine games.


    -- The ‘under’ is 46-39-1 overall for the Heat, 23-20 in its road assignments.


    -- TNT will have the broadcast at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.


    **Game 5 - San Antonio at Golden State**


    -- Manu Ginobili may or may not return for the 2018-19 season. He’s decided on a year-to-year basis and that will likely continue into the offseason. If the future Hall of Famer was playing his last game Sunday at AT&T Center, he left the fans with a special encore performance. Ginobili scored 10 of his 16 points in the fourth quarter to propel San Antonio to a 103-90 win over Golden State as a six-point home underdog. The Spurs, who cashed money-line tickets in the +240 neighborhood, forced a Game 5 and avoided getting swept by the Warriors for a second straight season. The 193 combined points fell ‘under’ the 206.5-point total.


    -- LaMarcus Aldridge scored a team-high 22 points and hit a dagger trey to put his team up by seven late in the four quarter. Golden State didn’t get closer than five the rest of the way. San Antonio buried 15-of-28 attempts from downtown (53.6%), with Dejounte Murray (12 points) and Ginobili both knocking down 3-of-4 launches from long distance. Rudy Gay finished with 14 points, seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Kyle Anderson was also in double figures with 10 points, while Patty Mills and Tony Parker combined for 18 points and seven assists compared to just two turnovers. Anderson hit all four of his FGAs and both tries from the charity stripe.


    -- Kevin Durant had 34 points and 13 rebounds in the Game 4 defeat. Klay Thompson made only 4-of-16 FGAs and finished with 12 points. Shaun Livingston was the only other Warrior in double figures with 10 points. Draymond Green tallied nine points, 18 rebounds and nine assists.


    -- As of early this morning, most spots had Golden State (61-25 SU,37-48-1 ATS) listed as an 11-point favorite for tonight’s Game 5. The total was 204.5 points and the Spurs were +650 on the money line.


    -- Steve Kerr’s team owns a 31-12 SU record and an 18-24-1 ATS mark at home this year.


    -- San Antonio (48-38 SU, 43-41-2 ATS) has struggled mightily on the road, going 14-29 SU and 16-26-1 ATS. The Spurs have been double-digit road underdogs three times, going 1-2 ATS.


    -- Golden State is 4-0 SU and 3-1 ATS in four home games against San Antonio this year. The three spread covers have been by margins of 15, 21 and 17 points.


    -- VI’s Rogers offered up these numbers as they apply to Golden State in this spot. Rogers said, “The Warriors couldn’t seal the deal on Sunday in San Antonio, but they have put together a 5-2 record since 2015 when trying to close a series at Oracle Arena. Golden State has compiled an average 3-3-1 ATS mark in those contests, but it is 3-1 ATS against Western Conference foes in this span.”


    -- The ‘under’ is 45-40-1 overall for the Spurs, 23-19-1 in their road assignments.


    -- The ‘under’ is 44-41-1 overall for the Warriors, 21-21-1 in their home outings.


    -- The ‘under’ is 4-3-1 overall in eight head-to-head meetings between these clubs this year.


    -- Tip-off will be at 10:35 p.m. Eastern on TNT.
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    Bucks' Maker, other reserves step into NBA playoff spotlight
    April 24, 2018



    MILWAUKEE (AP) Thon Maker is having his biggest games at the biggest time of the year.


    Not bad for a bench guy and someone who, as recently as last week, was a roster afterthought.


    Maker had never blocked five shots in any NBA game before this postseason began - and now he's blocked that many in each of the last two playoff contests for the Milwaukee Bucks. There's an old coaching adage that tells players to stay ready, because they never know when their chance to make an impact has arrived.


    Maker is proving that axiom to be correct.


    ''Just trying to be there for my teammates, playing aggressive,'' said Maker, the Bucks' backup center. ''It's the playoffs. These are the moments everybody plays for. You've got to find a way to win, you've got to find a way to impact the game. I try to do that every single time.''


    Maker is almost an out-of-nowhere story for the Bucks, who've pulled even with the Boston Celtics four games into their Eastern Conference first-round series in large part because of a defensive resurgence by the bench. His offense has helped, too: Maker scored 14 points in a Game 3 victory, his highest total since a 16-point effort on New Year's Day.


    There have been some big games from reserve players in these playoffs already: Miami has gotten games of 28 and 25 points from Dwyane Wade and a 26-point effort from Kelly Olynyk, Philadelphia has seen Marco Belinelli reach 21 points twice so far, and Boston saw Greg Monroe get a double-double against the Bucks in only 23 minutes.


    Backups can find themselves in the spotlight quickly if they get hot.


    ''When we step on the floor, we need to be assertive with what we do,'' Bucks coach Joe Prunty said. ''We can't be a step behind.''


    Even the greatest players need help.


    LeBron James said everyone on the Cavaliers' roster - himself included - needed to play better after falling behind Indiana 2-1 in their series. So in Game 4, James was great with 32 points, and Jordan Clarkson had 12 of the bench's 32 points to help Cleveland tie the series .


    ''I'm supposed to come and give a spark off the bench,'' said Clarkson, who scored just two points in Game 3. ''That's what I'm supposed to do, change the game in that way.''


    Toronto had one of the top bench units in the NBA during the regular season, ranking fifth in the league with a combined 41.8 scoring average. But in the East's No. 1 seed's first-round series, the Raptors' reserve scoring down to 34.5 points.


    They're tied at 2 in the series with the eighth-seeded Washington Wizards, whose bench scoring is up in the series by about the same margin to 34.3 points. The Wizards were just 16th in bench scoring this season.


    A big reason for Toronto's problems has been the absence of backup point guard Fred VanVleet, who has an injured right shoulder and played just three minutes so far, sitting out three of the four games entirely. Raptors coach Dwane Casey blamed his team's high turnover totals - 37 over Games 3 and 4, both losses - in large part on his reserves, who he also thought were not as productive with the ball as they could have been.


    ''The second unit turned down some shots that they normally take,'' Casey said. ''I thought that group started the turnovers. The levee broke on those guys. I've got to do a better job of putting them in the right situation where they don't turn it over.''


    The Wizards tinkered with their rotations to try to keep the Raptors' reserves in check.


    ''Our bench has done a good job and we've kind of tried to change things up and throw maybe a starter or two with our bench,'' Washington coach Scott Brooks said.


    As for the Celtics, they're back in Boston to get ready to host the Bucks on Tuesday night for Game 5. Their frontcourt reserves of Monroe and Marcus Morris were dominant in the series' second game last week, when it looked as if Boston might pull off a sweep.


    Milwaukee's reserves have pushed back with active, physical play - matching Boston's intensity.


    ''As soon as (we) see that,'' Maker said, ''we start to get aggressive as well on the defensive end.''
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  16. #1591  
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    TUESDAY, APRIL 24
    GAME TIME(ET) PICK UNITS



    MIL at BOS 07:00 PM
    BOS -3.5
    O 203.5



    MIA at PHI 08:00 PM
    MIA +10.0
    U 215.0



    SA at GS 10:30 PM
    SA +11.5
    U 205.0
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    76ers roll past Heat to advance
    April 24, 2018



    PHILADELPHIA (AP) Joel Embiid hoisted diminutive comedian Kevin Hart not unlike the way a parent would toss up a toddler. Embiid then pulled him in for a hug as confetti rained on the court, team flags waved around them and the promise of a rowdy late-night celebration was on deck.


    Hart grabbed the mic and yelled, ''Let's give it up for Joel Embiid!''


    Believe it, Philly.


    The 76ers are rolling in the postseason - and rappers, politicians, actors and athletes are dancing along in the ride.


    Embiid and Ben Simmons shined again in front of rapper Meek Mill, and the dominant duo ushered the nightmares-into-dreams Process of the Philadelphia 76ers into the second round with a 104-91 win over the Miami Heat on Tuesday night.


    The 76ers, winners of 10 games just two seasons ago, are in the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs for the first time since 2012.


    ''I kind of promised the city this,'' Embiid said.


    The Sixers won the series 4-1 and turned the Wells Fargo Center into the wildest house party in the city. Embiid had 19 points and 12 rebounds, Simmons had 14 points and 10 boards, and the entire team was energized by Mill's surprise appearance. Mill made a dramatic return hours after Pennsylvania's highest court ordered him freed while he appeals decade-old gun and drug convictions.


    He was taken from prison by helicopter to Philadelphia, where he rang the ceremonial bell at the start of Game 5.


    ''Welcome home Meek Mill,'' was about all that was heard from the public address announcer as wild cheers drowned out the rest. Mill sat courtside next to Hart and Sixers co-owner Michael Rubin.


    Before the game, Mill visited privately with the Sixers in their locker room.


    ''For him to come to this type of game ... I was just happy,'' Embiid said.


    Hart talked trash, wandered onto the edge of the court to rile up fans and palled around with Mill as the young and gettin' it Sixers proved they just might be the team to beat in the East.


    They'll have plenty of time to rest and recover - Embiid again played in a black mask to guard a face injury - with the other Eastern Conference playoff series expected to stretch into the weekend.


    They await the winner of Milwaukee-Boston. The Celtics lead the series 3-2.


    The 76ers were buzzing once Mill's release made headline news in the city. Rubin had organized prison trips with Embiid, Simmons and Markelle Fultz, and the rapper's songs played in the locker room and during warmups.


    Simmons called Mill's presence ''amazing.''


    ''Just having someone that looks out for us, all of us here, it would just mean a lot for him to be back in Philly, in the city of Philadelphia with the fans, especially with a game like that tonight,'' Simmons said.


    Mill breezed into the locker room about 45 minutes before tip and hugged some of the Sixers. Mill was met with a crush of media and celebrity fans as he tried to take his courtside seat. Eagles owner Jeffrey Lurie and retired boxing great Bernard Hopkins sat near Hart and Mill, and Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf joined them in the second half. The national champion Villanova Wildcats posed for pictures with Mill in the locker room.


    What they saw was just the latest beatdown from a franchise whose maligned rebuild has morphed into the one of the trendiest terms in sports.


    The Sixers outscored the Heat by 14 in the third quarter to snap a tie game and had fans belting ''Trust the Process!''


    Goran Dragic was whistled for a technical after slapping Simmons on the backside of his head, and that got the crowd howling early in the third. Simmons kept his cool - the rookie is rarely rattled - and made the Heat pay. JJ Redick sank the free throw off the technical, and Simmons kicked the ball out to Robert Covington on the possession for a 3 and a 54-48 lead. Redick followed with his third 3, and Philly was litty again.


    Redick, who scored 27, sank the dagger late in the fourth that got the party started. Coach Brett Brown was showered with water and sports drinks in the locker room.


    ''We've got more to do. We've got more to give,'' Brown said.


    TIP-INS


    Heat: Josh Richardson played with a sprained left shoulder. He picked up three fouls in his first 2 minutes. ... James Johnson was hit with personal and technical fouls late in the fourth that ended a 10-0 Miami run. ... Justise Winslow led the Heat with 18 points.


    76ers: Redick was whistled for a technical foul in the first half. ... Missed 10 of 12 3s in the first half.


    WADE OUT?


    Dwyane Wade is considering retirement. He congratulated Embiid after the game (''the NBA is in great hands with Joel'') and said he ''couldn't have asked for a better ending'' this season than to return to the Heat. Wade did not announce a decision on his future.


    ''You're going to make me emotional if we start to think about that or talk about that right now,'' Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said.
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    Celtics edge Bucks for series lead
    April 24, 2018



    BOSTON (AP) Al Horford has been the Celtics' quiet leader this postseason, and Marcus Smart might be the kindling Boston was missing in back-to-back losses in Milwaukee.


    The duo was reunited for Game 5, and together, they helped put the Celtics on the verge of closing out their first-round series.


    Horford had 22 points and 14 rebounds, Smart made an impact in his first game since mid-March and Boston beat the Bucks 92-87 on Tuesday night for a 3-2 lead.


    Smart came off the bench and had nine points, five rebounds, four assists and three blocks in his first action since right thumb surgery. He played 25 minutes wearing a protective splint and had a key assist to Horford late from the bottom of a scrum beneath three Milwaukee players.


    ''I just tried to make sure I got him the ball and it was going to take everything I had,'' Smart said. ''They weren't taking it from me.''


    Terry Rozier added 16 points and five assists for Boston. The home team has won all five games in the first-round series, and Game 6 is Thursday in Milwaukee.


    Khris Middleton led the Bucks with 23 points, Jabari Parker added 17 points and eight rebounds, and Giannis Antetokounmpo had a series-low 16 points with 10 rebounds and nine assists.


    The Celtics led by 16 before Milwaukee rallied to make it 74-70 with 7:33 left. Middleton scored later and was fouled to get Milwaukee within 84-79, but he failed to complete the three-point play.


    A few possessions later, Smart managed to squeeze out the pass to Horford with three Bucks draped over him, and Horford easily dropped in a layup to make it 86-79 with 28.1 seconds left.


    Milwaukee got within 87-84 after a layup by Eric Bledsoe, but the Celtics hit enough free throws the rest of the way to secure the win.


    The Bucks entered the game shooting an NBA playoff-best 54 percent from the field, but they hit just 37 percent for the game (32 of 87) - a series low.


    Boston needed an energy boost after slow starts in Games 3 and 4, and Smart gave the Celtics exactly that.


    He checked in for the first time late in the first quarter. Less than a minute later, he deflected a pass and won a scramble on the floor for the loose ball.


    A few possessions later, he was helping protect the rim, getting his hand in to deny an alley-oop dunk attempt by Antetokounmpo.


    He was also active on the offensive end, helping drive the ball into the interior of Milwaukee's defense, like when he tossed an alley-oop to Horford late in the third quarter .


    Boston made a change to a smaller lineup, shifting Horford to center in place of Aron Baynes and starting Semi Ojeleye at forward.


    Ojeleye drew the primary responsibility of guarding Antetokounmpo and handled it well. Antetokounmpo had just 10 field goal attempts.


    ''It's on me. I had open shots, but they wasn't my shots,'' Antetokounmpo said. ''I think my teammates did a great job finding me, but coming the next game, Game 6, I've got to be more aggressive and make more plays.''


    TIP-INS


    Bucks: F John Henson missed his third straight game with back soreness. ... Scored 15 points in first quarter. It was low for a quarter in the series, excluding the Game 1 overtime period (eight points).


    Celtics: Finished with 18 turnovers. ... Outscored the Bucks 32-28 in the paint.


    HE SAID IT


    ''It's win or go home, so I mean you can't leave nothing on the line. That's pretty much how you play this whole playoffs - you leave it all out there. Tonight we had too many lapses where we just didn't want it as bad as they did.'' - Middleton


    DROUGHT AND A RUN


    The Celtics went without a field goal from Rozier's 3-pointer with 9:14 left in the third until Jaylen Brown hit from beyond the arc with 4:26 to go in the period.


    It allowed Milwaukee to go on a 12-2 run, trimming Boston's lead to 58-52.


    STILL BEEFING


    Rozier and Eric Bledsoe got tangled up with 9:33 left in the third quarter. Rozier bumped Bledsoe near the baseline. Bledsoe responded with a hard shove. They then got face-to-face and had to be separated.


    Bledsoe was assessed a flagrant foul and Rozier was issued a technical foul.


    It was the continuation of some off-court chiding between the pair.


    Rozier called Bledsoe ''Drew Bledsoe'' when asked about him after Game 1. Bledsoe has since responded by saying ''Who?'' whenever he's asked about Rozier.


    ''We're looking forward to Game (6),'' Bledsoe said. ''It's as simple as that.''
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    WARRIORS 99 SPURS 91




    *********************


    SCHEDULE FOR WEDNESDAY APRIL 25, 2018
    Time (ET) Away Home Site
    7:00 PM Indiana Pacers Cleveland Cavaliers Quicken Loans Arena
    7:00 PM Washington Wizards Toronto Raptors Air Canada Centre
    9:30 PM Minnesota Timberwolves Houston Rockets Toyota Center
    9:30 PM Utah Jazz Oklahoma City Thunder Chesapeake Energy Arena


    **********************


    NBA PLAYOFF RECORD


    DATE W-L-T % UNITS RECORD


    04/24/2018 4-2-0 66.67% +9.00
    04/23/2018 2-2-0 50.00% -1.00
    04/22/2018 1-7-0 12.50% -33.50
    04/21/2018 5-3-0 62.50% +8.50
    04/20/2018 3-3-0 50.00% -1.50
    04/19/2018 1-5-0 16.67% -22.50
    04/18/2018 2-4-0 33.33% -12.00
    04/17/2018 4-2-0 66.67% +900
    04/16/2018 1-3-0 25.00% -11.50
    04/15/2018 5-3-0 62.50% +8.50
    04/14/2018 1-6-1 14.29% -28.00


    TOTALS.........29-41-1........41.42%.....-75.00
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    Wednesday’s 6-pack


    You can wager on where players will be taken in the NFL Draft Thursday:


    — Baker Mayfield, under 6.5 (-$120)


    — Bradley Chubb, under 5.5 (-$180)


    — Calvin Ridley 19.5


    — Derrius Guice, under 32.5 (-$200)


    — Lamar Jackson, over 17.5 (-$200)


    — Saquon Barkley, under 5.5 (-$400)


    Quotes of the Day
    “I didn’t look at their playbook as much as I should have. It could have gone a little bit better … but at the same time, I’m prioritizing which playbooks I’m going to learn. No offense to them, but I’ve got a lot on my plate.”
    Baker Mayfield, talking about his meeting with the Chargers


    “I’m probably not prepared to comment on that. My plate’s pretty full. No offense……”
    Chargers’ GM Tom Telesco, when asked about Mayfield’s comment


    Wednesday’s quiz
    What two teams did Didi Gregorius play for before coming to New York?


    Tuesday’s quiz
    NHL team that used to play in Quebec City was called the Nordiques.


    Monday’s quiz
    Oakland is the only current major league baseball team that shares its stadium with an NFL team.




    **********************


    Wednesday’s List of 13: Mid-week musings…….


    13) First round draft picks in the last five NFL Drafts:
    SEC 50, ACC 30, Pac-12 29, Big 14 21, Big X 11.


    12) The definition of tone deaf:


    Baseball commissioner Rob Manfred said Tuesday that Rogers Centre in Toronto is in need of an update. The downtown stadium has been the Blue Jays’ home since 1989.


    Not sure if Mr Manfred ever watches CNN, but there was a tragedy in Toronto yesterday, with a van killing ten people in an apparent act of terrorism. I’m guessing that today wasn’t the best time to be asking for improvements to the city’s domed stadium.


    11) 76ers 104, Heat 91— Philly is on to the second round for first time since 2012.


    10) UCLA QB Josh Rosen has good bloodlines for athletic success; his father Charles was a nationally ranked ice skater who nearly qualified for the Olympics in the 1970s; his mother, Liz, was captain of the Princeton lacrosse team.


    9) Mets’ SS Amed Rosario got his 4th walk of the season last night, in his 67th plate appearance; last year, he had three walks in 170 PAs.


    8) Big 14 is already moving to 20 conference games next basketball season. ACC will do the same in 2019-20. Now the Pac-12 might go to 20 league games, too. This will hurt mid-majors trying to get an at large NCAA bid- extra conference games will raise teams’ power ratings.


    7) Reds 9, Braves 7 (12)— Atlanta scored four runs in 9th inning to tie game, but Scooter Gennett sent everyone home happy with a walk-off homer in the 12th inning.


    6) Golfer Matt Kuchar has made 28 consecutive cuts, longest current streak on the PGA Tour.


    5) There have been 77 home runs hit into McCovey Cove behind the RF fence at Giants’ Pac-Bell ballpark in San Francisco; 35 of those were hit by Barry Bonds.


    4) Houston Rockets led 50-49 at halftime in Minnesota Monday night, then outscored the Timberwolves 50-20 in the 3rd quarter, as they took a 3-1 series lead. It was only the second time ever a team had a +30 quarter in a playoff game.


    3) I wonder if someday baseball will go to flat bases, like we used to have in kickball when we were kids. Two reasons:
    a) Players sometimes turn an ankle stepping on a base, especially if it is raining.
    b) Once in a great while, batted balls hit a base and provide a lucky hit.


    Not saying I would endorse that, but could see it happening.


    2) 236 players declared as early-entrants for the NBA Draft, 181 from colleges; those who did not sign with an agent can still go back to college. There are only 60 picks in the NBA Draft, so do the math. Salary in the G-League is $35,000 a year, about the same as tuition for a year in college. Some kids have some very interesting choices to make.


    1) I have no sympathy for guys who are eligible for the NBA or NFL Draft who fail a drug test before the draft. You’re on the verge of getting a job that potentially can pay you millions of dollars; you KNOW you’re going to get drug tested. You KNOW it!!!


    A wide receiver from Florida failed a drug test at the NFL Combine. At the freakin’ Combine? Not good.
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  21. #1596  
    RX Local
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    Wednesday's Early Tips
    April 24, 2018

    Eastern Conference – Game 5 (Series tied 2-2)
    Washington at Toronto (NBATV, 7:05 p.m.)



    The Raptors and Wizards will meet in Game 5 on Wednesday from Air Canada Centre and this series isn’t looking like your typical 1-8 matchup anymore. After watching Toronto take a commanding 2-0 lead at home, the Wizards returned the favor this past weekend and held serve in the nation’s capital with a pair of wins.


    In Game 4 on Sunday, Washington evened up the series with a 106-98 victory over Toronto as a 1 ˝-point home underdog but the outcome was a tad misleading. At halftime, the Raptors built a 51-40 lead and were in complete control of the game. However, the Wizards exploded for 40 points in the third quarter and then used their defense in the final 12 minutes to lock up the win.


    Toronto was held to just 18 points in the fourth quarter and only eight of those came in the final six minutes as Washington closed the game on a 17-8 run. The Raptors shot just 43 percent from the field and they were very hesitant from 3-point land, shooting a season-low 18 shots from distance.


    Raptors shooting guard DeMar DeRozan led all scorers with 35 points in the loss but his teammate Kyle Lowry only finished with 19 in the loss and his playoff woes are starting to get noticed again. Adding to Lowry’s struggles, Washington’s backcourt tandem of John Wall (27.5 PPG, 14 APG) and Bradley Beal (29.5 PPG) went off in the last two games.


    Oddsmakers opened Toronto as a seven-point home favorite for Game 5 and the number hasn’t moved as of Wednesday evening. The Raptors closed as seven-point favorites in Game 1 and -7 ˝ in Game 2.


    Along with the Rockets, Toronto owns the best home record this season at 36-7.


    While the two home wins by the Wizards were impressive, VegasInsider.com NBA expert Kevin Rogers is hesitant to back Washington in Game 5 due to their recent road tendencies in the postseason.


    He explained his position, “Washington rebounded from a 2-0 hole to make this series interesting, but the Wizards still need to prove their worth on the road. Dating back to last season’s playoffs, the Wizards own a dreadful 1-8 record both SU and ATS away from Capital One Arena, including six losses by double-digits. The last road victory for the Wizards in the playoffs came at Atlanta in the opening round of the 2017 playoffs in Game 7.”


    Toronto’s offense did look pedestrian (103, 98) in D.C. but bettors should be aware that the Raptors haven’t lost three straight games all season, which is pretty remarkable since no other team in the NBA can say the same. Not even Houston!


    With that being said, I did some data mining and Toronto has gone 5-0 straight up and 4-1 against the spread after losing back-to-back games in the regular season. Delving into those contests further, the Raptors defense only allowed 87.6 points per game in those victories and that helped the ‘under’ go 5-0.


    I’m well aware that bettors don’t put as much stock into those seasonal trends like myself, rather they ride the current wave and that’s certainly understandable. Plus when you look at this matchup based on playoff trends alone, it’s hard to argue against the high side in Game 5.


    As a home favorite, Toronto has watched the ‘over’ cash in four straight and seven of the last 10 games in the postseason. Also, since Toronto broke its playoff drought in 2014, the ‘over’ has gone 15-9 in 25 home playoff games.


    Meanwhile, the Wizards have seen the ‘over’ go 8-0-1 in their last nine playoff games on the road and they only held one team under 100 points, which was the aforementioned victory that Rogers noted above.


    The total for Game 5 was sent out at 214 and that number has been pushed up to 216 as of Tuesday evening. The ‘over’ has gone 3-1 in this series with the lone ‘under’ connecting in Game 4.


    The two teams will head back to D.C. on Friday for Game 6 from Capital One Arena.


    Eastern Conference – Game 5 (Series tied 2-2)
    Indiana at Cleveland (TNT, 7:05 p.m.)



    Even though the Cavaliers opened this series as heavy favorites (-650) over the Pacers (+480), this 4-5 matchup has been next to impossible to predict. Outside of Game 1 when Indiana captured a 98-80 win at Cleveland, the past three games in this series have been complete toss-ups and off the outcomes could’ve been reversed.


    Trailing 2-1 in the series, the Cavaliers faced a must-win situation on Sunday in Game 4 and earned a 104-100 road victory over Indiana as two-point favorites. LeBron James filled up the box score (32 points, 13 rebounds, 7 assists) again and he finally got some help from his cast as Kyle Korver added 18 points. The 'others guys' for the Cavs have been missing so far and only Kevin Love (12 PPG) and J.R. Smith (10 PPG) are averaging double figures for Cleveland in this series.


    Indiana failed to connect again offensively (43%) in Game 4 and they fell in love with jumpers. The club took 33 from 3-point land and their lack of aggression hurt them at the free throw line, where Cleveland doubled-up Indiana 26-13 in attempts.


    Pacers guard Victor Oladipo lived up to his All-Star status in Game 1 with 32 points but he’s been held in check to 19 PPG in the last three and he’s only shooting 35 percent from the field.


    Cleveland opened as a 6 ˝-point home favorite for Game 5 and that’s a slight drop-off from the closing numbers (-7 ˝, -8) in the first two games of this series at Quicken Loans Arena.


    Looking at the eight matchups played between the pair this season, it seems too obvious to take the ‘dog. Indiana has gone 5-3 SU and 6-2 ATS with the losses coming by 7, 3 and 4 points.


    VI’s Rogers provided us with a historical playoff angle that could have you leaning to LeBron and the Cavs in Game 5.


    “Dating back to 2012, LeBron James-led teams own a 4-1 SU and 3-2 ATS record as a home squad in Game 5 of a playoff series tied at 2-2. The only loss came in the 2012 conference finals to the Celtics when James played for the Heat, but Miami eventually won that series. Since returning to Cleveland in 2014, the Cavaliers are 2-0 SU and 1-1 ATS in this situation, as they blew out the Raptors by 38 points in Game 5 at home in the 2016 Eastern finals,” said Rogers.


    In the last three postseasons, the Pacers have only gone 2-7 on the road but they’ve been very competitive with a 7-2 ATS mark. The largest setback came by 11 points.


    Rogers once again shared a solid number on Indiana that should be taken into consideration. He explained, “The Pacers have done a solid job of rebounding off a loss. Since late January, they are 12-2 in the last 14 games off a defeat and that includes Game 3's win in this series.”


    Similar to the point-spread, the opening total of 205 hasn’t seen much movement. The ‘over’ looked like the right side in Game 4 but a weak fourth quarter helped the ‘under’ cash for the fourth consecutive time in this series. Including the regular season, the ‘under’ is 6-1-1 in the eight games between the pair.


    Cavaliers point guard George Hill (back) sat out Game 4 and is listed as ‘questionable’ for Game 5.


    Game 6 will take place on Friday from Indiana.
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