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Friday's NBA Action

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Miami and Golden State Rise Up
 
“Rise up” might be Oklahoma City’s slogan of inspiration in the post season, but Miami and Golden State are living it right now. Both teams exploded on Wednesday to even their semifinals series and the good times should continue to roll. Let’s break down the pair of Game 3’s on Friday night’s NBA playoff betting board.
 
Miami Heat -7 over CHICAGO BULLS
Friday, May 10 (ESPN, 8:05 p.m. ET)
 
The Miami Heat didn’t take their first playoff loss in these NBA playoffs very well. After being buried by Chicago in Game 1, the Heat responded by tormenting their opponents with a 115-78 thrashing that reminded everyone of how good they are. Some people were willing to bet against Miami in Game 2. Are you feeling lucky for Game 3?
 
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The staggering element in Miami’s win wasn’t just that they won by 37 points. LeBron James had his “worst” game of the post season with just 19 points, 5 rebounds and 9 assists over 30 minutes. He didn’t really need to do much work because Chicago was lifeless in Game 2, but the rest of the Miami Heat played overwhelmingly well. Ray Allen led the way with 21 points and five other players (including James) scored in double digits.
 
If you think that Chicago is going to use their home court advantage, you should probably guess again. Miami’s daunting 20-6 ATS record in their last 26 road games makes this one an easy call. Beyond that, Miami is 11-3 ATS in their last 14 games overall. Hiccups like Game 1 will happen, and blowouts like Game 2 are going to be more frequent. Miami knows how important gaining rest is going to be so they’re going to want to put the Bulls in to an early grave.
 
Chicago will remain without Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich, who would be massive assets to NBA playoff betting circles if they were healthy but even if they manage to make it on to the floor, they won’t be able to save their team. Deng and Hinrich are not the toughest players in the league and they need to be 100-percent healthy to have big impacts. A strained calf will slow Hinrich down on the defensive end, while Deng’s injury (a complication from a spinal tap) will destroy his body overall. It’s impossible to put faith in the Bulls just because of those two potentially coming back.
 
It doesn’t help that Chicago is 2-6 ATS in their last 8 home games. Miami will make short work as they chew the Bulls apart. It’s not impossible for a hero to emerge from Chicago’s bench, but that’s not a reliable betting commodity with such a generous line being handed to the road favorites.
 
Bet Miami to destroy Chicago and continue to surge their way through the Eastern Conference.
 
GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS -2 over San Antonio Spurs
Friday, May 10 (ESPN, 10:35 p.m. ET)
 
After a heartbreaking loss to San Antonio in the first game of the series, Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson came back with a barrage of scoring that left the Spurs in a hole they couldn’t dig themselves out of. Curry got back on the horse with 22 points but it was Klay Thompson who was easily the best of the night. His 34 points and 14 rebounds was a well deserved breakthrough performance, and was a fantastic way for him to respond for his poor fouling in Game 1.
 
I think that the most underrated element of this series is the coaching battle. Greg Popovich is perhaps the greatest coach in the league right now, but you can’t dismiss how amazing Mark Jackson is, especially after losing a key starter like David Lee. Jackson knew he almost blew Game 1 when he reacted to the Spurs’ frontcourt and started Festus Ezeli. Sometimes you justifiably adjust your lineup against great teams, but Jackson realized that the best way to play this series was to amplify his team’s strengths.
 
Jackson went smaller in Game 2 and saw his team march out to an early 62-48 lead at the half. The Spurs had to deal with the constant threats of Draymond Green and Harrison Barnes, who had decent games but had no way of covering the perimeter completely. That’s how Curry and Thompson exploded on Wednesday night.
 
San Antonio played a strong game, but was murdered by the sad sack effort of their bench which totaled just 15 points in Game 2 (in this case, I substitute Manu as a legitimate starter since he played 28 minutes even though Bonner started the game). The bench is a necessary element in San Antonio’s game plan because they can’t play Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobli for max minutes due to age. They need their young guns like Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green to step up in this series.
 
That will be difficult in the insanely loud Oracle Arena on Friday night. San Antonio’s road record is atrocious, and they’re also just 7-17 ATS in their last 24 games overall. They may be a bet-off team down the stretch since they’re also 1-11 ATS in their last 12 games against teams with winning records. Everyone in the Western Conference semifinals have winning records.
 
It also helps matters that Golden State is 4-0 ATS in their last 4 home games, 10-1 ATS in their last 11 games following a cover, and a perfect 5-0 ATS in games following a day of rest.

  
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