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SAN ANTONIO SPURS (57-29) at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (58-28)
The Clippers and Spurs battle for a lead in the series when the two teams meet in Los Angeles for Game 5 on Tuesday.
The Clippers went into San Antonio down 2-1 in Game 4 Sunday and played an unbelievable game, winning 114-105 as 6-point underdogs. Los Angeles was in a must-win situation and came through on both ends of the floor, shooting 53.6percent from the field and also holding the Spurs to 44.0percent shooting. The Clippers desperately needed to shoot the ball well, as they could have suffered from a loss of confidence after shooting 34.1percent from the field in Game 3. These teams have now split victories both SU and ATS in this series. Two of the games have gone Under the total and the other two both went Over. Over the past three seasons, these teams have split victories both SU and ATS when playing at Staples Center. San Antonio is 10-0 ATS after a game committing eight or less turnovers this season and gets to face a Clippers team that is 4-13 ATS in home games after a combined score of 215 points or more on the season. The Spurs are not currently dealing with any injuries and both SF Matt Barnes (Shoulder) and PF Blake Griffin (Shoulder) are probable for the Clippers in this one.
The Spurs were unable to take a 3-1 lead by defeating the Clippers at home in Game 4 and will now look to steal a win in Los Angeles in order to give themselves a chance to close it out at home in Game 6. SF Kawhi Leonard (24.8 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.0 APG, 2.0 APG, 1.0 BPG in playoffs) had 26 points, seven boards and five assists in 40 minutes of action on Sunday. Leonard is shooting 56.3percent from the outside over the past five games and has been outstanding on both sides of the ball. It would not be surprising at all if the Spurs turn him loose offensively in this one. He is one of the only players who has consistently created his own shot in this series. PF Tim Duncan (16.3 PPG, 10.8 RPG, 3.8 APG, 2.3 BPG in playoffs) had 22 points, 14 rebounds and three blocks in Game 4. He did, however, foul out in the game and must be more disciplined on the defensive end. He has been able to score around the basket, but he hasnt done a good job of defending Blake Griffin or DeAndre Jordan when called upon. PG Tony Parker (8.8 PPG, 2.5 APG in playoffs) had 18 points on 7-for-15 shooting from the field in Game 4. It was his best offensive performance of the postseason and hell need to find a way to be effective in Game 5.
The Clippers won a huge game on the road in Game 4 and PG Chris Paul (23.5 PPG, 6.0 APG, 5.3 RPG, 1.5 SPG in playoffs) caught fire for Los Angeles. Paul had 34 points and seven assists in 38 minutes of action and has torched every Spurs guard that has tried to cover him so far. Hell need to continue to be aggressive as a scorer moving forward, as San Antonio does not have an answer for him. PF Blake Griffin (22.3 PPG, 13.3 RPG, 7.3 APG, 1.3 BPG, 1.3 SPG in playoffs) has also had a fantastic series for the Clippers. Griffin had 20 points, 19 boards, seven assists and a steal in 43 minutes of action on Sunday. His speed has been too much to handle for Tim Duncan and hell need to continue to attack the rim moving forward. C DeAndre Jordan (11.3 PPG, 12.8 RPG, 3.0 BPG) has had everybodys back defensively in this series and blocked four shots in Game 4. He is, however, shooting just 33.3percent from the line in this series and has been a liability at times when the Spurs turn to the Hack-a-Shaq. One player who really stepped his game up in Game 4 was PG Austin Rivers (8.3 PPG in playoffs). Rivers had 16 points on 7-for-8 shooting from the field and provided the scoring spark that Los Angeles needed to get over the hump.
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Can Mikhail Prokhorov turn the Nets around? 2010-06-25
With the exception of Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, most of the other owners in the NBA stay out of the spotlight. However, it appears that Cuban may have to share some of the attention in the years to come. The new owner of the New Jersey Nets has generated a great deal of notice in recent weeks. Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov has brought a new dynamic to the NBA. It appears that he will do whatever it takes to turn the Nets franchise around. Prokhorov inherits a team that is coming off of one of the worst seasons in the history of the NBA. In the 2009-10 campaign, the Nets were on the verge of posting a dubious feat for a good portion of the year. The 1972-73 Philadelphia 76ers set a mark of futility by posting a 9-73 record. The 2009-10 Nets dropped its first 18 contests of the season, and the NBA betting community closed the door on them. As the year progressed, things didn't get much better. After 70 games, New Jersey held a record of 7-63. The Nets were on the brink of a record that no team wanted to be associated with. The club was able to post a respectable 5-7 mark in the final 12 games of the year to avoid the 76ers record. Still, a 12-70 record has left the Nets with a lot of work to do heading into the 2010-11 season.
There are some glimmers of hope heading into the upcoming year for the Nets. New Jersey has a chance to build around one of the top young centers in the league. 22-year-old Brook Lopez was the lone bright spot for the Nets last season. In just his second year in the league, he averaged 19 points and 9 rebounds per outing. In the backcourt, point guard Devin Harris (17 points, 7 assists per game last season) is a solid performer. He will be looking to stay on the floor a little more often next year. Harris has missed 18 or more games in each of the last three seasons. The upcoming draft should provide some help for the club. In a deep draft, the Nets will have 3 of the first 31 selections. New Jersey will have the third overall choice in the draft. The Nets should be able to get an impact frontcourt performer to compliment Lopez. New Jersey will also have selections at spots 27 and 31. With his deep pockets, Prokhorov could be active in this summer's free agency period. He will likely make a strong run at league MVP LeBron James. If Prokhorov is unable to land James, there are several other big names available for the Nets to pursue.
After last year's disaster, the Nets will have a new coach prowling the sidelines this season. It appears that former Mavericks head coach Avery Johnson will be the club's choice. He took Dallas to the NBA Finals back in 2006. Fans of the Nets will be able to watch the club at a new arena in Brooklyn in two years. With Prokhorov's aggressive approach, New Jersey could be a factor in the Eastern Conference quicker than expected.
Are you ready for some NBA betting? Are you betting the Nets are going to turn it around in 2010-2011? Head over to www.sportsbook.com the king of NBA betting.
NBA: Atlanta at Milwaukee 7:00E ESPN2010-04-30
Though the hip-hop generation of NBA players likely doesn’t include many U2 fans, a song comes to mind watching Atlanta and Milwaukee the last three games, “Desire”. Milwaukee has shown it, Atlanta hasn’t, thus the reason the Bucks have a chance to close out the first round series on Friday night at home. Sportsbook oddsmakers have other ideas though, making the downtrodden Hawks the favorites by 2-points.
The Bucks Game 5 performance in pulling the 91-87 upset as nine-point favorites was unremarkable, given the fact they shot 40.3 percent for the game, were outscored at the center position 25-4 and saw various players disappear for long stretches even when they were on the floor.
Yet, if one game defines a team and its coach, it was Game 5 for Milwaukee with their desire. Scott Skiles grinded away as a college and NBA player and his less-talented contingent played like he did his whole career. This Bucks team is 14-4 ATS in home games after playing as a road underdog this season and goes for the first real big surprise of the playoffs.
Atlanta showed what they were made of as Josh Smith, Al Horford, Joe Johnson and Jamal Crawford all decided individually they were going to be “the man” and went about their business trying to take their defenders one on one with passing the ball be damned. Once again the Hawks proved they are not mature TEAM and that they lack heart. Peering ahead it is little wonder this team is 1-10 ATS revenging a home loss this season.
Sportsbook.com still has the more talent-laden Atlanta squad as two-point favorites, however it would take a large dosage of courage to back a team that is 1-10 SU and ATS on the playoff road the last three seasons. Milwaukee was the best spread team in the NBA this campaign and it is continuing in the playoffs. They are 20-6 ATS having covered the spread in three or more consecutive contests.
Tip-time for tonight’s game is 7:00 PM ET, and the StatFox Power Line shows Milwaukee should be favored by 4-points.