Home teams went 32-13 SU for the entire first round last season, including a money-making 29-16 ATS. However, as the new week opened, they sat 21-9 SU and a woeful 10-19-1 ATS. Home favorites had been just awful, going 5-16 ATS while home dogs were holding their own going 5-3-1. Things have changed quickly, as after home teams went 3-0 SU and 2-0-1 ATS on Monday, they made it a clean 3-0 SU and ATS sweep last night. Home teams are now 27-9 SU in the 2011 playoffs, although they are still a losing proposition ATS, coming in at 15-19-2. All three home teams were favored last night, improving the record of home favorites this postseason to 9-16-1 ATS. Home dogs are a solid 6-3-1 ATS, meaning all favorites this postseason still check in at a ‘money-burning’ 12-22-1 ATS.
All eight games went under the total over the weekend and two of the three stayed under Monday night. However, two of three games went over last night (Atl/Orl just barely stayed under), which gives under bettors a solid 23-13 record after 36 games this postseason. Those following the Zig-Zag Theory entered last night’s play just 9-14-2 (minus-6.4 net games) for the 2011 postseason. This was not exactly news, 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). However, wins by the Magic, Bulls and Lakers made it a 3-0 sweep for “Zig-Zaggers,” upping this year’s postseason mark to 12-14-2 (minus-3.4 net games). Wednesday’s plays would be on Miami, San Antonio and Oklahoma City, all three home teams. Can that work a second straight night?
Tuesday recap: Dwight Howard was averaging 32.3 PPG and 17.5 RPG on 66.7 percent shooting for the Magic but the rest of the team was shooting a collective 33.5 percent from the floor, including 21.9 percent on threes. It was no surprise that the Hawks led 3-1. So what happens in Game 5? Howard takes just four shots (makes one) while scoring eight points and pulling down eight rebounds. However, the Magic win, 101-76. Jason Richardson lead the starters with 17 points but Orlando's bench scored 49 points, after totaling only 69 through the first four games. Crawford was averaging 24.0 PPG off the bench but scored just eight points (2-8 FGs) while Johnson (averaging 20.0 PPG thru four games) scored five points for the Hawks, on 12-of-12 shooting. Atlanta had been 8-0 ATS vs the Magic this year (regular and postseason). Is this a series now?
The No.1-seeded Bulls had their hands full with the Pacers in the first four games of this series, winning the first three games by a combined 15 points and then losing Game 4, 89-84. However, Chicago had no such trouble in Game 5 last night. The Bulls led by as many as 14 points in the first half and never trailed. The 54-47 halftime lead was their the first of the series and then they ended the third quarter on a 23-8 run to blow the game open (Bulls won 116-89). Rose had 25 points to finish the series averaging 27.6-4.6-6.2 but where’s Carlos Boozer, the team’s most experienced playoff performer? He had two points last night in 16 minutes and averaged 10.0 PPG on 35.8 percent shooting for the series. Trouble ahead?
The Hornets jumped out to a 32-23 lead at the end of the first quarter (Hornets shot 81.3 percent in the first) last night in LA but the Lakers caught them by halftime (led 54-51). They then put New Orleans away in the second half, pulling away for a 106-90 win. Kobe played 29 minutes on his bad ankle but scored 19 points on 8-of-13 shooting. However, the big news (pardon the pun) was, the Lakers size and length finally dominated. The Lakers outscored the Hornets 42-30 in the paint, had a 15-3 advantage in offensive rebounds and a 22-2 advantage in second-chance points. Bynum had 18 & 10, Gasol 16 & 8 and Odom 13 & 7. As noted yesterday, 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. That’s not good news for the underdog Hornets, who shot just 39.2 percent after the first quarter. Ariza had 22 points, Belinelli 21 and Paul 20 but it was not nearly enough.
Wednesday’s games: The TNT doubleheader is Philadelphia at Miami (7:05 ET) and Denver at Oklahoma City (9:35 ET). In between, the Spurs host the Grizzlies at 8:35 ET on the NBA Network. The 76ers outscored the Heat 10-0 in the final 82 seconds of Sunday’s Game 4 at Philadelphia, avoiding a four-game sweep. Can they send this series back to Philly? The Heat are favored by 10 1/2 points with a total of 185 1/2. The Thunder had beaten the Nuggets five times in a span of just 18 days after their Game 3 win but the Nuggets won 104-101 on Monday night in Game 4, forcing a Game 5. The Thunder heavily rely on their one-two ‘punch’ of Durant and Westbrook but after Westbrook took 30 shots for just the third time in is career in Game 4 (made 12-of-30, including 0-of-7 on threes), is there trouble in ‘paradise?’ Oklahoma City is favored by seven points and the total is 204.
The Spurs became the seventh No. 1 seed to go down 2-1 in a series since the playoffs expanded to 16 teams in 1983-84 when they lost Game 3 in Memphis (four of the previous six No. 1 seeds had come back to win). They then went down 3-1 to the Grizzlies when they lost 104-86 at Memphis in Game 4. Just three No. 1 seeds have lost to a No. 8 seed in 55 previous series (Bulls have already eliminated the Pacers in the East) but San Antonio is on the brink of becoming just the fourth No. 1 seed in NBA history to lose a best-of-seven series in the first round, the second since it went to a best-of-seven format (joining Dallas, which lost in 2007 to the eighth-seeded Warriors in 2007). Only eight teams in NBA playoff history have rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win a best-of-seven series. The Spurs are favored by 6 1/2 points and the total is 189.