NBA Odds: Tuesday, May 13, 2014 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 5/12/2014
Suddenly all looks right in Pacer-land as Indiana can finish off Washington in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals on Tuesday night and then get a few extra days rest, at a minimum, than the Heat-Nets series winner would have in a conference finals matchup. Indiana's East title odds have shrunk to +220, with Miami still the sizable favorite at -260 on Sportsbook.ag.
Game 5: Wizards at Pacers (-5, 181)
It's really quite amazing the transformation Roy Hibbert has undergone in the past three games as he has been the clear difference in Indiana winning three straight over Washington to put a hammerlock on this series. Hibbert had another solid outing in the Game 4 95-92 victory with 17 points, nine rebounds and two blocks. He is shooting 22-for-34 from the field in the past three. Hibbert is clearly making an impact defensively as well as Washington hasn't sniffed triple-figures since winning 102-96 in the series opener. If Hibbert keeps playing like that and Paul George (playoff career-high 39 points, 12 rebounds) like he did Sunday there's no reason why Indiana can't beat the Heat in the next round -- I'm presuming they eliminate Brooklyn eventually. The Heat have no one to deal with Hibbert especially. If there remains one worry for the Pacers it's how bad the bench has been. That group was outscored 32-2 in Game 4. Indiana didn't practice Monday because all five starters played at least 37 minutes. George went 47.
Washington certainly will be kicking itself if eliminated as it could have and probably should have won Game 4. It was up 19 early in the third quarter and up six with five minutes left. You just can't blow a big lead at home like that. It's part of the learning experience of playoff basketball, and Washington will be that much more dangerous next season for it. Washington has now lost 12 games this season when holding a double-digit lead. I'm not sure what happened to Marcin Gortat on Sunday as he had only four points and three rebounds in 21 invisible minutes. John Wall wasn't very good, either, with 12 points, five turnovers and a rating of minus-21. He passed up an open 3-pointer late in the game, instead passing to Bradley Beal, who missed. Wall's confidence looks shaky as he has struggled with his shot all series.
Key trends: The Pacers are 8-22 ATS in their past 30 after a win. They have covered only four of their past 17 at home. The "over" is 8-3 in Washington's past 11. The over is 5-2-1 in Indiana's past eight following an ATS win. The "under" is 6-1 in the past seven meetings at Indiana.
Updated Sportsbook.ag series line: Pacers -1600, Wizards +1000
Early lean: Blowing Game 4 will take all the wind out of Washington's sails. Pacers cover and move on.
Game 5: Clippers at Thunder (-5.5, 212.5)
If Oklahoma City loses this series to the Clippers, and I believe Coach Scott Brooks will be fired if they do, the Thunder will point to blowing Game 4, a 101-99 Clippers home win Sunday and really one of the most entertaining games you will ever see. L.A. likely saved its season by rallying from a 22-point first-half deficit and 14-point hole in the fourth quarter. In fact, the Clippers trailed the whole way until the final 1:23. Off the bench, Darren Collison was terrific with eight of his 18 points in the final 2:58. The L.A. bench had 40 points, a series high. There have now been three comeback wins from at least a 20-point hole in NBA history and the Clippers have been in all of them, winning two. Down by 14 with 8:44 left, Doc Rivers went to a small lineup of Collison, Chris Paul, Jamal Crawford, Danny Granger and Blake Griffin (who had five fouls). From that point on the Clippers scored 33 points and shot 12-of-15 from the field.
Russell Westbrook, not Kevin Durant, attempted the potential winning 3-pointer as time expired. That just makes no sense. Durant had a team-high 40 points but has struggled from long range in the playoffs. He was only 1-for-7 from behind the arc Sunday. Durant didn't get off a single shot in the final 1:56 of the game. Maybe he's just too "nice" to demand the ball. Rivers shifted Paul to guard Durant for that quarter, and it worked even though Paul gives up some nine inches in height. Durant had five points and three turnovers in the fourth. The Clippers were only 3-for-21 from 3-point range, and they aren't going to win many other games shooting that poorly. They are going to need more from J.J. Redick and Matt Barnes to win this series. They combined for six points and 2-for-14 shooting in Game 4. It was Redick's second straight lousy game.
Key trends: The Clippers are 1-5 ATS in their past six road games. The Thunder are 4-1 ATS in their past five after allowing 100 or more points in their previous game. The over is 6-1 in OKC's past seven following an ATS win. The underdog has covered five of the past six meetings.
Updated Sportsbook.ag series line: Thunder -185, Clippers +160
Early lean: Thunder win but it should go right down to the wire again so take the points.
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