Wednesday's Playoff Tips
April 30, 2014
By Kevin Rogers
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Mavericks at Spurs (6 ½, 198 ½) – 7:05 PM EST – TNT
Game 5 – Series tied at 2-2
The Spurs escaped American Airlines Center with a 93-89 victory to even up their series at two games apiece with the rival Mavericks on Monday. San Antonio made its mark in an impressive second quarter showing, outscoring Dallas, 32-13 to build a 20-point advantage. The Mavs rallied back in the second half, but fell short, while picking up a backdoor cover as 4 ½-point home underdogs to cash for the fourth time in this series.
San Antonio’s bench came through in the Game 4 victory, scoring 50 points, including a game-high 23 points from Manu Ginobili. Following an exciting, high-scoring affair in Game 3, Sunday’s Game 4 finished ‘under’ the total of 200, as San Antonio’s defense stepped up after allowing 113 points in Game 2 and 109 points in Game 3 of this series. Now, the series shifts back to the AT&T Center in San Antonio, where the Spurs have won 15 of their past 16 games.
Of course the lone loss came to the Mavericks in Game 2 of this series, but San Antonio enters Wednesday’s action at 0-6 ATS the last six games. Since early January, Dallas owns an outstanding 9-1 SU and 6-4 ATS record off a home loss, while Rick Carlisle’s club has compiled a 12-1-1 ATS ledger on the road in the postseason since 2011.
Nets at Raptors (-3 ½, 191) – 7:35 PM EST – NBA TV
Game 5 – Series tied at 2-2
These two division rivals have alternated wins and losses through the first four games of this series, as Toronto can seize control tonight by taking advantage of home-court. The Raptors held off the Nets to grab Game 4 at the Barclays Center, 87-79, in spite of blowing an early 17-point lead. Toronto used a late 14-2 run to snap a 13-game road losing streak in the playoffs, while covering as a four-point underdog.
The favorite has not cashed through the first four games of this series, posting an 0-3-1 ATS record. The constant in this series for the Raptors has been their leading scorer DeMar DeRozan, who paced Toronto with 24 points in Game 4. Only two other Raptors put up double-figures in Game 4, but the Nets’ offense disappeared at key times as Joe Johnson was limited to seven points on 2-of-7 shooting, while Brooklyn converted only 4-of-20 attempts from three-point range.
Toronto hasn’t performed well against the number as a home favorite off a road win of late, putting together an 0-5-1 ATS record in the last six in this situation. In spite of the low-scoring contest in Game 4, the Raptors have been an ‘over’ machine recently at the Air Canada Center, going 9-2 to the ‘over’ the last 11 at home. The Nets are riding a dreadful 1-7-1 ATS record the past nine contests, while compiling a 2-4-1 ATS mark the last seven in the role of a road underdog.
Blazers at Rockets (-5 ½, 213 ½) – 9:35 PM EST – TNT
Game 5 – Portland leads series, 3-1
Everybody figured this series was going to be probably the most competitive of all the first round matchups and its lived up to the billing. Portland and Houston have needed overtime in three of the first four games of this series, as the Blazers held off the Rockets in Game 4, 123-120. Houston cashed as four-point underdogs, while the game sailed ‘over’ the total for the fourth time in the series and eighth time in eight meetings this season.
The Blazers depended on their starters to lift them to the commanding 3-1 series edge in Game 4, as four starters put up at least 21 points, led by LaMarcus Aldridge’s 29 points. The Rockets actually put up their best shooting performance of the series in spite of the loss, knocking down 48% of their attempts from the floor, as unheralded Troy Daniels contributed 17 points off the bench. James Harden paced the Rockets with a team-high 28 points, but his shooting struggles continued, which included an 0-for-5 performance from downtown.
The underdog owns a perfect 4-0 ATS record in this series, while the Blazers have covered three of four visits to the Toyota Center this season. Portland continues to stay hot over the last month, winning 12 of its past 14 games, as the Blazers enter tonight’s action with a 5-1 ATS record the previous six contests as a road underdog. The Rockets have put together a 7-1 mark to the ‘over’ since December at home off an away loss, while Houston has scored at least 100 points in 17 straight contests at the Toyota Center.
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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