NBA Odds: Wednesday, May 7, 2014 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 5/6/2014
Even though both road teams playing Wednesday night in the NBA playoffs, the Wizards and Clippers, won the opening-round games of their conference semifinal series fairly easily, oddsmakers aren't that impressed as they both remain underdogs for Game 2. However, both Washington and Los Angeles, having stolen away home-court advantage, have become series favorites.
Game 2: Wizards at Pacers (-4, 184)
I'm getting rather tired of always talking about Roy Hibbert when it comes to the Pacers, but he continues to be the clear story line when it comes to this maddening team. Many experts thought Hibbert would be much better in this series because the Wizards weren't expected to spread the floor out and play small, not with two good big men in Nene and Marcin Gortat. Well, those two played a combined 68 minutes in Washington's 102-96 Game 1 win, but they did spread things out and got Hibbert out of the paint often defensively. Hibbert finished with a stunning zero points and zero rebounds with two turnovers, five fouls and a game-worst minus-17 rating. Unbelievable. Reportedly veteran teammate David West pulled Hibbert aside and ripped him a new one after the game -- but in a positive way. It's really too bad that Andrew Bynum isn't healthy because he at least might appear to care (might!) and give the team someone to play instead of Hibbert.
The Pacers aren't going to beat Washington getting outrebounded by 17, which they were in Game 1. Or when held to 20 points in the paint, which they also were. Gortat had 15 rebounds, and Drew Gooden, signed off the street not all that long ago, had 13 boards in just 18 minutes. Predictably, Washington's backcourt of Bradley Beal (game-high 25 points along with seven rebounds, seven assists and five steals) and John Wall (19 points, nine assists) were much better than Indiana counterparts Lance Stephenson and George Hill. Shoot, Trevor Ariza was better than Paul George -- that, at least, is unlikely to happen again in Game 2.
On the bright side for Pacers backers, Indiana hasn't lost back-to-back games in a month. The Wizards, though, have won seven straight road games.
Key trends: The Wizards are 9-1 ATS in their past 10 games. They are 7-1 ATS in their past eight after a win. Indiana is 5-0 ATS in its past five after a loss. The "over" is 6-1 in Washington's past seven after a win. The "under" is 9-4 in Indiana's past 13 following a loss.
Updated Sportsbook.ag series line: Wizards -185, Pacers +160
Early lean: Wizards won't shoot 62.5 percent from 3-point range again. Desperate Pacers cover.
Game 2: Clippers at Thunder (-5.5, 214.5)
Not at all surprising that the Clippers went into Oklahoma City and won -- they are my pick to win the West, after all -- but how easy it was? That was shocking. L.A. took the opener 122-105 behind maybe Chris Paul's best shooting game ever. CP3 was 12-for-14 overall and 8-for-9 from 3-point range for 32 points. He hadn't scored 30 since late March, and his previous season high for 3-points made was five (he has never made more than five). L.A. led by 20 or more much of the game, and that allowed Doc Rivers to hold Paul to 28 minutes and Blake Griffin to 31. The Clippers shot 54.9 percent overall, somewhat making up for 17-of-30 from the free-throw line. To try and get back into the game, the Thunder started doing hack-a-(DeAndre) Jordan in the third quarter, and it did work. He was just 1-for-8 from the stripe. Keep an eye on whether Rivers trusts Jordan enough to play him in the fourth quarter of a closer game if he keeps missing those.
As has been the case in pretty much every Thunder loss this postseason, Kevin Durant (25 points) and Russell Westbrook (29) got no help at all. Durant was actually a team-worst minus-26. Bench star Reggie Jackson had just four points, all in the final 2:28 of the game. He averaged 17.5 points on 63 percent shooting in the final four games of the Memphis series. I suppose in a glass-half full scenario, the Thunder know Paul (or the Clippers as a whole) isn't going to shoot like that again. And OKC did dominate on the boards. Perhaps Durant will have a monster game Wednesday in the wake of winning his first NBA MVP Award on Tuesday.
Key trends: The Clippers have covered only two of their past eight following a win of at least 10 points. They are 1-4 ATS in their past five after a win. OKC has covered once in its past five after a loss. The over is 7-2 in L.A.'s past nine road games. The over is 6-1 in the past seven meetings in OKC.
Updated Sportsbook.ag series line: Clippers -155, Thunder +135
For sure love the "over." We should know right away if the Clippers are satisfied they already got one game. Plus, I'm sure the Thunder do something before
the game to honor Durant's MVP, and the crowd will be jacked up. OKC wins (-225 on moneyline) but take the points.
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