There was plenty excitement in last night’s games, as the Heat needed overtime to take a 3-1 lead in their series against the Celtics while the Thunder and Grizzlies went three overtimes before settling their Game 4 and leaving the series tied at two-all. Both home teams lost, making them are 9-7 SU and ATS in the second round, after going 32-11 SU and just 17-23-3 ATS in the first round. The Celtics lost as a home underdog, dropping home dogs to 7-5-1 ATS this postseason. Home favorites fell to 19-25-2 ATS, meaning all favorites are 24-32-3 ATS. Under bettors went 26-17 (60.5 percent) in the first round but it’s been a delight for over bettors in the second round. Both games went over Monday night, making it 12 overs and just four unders in the second round. Those following the Zig-Zag Theory won with both the Heat and Thunder last night, moving to 21-23-3 ATS (minus-4.3 net games) this postseason with a play tonight on Chicago.
Monday recap: Can a team win an NBA title with just three players? We may find out the Heat are going to do just that. LBJ had 35-14-3 last night, Wade 28-9-4 and Bosh 20-12. Miami’s other two starters each had four points and the bench contributed a grand total of seven points. Miami’s “Big 3” accounted for 83 of the team's 98 points, or 84.7 percent. As for Boston’s “Big 3,” Pierce had 27 (but missed the potential game-winner at the buzzer), Allen a modest 17 (he’s now averaged a ‘quiet’ 13.0 PPG on 11-of-30 shooting the last three games) and KG went from 28 & 14 in Game 3 to 7 & 10 last night on 1-of-10 shooting. Rondo bravely played 38 minutes with his injury while Shaq gave another Herculean-type performance in his four scoreless and rebound-less minutes while committing two fouls. I wonder which team will sign him next year, to help “put them over the top?”
The win was HUGE for Miami. Wade and the Heat had lost 11 straight regular-season and playoff games in Boston while James had lost 13 of 15, 10 with Cavs (including the one that ended his Cleveland career) plus three this year with the Heat (including Game 3 of this series). The Celtics scored 31 points in the first quarter but then just 59 points the remainder of the game, including 13 in the fourth quarter and four points in OT where the team turned the ball over four times while making just one of six shots. Incredibly, Miami’s ”Big 3” scored the team’s final 31 points, after Joel Anthony made a layup with 54.6 seconds remaining in the 3rd quarter. Maybe the Heat can win the championship with just three players?
The Thunder and Grizzlies put on quite a show last night. Memphis trailed 70-54 in the late third quarter of Game 3 but sent the game into OT by outscoring the Thunder 23-10 in the 4th quarter and then outscored Oklahoma City 15-7 in the OT period. Last night, it was the Grizzlies who took an 18-point lead in the second quarter. However, Memphis would have to rally from 10 down in the fourth quarter to force OT. The game would go to a third OT (just the sixth playoff game in NBA history to go to three overtimes) where the Grizzlies would run out of energy, making just 1-of-9 from the floor and getting outscored 14-4 (final was 133-123). Westbrook had 40-5-5 for Oklahoma City with Durant adding 35-13. Zach Randolph had 35 & 13 and Gasol 26 & 21 for Memphis, becoming just the fourth pair of teammates in NBA playoff history to have 30-point, 15-rebound plus 20-point, 20-rebound games in the same contest
The Bulls will host the Hawks tonight in Chicago at 8:05 ET on TNT with the series tied at two-all. Note that of the previous 159 series tied at two-all in NBA playoff history (Portland/Dallas and New Orleans/LA Lakers were tied at two-all in this year’s first round), the Game 5 winner has gone on to win just under 84 percent of the those best-of-seven series. Rose is averaging 29.4 PPG in the postseason for Chicago with Deng (16.4) the only other Bull averaging more than 11 points. Johnson leads the Hawks with 19.2 PPG and Crawford comes off the bench to average 17.5. Smith (14.7-9.0) and Horford (11.7-10.1) have been solid up front plus Hinrich averaged 10.2 PPG while starting at PG, before going down with an injury. Teague has stepped in to start the last four games, averaging 40-plus minutes, 16.0 PPG and 3.8 APG while shooting 52.0 percent. The Bulls are favored by 8 1/2 points and the total is 181.