Home teams won all three games last night, going 2-0-1 ATS. Home teams are 24-9 SU but just 12-19-2 ATS through 33 games of this year’s first round. That’s in stark contrast to last year, when home teams went 32-13 SU for the entire first round, including a money-making 29-16 ATS. Home favorites have been just awful so far this postseason, going 6-16-1 ATS but home dogs have more than held their own, going 6-3-1. Doing the math, that leaves all favorites a ‘money-burning’ 9-22-2 ATS. All eight games went under the total over the weekend and two of the three stayed under again last night. That gives under bettors a 22-11 record after 33 games.
The Spurs find themselves in deep “you know what,” after losing 104-89 last night in Memphis. Only five previous 60-win teams (Spurs won 61 this regular season) have been eliminated in the first round in NBA playoff history. The Spurs led 50-48 at the half last night but Memphis opened the third quarter on a 14-0 run, finishing the quarter by outscoring San Antonio 30-15. The Spurs finished the game with their starters on the bench for the final 5:43, as Popovich was already looking ahead to Game 5. It was a very unhappy 35th birthday for Tim Duncan, who had only six points. The Spurs now have lost 15 of their last 18 postseason road games. In the first three games of this series, Randolph and Gasol combined to score 40.9 percent of the Grizzlies' total points but in Game 4 they combined for just 20 of the team's 104 points (19.2 percent), as nine Grizzlies scored between eight and 15 points.
The Mavs led the Blazers just 44-43 at the half in Game 5 but outscored Portland 31-20 in the third quarter of a 93-82 win. Nowitzki had 25 points and eight rebounds, Terry added 20 off the bench but the surprising hero was Tyson Chandler, who had 14 points plus 20 rebounds. Brandon Roy, who scored 24 points in Game 4, made just 2-of-7 shots and was held to seven points in 26 minutes. Roy has now made just 3-of-15 shots for nine total points in Games 1, 2 and 5 in Dallas while converting on 15-of-23 in Games 3 and 4 up in Portland, scoring 40 points (18 coming in the fourth quarter of Game 4, alone). Note that of the previous 157 series tied at two-all, the Game 5 winner has gone on to win 83 percent of the those best-of-seven series.
No NBA team has ever come back to win a best-of-seven series after falling behind 0-3 but the Nuggets refused to give up in Game 4 last night, winning 104-101. Lawson scored a playoff career-high 27 points for Denver plus Smith (15 points) and Felton (11 points) were huge off the bench. Durant led Oklahoma City with 31 points plus Westbrook added 30. However, the former UCLA Bruin went 0-7 from behind the arc. The Thunder had beaten the Nuggets five times in a span of just 18 days after their Game 3 win but the Nuggets will ‘live to fight another day,’ after upping their home mark to 12-2 SU (10-3-1 ATS) since trading Carmelo (both losses have come at the hands of the Thunder).
Those following the Zig-Zag Theory went 1-1-1 last night and now find themselves 9-14-2 (minus-6.4 net games) for the 2011 postseason. This is not new, as it's headed for its sixth straight losing postseason ATS (last winning year was 2005, when the Zig-Zag Theory went 37-31-1 ATS). Tonight’s plays (or maybe, sides to stay away from?) would be on the Magic, the Bulls and the Lakers. Orlando hosts Atlanta on the NBA Network at 7:35 ET. The Magic are down 3-1 but are favored at home by 7 1/2 points, despite the Hawks going 4-0 ATS in this series and 8-0 ATS on the year vs the Magic (total is 177 1/2). TNT’s doubleheader starts at 8:05 ET in Chicago, where the Bulls (up 3-1) are favored nine points (Chicago is 0-3-1 ATS in this series) with a total of 186. The nightcap features the two-time defending champs hosting the Hornets at 10:35 ET at Staples Center. The series is tied at two-all (Hornets are 3-1 ATS) and LA is favored by 10 1/2 points (total is 183.)