It was another busy night in the NBA Playoffs on Tuesday. The Cavs and Celtics closed out their respective series 4-1 in the East, while the Mavs 'stayed alive' in their series with the Spurs with an impressive home win and the Lakers took a 3-2 lead in their series with the Thunder, out West. The common dominator in all games was the continued dominance of home teams this postseason, as all four home teams won last night, going 3-1 ATS. That ups home teams to 28-9 (.757) through 33 games, posting an impressive 25-12 (67.6%) ATS mark. Those following the Zig Zag theory had a big night (4-0 ATS) and are now showing a slight profit at 16-13, or plus-1.7 net games in the 2010 postseason. Three of Wednesday's four games went under, leaving over bettors 18-17-2 after 33 games.
LeBron just missed a triple-double (19-10-9) but by game's end had been held to under 20 points, ending a streak of 24 consecutive postseason games of 20-plus points (it was the longest active streak in the league). James also injured his left elbow, although it's not considered serious. Jamison had 25 points (20 in the first half), while Shaq (14-8) had his best game of the series, Noah did little (8-9) but Deng had 26 (averaged 18.8 PPG for the series) plus Rose finished with 31 points. The second-year PG had some series, averaging 26.8 PPG and 7.2 APG.
The Celtics opened up a 21-point lead in the third quarter last night and while the Heat were able to close within seven points, Boston prevailed 96-86. Allen had 24 points (5-of-6 on threes) while Pierce had 21-7-6. Wade had 33 points (averaged 33.2 PPG for the series) but the other four Heat starters combined for only 21 points. The Heat just couldn't score in Boston, averaging only 79.7 PPG in the three games, shooting just 39.1 percent. The Celtics and Cavs begin their second round series on Saturday. The early number is Cleveland minus-7 1/2 points (total is 193).
Dallas entered the postseason as the West's No. 2 seed. However, after a Game 1 win at home over the Spurs, the Mavs lost three straight (0-3 ATS). Game 5 was all Dallas though, as Butler scored a career playoff-high 35 points (added 11 rebounds) plus Haywood (making his first start of the playoffs at center), scored eight points and grabbed eight rebounds. Is Duncan "running out of gas?" After averaging 25.7 PPG in the first three games of this series, he's averaged only 7.5 the last two games, making just 4-of-18 FGs (22.2 percent). Also note that the Spurs have now made just 9-of-40 (22.5 percent) on three-point FG attempts the last three games. Game 6 is Thursday in San Antonio. Early number is Spurs minus-3 1/2 with a total of 191.
The Lakers 'limped' home to LA after losing both games in Oklahoma City and found themselves tied at two-all vs the Thunder. However, the Lakers were 17-0 all-time in home playoff Game 5s when tied at two-all in a seven-game series. Make that 18-0! Kobe was hardly needed (had just 13), as Gasol continued to dominate with 25 and 11 (19.8-11.0 for the series), Bynum added 21-11 and Artest contributed 14. Westbrook had been unstoppable in the series' first four games but shot just 4-of-13, scoring 15 points. Durant had a series-low 17 and is now averaging 24.8 PPG on 38.0 percent shooting (had averaged 30.1 PPG on 47.6 percent during the regular season). Game 6 is Friday in Oklahoma City (Thunder are minus-1 1/2 and the total is 195).
Two games are on tonight's schedule, with TNT airing both. The Bucks are at the Hawks at 8:05 ET. Atlanta is favored by nine points (total is 192) in a series which has seen the home team go 4-0 SU and ATS (more on this series in yesterday's journal). The nightcap is the Jazz at the Nuggets at 10:35 ET. The Nuggets, like the Mavs, won Game 1 of their series, but then dropped three straight. Will the Nuggets match the Mavs' effort from last night or will the Jazz end Denver's 'pain?' Denver is favored by seven with a total of 215.