The NBA 2012-13 Season could end tonight in game 6 of the NBA Finals. The San Antonio Spurs visit the Miami Heat holding a 3-2 lead in the best of seven series. With a win tonight, the Spurs win their fifth NBA championship and Miami loses its second finals in three seasons.
The Spurs won game 5 on their home court to take two of three straight home games in San Antonio on the 2-3-2 NBA finals format. The final two games will be played in Miami, but the Heat now must win two straight, something they have not done in their last 12 games of this year’s postseason.
On Sunday, San Antonio head coach Gregg Popovich surprised the Miami Heat and his own fans when he started perennial sixth man Manu Ginobili. The Argentine prior to game 5 struggled the first four games of the finals.
His average during the finals was just 7.5 points per game, while he was averaging just 3 assists per game. Some sportswriters had already written him off for the younger players in the Spurs lineup.
However, Ginobili responded with 24 points and 10 assists helping the Spurs to a 114-104 win in their last home game of this season.
Miami is 6-0 SU following a straight up loss during this postseason. In the six wins, the Heat has beaten their opponent by an average of over 20 points. Currently, the Heat is favored at home by 7 points and Miami is 17-3 SU while they are 13-7 ATS when favored by 6.5 to 9 points at home, since the beginning of the regular season in November of 2012.
Over the past two season plus, San Antonio is 0-6 SU, while 1-5 ATS as an underdog by 6.5 to 9 points on the road. However, a number of those games were played without the services of Tim Duncan, Tony Parker or Manu Ginobili, as coach Popovich chose to rest them.
More importantly San Antonio is 14-6 SU and 11-9 ATS when they are leading a playoff series over the past two seasons plus.
LeBron James, Dwayne Wade and Chris Bosh all must play in this game as they did in game 4 when Miami tied the series 2-2 and scored 85 of the Heat’s 109 points between the three of them.
The current line has Miami favored by 7 points with the over under total sitting on 191. Smart money takes the Spurs and the OVER.
The NHL Stanley Cup best of seven final series heads to Beantown when the Chicago Blackhawks visit the Boston Bruins for game 3 on Monday night.
The series is tied 1-1 after the Bruins won game 2 on Saturday in overtime 2-1. The Blackhawks won game 1 in 3 overtimes by the score of 4-3. Over the first two games played, the teams have played 10 periods of hockey, the equivalent of 3 games and 1 period.
The goaltending matchup is key, as Tuukka Rask for the Boston Bruins has stopped nearly everything shot at him.
Chicago goalie Corey Crawford has also done a superb job. Each goalie has allowed 5 goals through the first two games. One weakness, if there is one, is Crawford has trouble with high shots on goal.
Zdeno Chara, the Boston captain and top defensemen is +7 over the last seven games played and directs the entire defense with his keen eyes, long reach and physical presence.
Boston must continue to pressure Chicago at every possible moment. Exploit the weakest points in the Chicago lineup.
Pressure is what led to both goals the Bruins scored in their 2-1 game 2 victory, as they forced Nick Leddy a Chicago defenseman to turn the puck over and Brandon Bollig lost a puck that eventually led to Boston’s winning overtime goal.
Chicago must pile bodies in front of Rask in goal. Rask has been able to stop everything he sees, but with players in front, he cannot see as well.
Chicago also needs to take advantage of their power plays with more movement in their offensive zone and less standing still.
Chicago has now played three straight games that have gone to overtime. In the fifth game of their Western Conference finals, they defeated the Los Angeles Kings to win the series and now the first two of the Stanley Cup finals versus Boston. Chicago is now 4-2 in their six overtime games during the current postseason.
Odds makers have made Boston the favorite at home with -130, with Chicago on +110. The goal total for over/under is sitting comfortably on 5. Smart money takes the Bruins and the UNDER.
Game 5 of this year’s NBA Finals takes place on Sunday between the visiting Miami Heat and the host San Antonio Spurs. The series is tied 2-2 and now has come down to a battle of the best of three with tonight’s game and then two more in Miami, if both are necessary.
Miami won game 4 of the series on Thursday night in San Antonio by the score of 109-93.
The Heat have won after losing a game SU in each of their series including in the finals, but since the second round they have also lost after each victory. Miami has not won consecutive games in the playoffs since their second round versus Chicago.
The Spurs on the other hand in the postseason are 14-4 this year and have not lost two consecutive games in any of the previous three rounds.
However, Thursday night the big three for Miami finally all played well in the same game and that could spell defeat for San Antonio going forward.
LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwayne Wade combined to shot 37 for 64 to record 85 total points, while adding 30 rebounds, 9 assists and 10 steals.
Wade, who has been slowed with a sore knee, has only scored 20 points or more in two of the Heat’s 18 games in the postseason.
The Spurs have their own worries about players showing up, namely Manu Ginobili. In game 4, the Argentine scored just 5 points hitting just 1 of 5 shots, while missing all three he took from three-point range. Over the past three games of the series, Ginobili has a total of 17 points score, hitting just 6 of 18 shots.
His age might have something to do with his play as he is 35, but in his defense, he has been slowed with nagging injuries as well.
The past two games in the series have cashed out on the OVER. Following their win, the Heat has the home court advantage and has been declared the favorite again in most sportsbooks at -280 to the Spurs +240.
The line currently has Miami favored by 1½ points with the point total for the over under on 188. Smart money takes the Spurs and the OVER.
Game 2 of the NHL Stanley Cup Finals will be played tonight between the host Chicago Blackhawks and the visiting Boston Bruins.
Chicago won game 1 by the score of 4-3 in the third overtime period after the two teams had skated to a 3-3 tie after regulation. The game was the 5th longest in the history of the Stanley Cup Finals, but more of the same is expected for game 2.
In game 1, both teams played very physical, clean hockey. In the game, the teams combined for 117 shots on goal. Chicago gave up puck possession more in the game – 18 to Boston’s 5, but the Blackhawks also led in takeaways with 24 to Boston’s 16.
Milan Lucic had two goals and an assist in game 1 for the Bruins and is third in total points for the postseason, after having a subpar offense regular season with just 7 goals and 20 assists.
On defense, the Bruins were led by the strong play of captain Zdeno Chara, but Andrew Ference played very well as he blocked 8 shots and had 10 hits.
However, it was the rookie Andrew Shaw for Chicago, who scored to win the game in overtime no. 3. On offense, Marian Hossa also had a strong game for Chicago, along with Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane.
Boston needs to play better with the lead as they went up 1-0 after one period and 2-0 in the second. Boston was also ahead 3-1 in period three but gave up two goals down the stretch to allow the Blackhawks back in the game.
In the game, Chicago had 63 shots on goal to Boston’s 54. Boston won two more face-offs during the game than Chicago. On the power play, Boston was 1 for 3, while the struggles for Chicago continued in that department, as they were 0 for 3.
Boston had two power plays during the three overtime periods, while Chicago did not have any.
The line currently has Chicago favored at home at -150 and Boston on +130. The over under goal total is 5. Smart money takes the Bruins and the UNDER.
A battle in the National League West takes place tonight when the Arizona Diamondbacks visit the San Diego Padres for the first of a three game series. The Diamondbacks are currently in first place in the NL West with a 37-29 record.
Arizona won two out of three games against the Los Angeles Dodgers in which the second game featured a bench clearing brawl where six coaches and players were ejected. On Wednesday night, the Diamondbacks needed 12 innings to defeat the Dodgers 8-6.
San Diego comes into the game with an overall record of 32-34 five games behind the front running Diamondbacks. The Padres have won three straight games and 6 of their last 11 overall.
Trevor Cahill will start on the mound for Arizona. Cahill is 3-7 on the season with an ERA of 4.02. In his last game, he lasted just 3 2/3 innings giving up 8 earned runs against the San Francisco Giants to take the loss.
San Diego will have Eric Stults on the mound to face the Diamondbacks. Stults is 5-5 on the season with an ERA of 3.53. He will try to extend the Padres winning streak to four with his second start versus Arizona in the past three weeks.
The southpaw has a record of 1-1 with an ERA of 1.64 in his three starts since losing to the Diamondbacks on May 24 by the score of 5-2. In that game, he allowed four runs through 6 1/3 innings.
The Padres have won six of their last eight games overall after sweeping a three game series against the NL East first place Atlanta Braves. The Padres started the season losing 15 of their first 20 games but since then have won 27 out of their past 46.
San Diego is 18-7 over their past 25 games at home and over the last two series at home against Arizona the Padres are 4-2.
The current line has the Padres favored at home at -117, with the Diamondback on +107.
Smart money takes the Padres.
Game 4 of the NBA Finals best of seven series tips off tonight in San Antonio with the San Antonio Spurs hosting the Miami Heat. The Spurs took a 2-1 lead in the series on Tuesday night with a 113-77 rout of the Miami Heat.
However, looking at the numbers one will see that Miami has won all five games they have played following a loss during the playoffs. The Heat has alternated between wins and losses in each of their past 10 games. The Heat has a record of 18-6 ATS in the their past 24 games following a loss SU.
In game 3 of the series, the Spurs showed how deep their team is. Usually the scoring leaders have names like Duncan, Parker and Ginobili. In game 3, Danny Green led the Spurs in scoring with 27 points, Gary Neal had 24 and Kawhi Leonard scored 12. Those three are not exactly household names, but Spurs fans know how valuable those three are for the team.
Miami needs to have LeBron James get back on track. The NBA MVP is the biggest surprise, albeit a negative one for Miami, in the NBA Finals. In three games, LeBron has scored 18, 17 and 15 points and in game 3 missed 11 of his first 13 shots from the field.
Heat teammates like Mario Chalmers, Norris Cole and Mike Miller have stepped up and contributed in their own way, but if the Heat wants to win, James has to lead the way.
Even though many consider game 3 to be pivotal in a seven game series, game 4 is downright critical. If the Heat wins, the series is reduced to a best of three, with two of three games on their home court. If the Spurs win, they will be just one game away from their fifth NBA title with three games left to play.
Tony Parker will likely play even though he has a hamstring strain, but do not look for him to be anywhere near 100%. San Antonio will need big games from Duncan, Ginobili, Green and Leonard, to offset what they might lose with a less than effect Parker.
The current line has San Antonio favored by 1½ points with the point total on 187. Smart money takes the Spurs and the OVER.