NBA Odds: Wednesday, April 30, 2014 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 4/29/2014
Wednesday's NBA action won't determine any conference semifinals matchups as only Portland can advance among the six teams playing. Here's a look at all three games.
Game 5: Mavericks at Spurs (-6.5, 198.5)
Who could have predicted how interesting this series would be with how dominant San Antonio had been against Dallas entering the postseason? The Spurs looked like they had Game 4 in Dallas under control with a 20-point lead in the second half, but the Mavericks came storming back to tie it. Spurs reserve Boris Diaw hit the key shot, a go-ahead 3-pointer with 32.9 seconds left. The Mavs' Monta Ellis missed a driving layup to tie it with 3.9 seconds left before the Spurs hit two free throws with a second left to ice it. The difference in this game was the bench as San Antonio's outscored Dallas' 50-30. Manu Ginobili had 23 and Diaw 17. The Spurs starters were a combined minus-1. Kawhi Leonard was quiet again and Tony Parker had just 10 points on 5-for-14 from the field. Keep an eye on him for Game 5 as he injured his ankle in Game 4. I can't imagine he doesn't play, but Parker was limping around pretty good.
The Mavs won't be intimidated playing in the AT&T Center considering they won their last game there. Dallas also had the fourth-best road record in the NBA this season. The question is whether point guards Jose Calderon and Devin Harris can take advantage of a gimpy Parker. There's also a chance that Mavericks reserve big man DeJuan Blair is suspended for Game 5. He sort of kicked the Spurs' Tiago Splitter in Game 4 when both were rolling around on the ground. It didn't look intentional, but he was ejected. Blair, a former Spur, had 12 points and 11 rebounds.
Key trends: The Mavericks are 4-0 ATS in their past four after an ATS win. San Antonio is 1-4 ATS in its past five after a win. The "over" is 5-0 in Dallas' past five Wednesday games. The "under" is 5-1 in San Antonio's past six playing on one day of rest. The Mavs are 4-1 ATS in the past five in San Antonio.
Updated Sportsbook.ag series line: Spurs -400, Mavericks +300
Early lean: Take the points.
Game 5: Nets at Raptors (-3, 190.5)
The Miami Heat have to be smiling right now as they can sit back and rest up for a week while this series goes at least six games. That would seem to be a huge advantage, especially against the veteran Nets if they advance. Toronto tied things up with an 87-79 victory in Brooklyn on Sunday. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry combined for 46 points for the Raptors, who blew a 17-point lead before clamping down defensively in the final five minutes of the game. Toronto had lost 13 straight road playoff games.
Paul Pierce was good for the Nets with 22 points on 9-for-14 shooting, but the Brooklyn starting backcourt of Deron Williams, Shaun Livingston and Joe Johnson was lousy, combining for only 26 points on 9-for-26 shooting. They were a combined minus-21. The Nets didn't have a field goal in the final six minutes. Johnson entered Game 4 averaging 23.7 points and 60.5 percent shooting in the first three games. The Raptors made it a point to double-team him often in Game 4. In the Nets' two wins in this series, Williams and Johnson averaged a combined 49.5 points and shot a total of 34-for-64 from the field. Also interesting: in the 77 minutes Kevin Garnett has played in this series, the Nets are plus-21. In the 115 minutes he has sat, they are minus-23. The problem is he can't play more than 22-24 minutes these days.
Key trends: The Nets are 1-5 ATS in their past six after an ATS loss. They are 0-5 ATS in their past five Wednesday games. Toronto is 0-3-2 ATS in its past five at home. The under is 5-2 in Brooklyn's past seven following an ATS loss. The over is 7-1 in the Raptors' past eight at home.
Updated Sportsbook.ag series line: Raptors -115, Nets -105
Early lean: I don't see the Nets losing two straight, so take the points.
Game 5: Trail Blazers at Rockets (-5.5, 214)
This has been a series for the ages with points galore and three overtime games, and it would be a shame if it ends Wednesday -- I am flabbergasted that oddsmakers don't have this total in the 220 range. The lowest-scoring game of the series has been 217 points. The Blazers took a 3-1 series lead with Wednesday's 123-120 overtime home victory. A few things have become clear in this series. First, Portland's LaMarcus Aldridge and Damian Lillard are one of the three-best duos in the NBA. Second, Houston's James Harden might be the worst defensive player in the league.
Expect Houston coach Kevin McHale to start Omer Asik for Terrence Jones a third straight game. Asik is a bit tougher defensive matchup for Aldridge. He totaled 89 points in the first two games and 52 in the past two. Aldridge has still been terrific. That's fine by the Blazers because they don't have to worry about Asik on the offensive end. Houston actually outplayed Portland for much of Game 4, leading by 10 at the half and 11 in the third quarter. If Jeremy Lin hadn't been stripped late in the fourth quarter by Mo Williams, the Rockets might have won.
Key trends: The Blazers are 6-0 ATS in their past six road games. Houston is 1-4 ATS in its past five at home. The over is 7-0 in Portland's past seven overall. The over is 11-1 in Houston's past 12 against teams with a winning record. The road team has covered the past five meetings.
Updated Sportsbook.ag series line: Blazers -550, Rockets +400
Portland already has won twice in Houston in this series. I don't think the Blazers make it three here, but I would take the points in this incredibly even
matchup. And of course the over.
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