The Memphis/Oklahoma City series was the only one of this postseason’s first two rounds (12) to go the distance. The Thunder won that game 105-90, as home teams moved to 86-21 in Game 7s all-time in NBA playoff history (58-14 since the ABA/NBA merger in 1976-77). The Thunder had a quick turnaround, as they opened the Western Conference finals against the Mavs last night, who hadn’t played since ‘sweeping’ the Lakers out of this year’s postseason back on May 8. The Mavs beat the Lakers 122-86 in that game, converting 60.3 percent from the floor, including making a record-tying 20 three-pointers (on 32 attempts). The Mavs were 9-of-23 from behind the arc last night but made 53.4 percent of their shots overall plus 34-of-36 FTs to score 121 points (not much rust, after all).
Dirk Nowitzki scored 48 points, converting 12-of-15 FGs plus 24-of-24 free throws, which set an NBA playoff record for most consecutive FTs made without a miss in a single game (Pierce was 21-of21 for the Celtics back in 2003 vs the Pacers). The 48 points is the most by any player this postseason and two shy of his own personal playoff high. Terry, the team's second-leading scorer in both the regular and postseason, added 24 while Barea, showing no ill-effect from Bynum’s “cheap shot,” scored 21. Kevin Durant, who scored 39 points in Oklahoma City’s Game 7 win last Sunday, scored 40 points (he was 18-of-19 on FTs), joining Nowitzki in becoming just the third set of opposing players to have scored at least 40 points in Game 1 of a playoff series in NBA history. Westbrook, the second-half of the Thunder’s “Dynamic Duo” had 20 points but made only 3-of-15 FGs while adding just three rebounds and three assists.
Dallas’ 121-112 win was its seventh consecutive postseason win this year, upping the team's record to 9-2 SU and 11-0 ATS in this year’s playoffs. The Mavs are actually on a 15-game ATS winning streak, if one goes back to the end of the regular season. Home teams were 46-19 SU and 31-31-3 ATS through the first two rounds of this postseason but have opened 2-0 SU and ATS in the conference finals with wins by Chicago and Dallas in their respective Game 1s. Both of the Game 1s went over, as overs are now just one behind unders (33-34), through this year’s 67 postseason games. Those following the Zig-Zag Theory are 24-26-3 ATS (minus-4.6 net games) so far, and have a play on Miami tonight.
The Eastern Conference finals resume tonight with the Miami in Chicago at 8:35 ET on TNT. Game 1 winners have won 78.6 percent of all best-of-7 series in NBA playoffs history, so both the Heat and Thunder will have their work cut out for themselves. The Bulls dominated the Heat on the boards 45-33 in Game 1 of the series, grabbing 19 on the offensive end which led to them outscoring the Heat 31-8 on second-chance points. Rose led with 28 points, Deng added 21, Boozer 14 & 9 and Noah 9 & 14. The Chicago bench scored 28 points.
Miami’s “Big 3” accounted for 83 of the team's 98 points (84.7 percent) in its Game 4 win at Boston and when the Heat closed out the Celtics back in Miami in Game 5, the “Big 3” accounted for 81 of Miami’s 97 points (83.5 percent). Bosh, LBJ and Wade accounted for a total of just 63 points in Game 1 vs Chicago, as the team’s other two starters (Anthony and Bibby) added four points in 54 minutes while the bench contributed 15 points (13 less than Chicago’s). Bosh had by far the best game (30 & 9) while LBJ made 5-of-15 shots (15-6-6) and Wade 7-of 17 (18-3-3). We hear all the time about making adjustments in postseason series and clearly Miami head coach Erik Spoelstra will have to come up with something new both offensively and defensively. The Bulls are favored by 2 1/2 points and the total is 181 1/2.