Bad Beats adding up in Toronto-Miami series
Published on Wednesday, 5/11/16, at 10:59 a.m. Eastern.
–I chronicled the ridiculous manner in which the side and total results for the Miami-Toronto series have gone down through four games in my previews of tonight’s NBA action over at VegasInsider.com. Check it out here if you wish.
–Despite taking three unfathomable Bad Beats in the last week, my NBA picks are still on a 15-9 run (63%, +5.2 units). Check out tonight’s plays here.
–If Cleveland shoots the way it did in Games 2, 3 and 4 against Atlanta, it will win it all regardless of its opponent.
–I was at Philips Arena for Game 3 in Atlanta on Friday night. Channing Frye scored 27 points with many of them coming at crunch time. The Hawks led by nine with eight minutes left. What a great acquisition Frye was by the Cavs’ front office. He’s the perfect fit for their offense, a stretch four who consistently knocks down 3’s and pulls an opposing big away from the basket to open up room for LeBron’s penetration.
–If not for Frye and Kevin Love’s shooting from downtown, Atlanta and Cleveland would’ve been in a 2-2 series with Game 5 being played last night.
–The Atlanta and national media are all over the Hawks, implying they should implode their team after being swept by the Cavs for a second straight year. I remember the last time there was an overreaction in the ATL to a second-round sweep at the hands of the Knicks in 1999. After seven straight trips to the playoffs, the incompetent former GM Pete Babcock (he drafted Cal Bowdler, Ed Gray and Doug Edwards in the first round, among others!) decided to break up the team by trading Steve Smith for J.R. Rider. The result? The Hawks missed the playoffs the next eight years. Since drafting Al Horford, Atlanta has gone to the postseason for nine consecutive seasons, advancing to the East semifinals five times. The Hawks won a franchise-record 60 games last season and made it to the East finals for the first time since moving to Atlanta. In two of the seasons in which they went out in Round 1, they (as an eighth seed) took a No. 1 seed to seven-game series. So what they should do? Break it up! Don’t even consider giving Horford a max contract. Maybe they should just pull a Babcock and work a sign-and-trade moving Horford for Lance Stephenson and Josh Smith (closest underachieving players like Rider I can think of). In all seriousness, I get the hesitancy to signing Horford to a max contract, but only on account of the fourth and fifth seasons. He is worth it for the next three years — no doubt about it! And to all of these pundits thinking it’s time to go in another direction, what, may I ask, do you suggest? Kevin Durant isn’t coming to Atlanta. Would you really rather have a Hassan Whiteside than Horford? Please! Max out Horford and IF (and it’s a big if) 2-3 years in it appears he won’t be worth his money in the fourth and fifth season of his deal, then you move him. Tweak a few pieces, but busting up this nucleus would be a big mistake. One that could result in another near-decade-long absence from the playoffs.
–Most books are listing San Antonio as a 2.5-point favorite for Thursday’s Game 6 at Oklahoma City. The total is 195.5 and OKC is +125 on the money line (risk $100 to win $125).
–Current NBA futures via Sportsbook.ag:
Warriors -150 (risk $150 to win $100)
Trail Blazers 2,000/1
–Sportsbook has OKC as the -140 ‘chalk’ over the Spurs (+120) for the updated series price.
–Updated price for Toronto-Miami: Raptors -150, Heat +130.