Tag: western conference finals
The San Antonio Spurs are the quite guys. They don’t make a lot of noise, they don’t really don’t seem to be wanting to grab all the attention. The thing here is that they make it all look too easy, the shots they make, the flawless pick and rolls, the fact that this guys have won 20 games in a row and haven’t lost a game in the postseason, the way they almost ridiculed the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first half; it all adds to boring but extremely effective basketball. It was never close, even though 111-120 win at home can make it look a bit overwhelming, even thought the Thunder came back, it all seemed like a cruel joke played on the younger rooster. The Thunder got a better outcome through the solid game of Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and James Harden. Particularly Harden who came back from a very mediocre performance in game 1, to deliver 30 points and 7 rebounds in game 2. Still it was not enough, and even thought they cut it down to a 6-point deficit in the fourth quarter, San Antonio never loss its cool.
And perhaps most of the damage made against the Thunder came by the way of the point guard Tony Parker. He has really managed to find the balance between his duties assisting other player offensively and making the points when needed. On game 2 of the NBA Western Conference Finals, the Frenchman Tony Parker finished the night with 34 points, 8 assists and 3 rebounds. As if that was not enough, the Argentinean Manu Ginobili chipped in with 20 points and 4 assists coming off the bench as theSpurs set an NBA record with their 20th consecutive victory bridging the regular season and the playoffs. Now, to be fair, the San Antonio Spurs are now 10 down and 6 more games to go before doing something no other NBA team has done: sweep in the NBA Playoffs. And sure enough, we still need to see how this team is going to play at Oklahoma City, were the Thunder are currently a -3½ point favorite on the NBA Playoffs betting spread.
Somehow that hasn’t kept the press from arguing that they might just have a chance to make history. They believe that the Oklahoma City Thunder is not going to have what it takes to secure a win at home, and that on the NBA Finals, the Miami Heat or the Boston Celtics are not really equipped to give these guys a run for their money. 6 games to go, at least in paper it looks quite easy, considering that they have won now 10 straight games in the Playoffs and 22 straight including the regular season. So what then? If the Thunder wants to win this one, they have to find a way to slow down Parker. Even the Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich knows very well that “Tony’s been great all year. He’s been really focused the entire season…” and that all the game flow is going through him.
The Oklahoma City Thunder has the manpower, I’m just uncertain if they have the emotional strength to keep it together under heavy pressure. Kevin Durant had 31 points, Westbrook had 27 points and eight assists, and James Harden rebounded from a rough Game 1 to score 30 for the Thunder. Those alone are phenomenal numbers for a squad, but somehow Oklahoma never seemed to really have a chance.
For a moment there, the Oklahoma City Thunder were about to do something that no other team had done since early April: defeat the San Antonio Spurs. With a brilliant performance from Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook in the third quarter, the Thunder came out to the last quarter with a beefy 9-point lead. Truth is that in the third quarter alone, a solid defense by Oklahoma City had held the Spurs to only 16 points in the quarter. Things were looking well for the Thunder and the scenario for a possible upset on game one of the Western Conference Finals at San Antonio seemed to be only 12 minutes away. Little did the Oklahoma City Thunder knew that things were about to get nasty. The San Antonio Spurs head coach Gregg Popovich came out and told his team early in the fourth quarter: “I want some nasty”. And Nasty he got from his veteran players.
In the postgame press conference Popovich tried not to make too much of a deal about it. He asked the press if he had really told his team he wanted some nasty. Well, we all heard it over national television. Still, the somewhat vociferous head coach kept it low-key and said that it was all part of the pressure of playing in the Playoffs. “The heat of the game, stuff comes up,” Popovich said. “So I talked to them about they’ve got to get a little bit uglier, get a little more nasty, play with more fiber and take it to these guys. Meaning you have to drive it, you have to shoot it.” He got plenty of fiber. The Thunder were younger and perhaps faster and more athletic. There is just one big and fundamental difference between these two squads: the Spurs have been here and have done that, twice.
But perhaps the biggest surprise of the night came via the Argentinean Manu Ginobili. He wasn’t part of the starting 5 for the Spurs but somehow playing from the bench Manu played 34:03 during the whole game, getting very little rest, and still been the most productive player for San Antonio. Let’s not forget that Manu missed at least half of the regular season with a series of injuries that made it doubtful, to say the least, if he was going to be a factor at all once the postseason got underway. Well, he was. He finished the night with 26 points, including 11 in the fourth quarter, 5 rebounds and 3 assists. That was enough to give the Spurs their 19th consecutive win, tying an NBA record for longest winning streak kept alive in the playoffs.
The young and restless Oklahoma City Thunder were lead by Kevin Durant led the Thunder with 27 points. Russell Westbrook had 17. They had a good overall game. Defensively, the Thunder managed to hold the San Antonio Spurs to only16 third-quarter points. But everything went south once San Antonio got going in the fourth. At the end, when the game was on the line, the Spurs scored 39 points in the fourth quarter to take the lead and never look back.
Looking for a Lakers-Suns game No.2 series preview. Look no further. We´ve got you covered. The Lakers are certainly looking good for the NBA Championship. Unless the Phoenix Suns come up with a good plan to slow down Kobe Bryant, it seems that the Lakers are going to be the No 1 favorite in the odds to win the 2010 NBA Championship.
Things are about to get harder for the Phoenix Suns. Not only is Kobe, despite his knee injury, playing like he was back in his early 20´s, but it just seems as if the Phoenix Suns have no answer for the Lakers offense. Kobe came in strong with 40 a 40-point conference final game. And there could have been more, had he not let go of the gas pedal at the end of the 4th quarter.
And truth be said, there is no one out there quite capable of scoring 40 points in a single match at this point of the season. The media-attention grabbing LeBron James is not making a single point until next season. The Boston Celtics Rajon Rondo, out of character, probably could build up to making 40 points in the game, but it will only hurt the Celtics. Steve Nash has always been more of a distributor and organizer then the guy that puts in all the baskets. And frankly, it is hard to tell what’s happening with Dwight Howard and his latest low-scoring performances.
So here is where Kobe outshines in the tournament semifinals. He is the one big star left in the NBA playoffs. And even though, most diehard Lakers fans are used to their rollercoaster performances, from pure magic to a bit decadent. And there was little that Steve Nash and his double-double or any of the other Suns could do about it. This is where things change. The 128-107 Lakers victory in game one is going to jingle things around in the sportsbetting world. This is why. The Lakers have covered their spread in 7 of their last 8 games. So at -6, for game No. 2 the Suns really need to push extra hard in order not only to win, but at least to stay competitive in terms of betting.
Now, except for a push in the Lakers last game against the Utah Jazz, 8 of the last 10 Lakers games have gone over, 1 has stayed under and 1 has pushed. And it is kind of easy to explain once you look at the numbers. If you have Kobe Bryant playing over 28 minutes per game, and with his well-proven potential of bringing over 28 or so points per game, handicappers have been tempted to move along the total line to keep up with the market pressures. As of press-time sportsbook industry leader Betias.com has made the O/U total 215. That more points then game number 1`s opening line. So keep an eye out. No series price has been announced just yet. Yet expect the Lakers to hit the ML-600 mark once they come out.
So keep an eye out. Look at the numbers and make the most informed picks. Sure, we are giving you a bit of an edge. This kind of stats will not be found at espn.com, but this is sports gambling. Leave all emotion and fan enthusiasm behind. It’s hard-earned cash we are taking about. This might be one of the few sport betting blogs that does get that. Enjoy the game