Thursday Playoff Tips
May 15, 2013
By Kevin Rogers
The two road teams taking the court on Thursday night need just one victory to advance to the conference finals. The Pacers' defense stifled the Knicks in two home blowouts, while the Spurs are slowly getting their act together against the upstart Warriors. We'll start in the Big Apple with New York trying to shake things up and save its season.
Pacers at Knicks - 8:05 PM EST - TNT
It seemed like Miami and New York were on a collision course to meet in the Eastern Conference Finals. The Heat will be there for a third straight postseason, but the Knicks are pulling up lame at the moment, sitting one loss away from elimination. New York should be thrilled to be heading back to Madison Square Garden, as the Atlantic Division need to find its scoring touch after two subpar performances in the Hoosier State.
Following a 71-point output in Saturday's Game 3 setback, Mike Woodson's team fell short again in Monday's Game 4 defeat at Indiana, 93-82 as five-point underdogs. The game finished 'under' the total of 179 ½ in spite of a 52-point barrage in the fourth quarter. Both the Pacers and Knicks each converted 31 shots from the floor, but New York managed to attempt 11 more shots, while hitting just 35%. The volume shooters known as Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith combined to shoot 16-of-45 from the field, as the Knicks never led once in the loss.
The Pacers pretty much held a double-digit advantage in the second half, led by George Hill's game-high 26 points on an efficient 9-of-14 shooting. Paul George, David West, and Roy Hibbert each pulled down double-digit rebounds, as George continued to shine in the postseason with 18 points. Indiana improved to 5-0 SU/ATS in the playoffs at Bankers Life Fieldhouse, as all five victories have come by at least 11 points.
The series shifts back to MSG as the Knicks own a 1-2 SU/ATS record the last three home games after a 12-game winning streak from early March through Game 2 of the first round. Indiana has covered five of its last six following consecutive losses at Atlanta in the opening round, as the Pacers have limited their opponents to 95 points or less in seven of 10 postseason contests.
Spurs at Warriors - 10:35 PM EST - TNT
Through the first two games of this series, Golden State sat in the driver's seat after grabbing a split in Texas. However, the Spurs managed to win one of two games at tough Oracle Arena to flip the home-court advantage back in San Antonio's favor. Following Monday's decisive home victory, the Spurs are back on track to return to the conference finals for the second straight season.
Stephen Curry helped lead Golden State's rally to capture Game 4 in overtime, but the sharpshooting guard was limited to nine points on 4-of-14 shooting in a 109-91 setback in Game 5. The Spurs easily cashed as seven-point favorites, while nailing the 'over' for the first time since back in the Game 1 double-overtime thriller. The only three Warriors that finished in double-figures was the unlikely trio of Harrison Barnes, Jarrett Jack, and Carl Landry, who combined for 61 points.
The Spurs found their groove offensively by shooting 51% from the floor, including a smooth 7-of-8 from Kawhi Leonard for 17 points. Tony Parker proved to be the best guard on the floor by scoring a team-high 25 points, while San Antonio drilled 10 three-pointers in the win. San Antonio now needs to find some consistency, as neither team has won consecutive games in this series.
After covering each of its first eight playoff games, Mark Jackson's club owns a 1-2 SU/ATS record the last three contests. The Warriors have compiled a 4-1 ATS mark at Oracle Arena in the playoffs, with the lone defeat coming to the Spurs in Game 3. San Antonio has put together a 3-8 SU and 4-7 ATS mark the previous 11 away contests, but the Spurs have limited the Lakers and Warriors to 92 points or less in regulation in four road playoff games.
You can reach Kevin Rogers via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
Kevin Rogers can be followed on Twitter at virogers.
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