NBA Odds and Predictions: Wednesday, May 13 Opening Line Report and Handicapping
by Alan Matthews - 5/12/2015
So what would be the equivalent NBA suspension that the NFL handed out to Patriots star quarterback Tom Brady on Monday for his role in "deflategate"? I guess it would be about 20 regular-season games (25 percent of the season) for Cleveland's LeBron James if we agree that Brady is the biggest star in the NFL (could make a case for Peyton Manning). Although no one wants to play with a partially deflated basketball! Thankfully, we are guaranteed that neither of Wednesday's two playoff series will end before a Game 6, with both home clubs looking to take a 3-2 edge. The longer these series go the better. The Wednesday doubleheader is on TNT.
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Wizards at Hawks (-9, 199.5)
Obviously the oddsmakers aren't expecting Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall to play here or this spread would be smaller. I would be moderately surprised if he does as well. He has missed the past three games -- listed as questionable -- after suffering five non-displaced fractures in his left hand and wrist during Game 1 of the series May 3. Washington won without him in Saturday's Game 3 thanks to a truly lucky Paul Pierce banked-in buzzer-beater -- although I must admit it was awesome when Pierce was asked on TV after if he called bank and Pierce said "I called game." Someone has to make that phrase into a T-shirt. Pierce had another shot to play the hero in Monday's Game 4 but missed a 3-pointer that would have tied the score with 9.5 seconds left. Atlanta hit a few free throws for the final tally of 106-101.
The Hawks really deserved to win as they were the much more aggressive team to start, scoring 65 first-half points. Point guard Jeff Teague finally had his breakout game of the series with 26 points, eight assists and four rebounds. Al Horford (18 points, 10 rebounds) and Paul Millsap (19 points, six assists and five rebounds) also both had strong games, making up for the struggles of DeMarre Carroll (five points) and Kyle Korver (six points). Carroll says he has a hip pointer injury. Bradley Beal had a big game with 34 points, seven assists and six rebounds for Washington, but Ramon Sessions, Wall's replacement, was just 5-for-14 form the field for 13 points and the Wizards were outscored by a point with him on the floor. The Wizards' bench had just 17 points. Otto Porter and Drew Gooden were a combined 2-for-10. Porter came into the night averaging 14 points in this series.
Updated series line: Hawks -550, Wizards +445.
Key trends: Washington is 4-0-1 against the spread in its past five after a loss. The Hawks are 1-4-1 ATS in their past six after a win. The "over/under" has gone over in four of Washington's past five after scoring 100 points or more in their previous game. The over is 7-1 in the past eight meetings in Atlanta.
Early lean: Hawks will win, but that's too many points. Go over.
Grizzlies at Warriors (-10, 195)
Order has been restored in this series as after losing Games 2 and 3, the Warriors took Game 4 in Memphis 101-84 on Monday. It's no coincidence that the Warriors have won the two games in this series easily when they scored in triple digits but lost the two they didn't. The Grizzlies had done a great job on Steph Curry and Klay Thompson in their two wins, but Curry went off for 33 points, eight rebounds and five assists on Monday. He scored a series-high nine points in transition. Thompson was still a bit off, making only 6-for-15 for 15 points.
What Golden State clearly focused on in Game 4 defensively was essentially allowing Memphis to shoot 3-pointers (not a good perimeter team) and focus more on doubling up in the paint on big men Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph more as that's clearly the advantage Memphis has. For example, Warriors center Andrew Bogut started the game guarding Tony Allen but essentially left him open for jumpers to help down low. The Grizz shot a season-low 39.3 percent from the paint. Gasol had 19 points and 10 rebounds but was minus-18. Randolph had 12 points and 11 boards but was minus-21. It was the first loss of these playoffs for Memphis with Mike Conley in the lineup. That mask maybe bothered him for the first time on Monday as Conley was only 4-for-15 from the field. Allen made only 2-for-9, so the Warriors letting those guys fire away clearly worked (Grizzlies 4-for-18 from long range).
Updated series line: Warriors -700, Grizzlies +535.
Key trends: Memphis is 5-0-1 ATS in its past six after a loss. Golden State is 8-3 ATS in its last 11 games following a SU win of more than 10 points. The under is 5-0 in the Grizzlies' past five following a loss of more than 10 points. The under is 7-0 in the Warriors' past seven following a win of more than 10 points.
Early lean: Same as above -- Warriors win but too many points. Go under.
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