The Heat shot lights out in each of their first two victories over the Hornets by scoring 123 and 115 points. Miami’s offense cooled off in Saturday’s Game 3 blowout loss at Charlotte, as the Hornets used an 18-0 third quarter run to rout the Heat, 96-80 as three-point home favorites.
Miami put up 28 points in the first quarter of Game 3, but was held to 30 points over the next two quarters to suffer its loss in the opening round since 2012. Luol Deng led the Heat with 19 points on 5-of-6 shooting from three-point range, but Dwyane Wade, Joe Johnson, andGoran Dragic combined to shoot 14-of-44 from the field. The Miami bench received 15 points from rookie Josh Richardson in Game 2, but the non-starters of the Heat put up a combined 16 points in Game 3.
The Hornets didn’t shoot the ball extremely well in Game 3 by converting 39% of their field goal attempts, but picked up an impressive contribution from rookie forward Frank Kaminsky, who scored 15 points. Marvin Williams bounced back from shooting 1-for-17 in the first two losses to put up a double-double with 12 points and 14 rebounds on 5-of-9 shooting. Guard Kemba Walker wasn’t efficient from the floor (4-of-19), but finished with 17 points as the team converted 21-of-22 free throws (Walker 8-8).
Charlotte improved to 17-3 SU and 12-8 ATS the last 20 games at Time Warner Cable Arena, although five of those ATS losses came as a favorite of nine points or more.Steve Clifford’s team cashed their sixth ‘under’ in the last eight home contests, while all three home matchups with Miami this season have finished ‘under’ the total.
The Heat have not lost consecutive road playoff games to an Eastern Conference opponent since dropping two straight at Boston in the 2012 conference finals. Since 2012, Erik Spoelstra’s club owns a spectacular 13-2 SU and 12-3 ATS record off a playoff defeat, but the Heat have been limited to less than 100 points in seven consecutive postseason road games.
The Hornets are unsure if swingman Nicolas Batum will miss his second straight game after suffering a sprained ankle towards the end of Game 2. Charlotte is listed at +330 (Bet $100 to win $330) to win the series, while Miami is still in control at -420 odds (Bet $420 to win $100) to advance to the second round.
Western Conference – Game 5 (Thunder lead 3-1)
Dallas at Oklahoma City (-13 ½, 205) – 8:05 PM EST – TNT
The Spurs became the first team to advance to the second round of the playoffs after sweeping the Grizzlies. San Antonio may know its semifinal opponent as early as Monday night if Oklahoma City can finish off Dallas, as the Thunder bounced back from a shocking Game 2 loss to grab consecutive wins at American Airlines Center.
Oklahoma City was limited to 84 points in a one-point defeat in Game 2 last week, but Billy Donovan’s squad picked up the offense in Dallas by scoring 131 points in Game 3, followed by a 119-point effort on Saturday. The Thunder held off the Mavericks, 119-108 to cash as 8 ½-point favorites in Game 4, while eclipsing the ‘over’ of 203 ½. The usual suspects of Russell Westbrook and Kevin Durant combined to score 44 points, but OKC received a 28-point effort off the bench from Enes Kanter on an incredible 12-of-13 shooting from the floor.
The health of the Mavericks is deteriorating by the day as point guard Deron Williams lasted less than two minutes before leaving Game 4 with a sports hernia. Williams has been bothered by that injury throughout the series, while fellow guard J.J. Barea was scoreless on 0-for-7 shooting off the bench for Dallas. The Mavericks managed to shoot 52% from the field in the loss, as Dirk Nowitzki scored a team-high 27 points to bust the 20-point mark for the first time in the series.
The Thunder have covered three of four games in this series, including Game 1 as a 12-point favorite as all three victories by OKC have come by at least 11 points. Oklahoma City has covered seven of its past nine games overall, while compiling a 6-4 ATS record as a double-digit home favorite since January. Since 2012, the Thunder have won and covered in six of eight opportunities to close out a series, including a 3-1 SU/ATS mark at home.
In two road elimination games since winning the championship in 2011, the Mavericks haven’t fared very well. In 2014, Dallas was blown out in Game 7 at San Antonio, 119-96, while the Mavericks lost to the Rockets last season in the opening round, 103-94.
Western Conference – Game 4 (Clippers lead 2-1)
Los Angeles (-2 ½, 206 ½) at Portland – 10:35 PM EST – TNT
The Clippers jumped out to a 2-0 series advantage over the Blazers following a pair of 20+ point victories at Staples Center. Portland crept back into the series by holding Los Angeles to below 100 points for the first time in the series in Saturday’s 96-88 triumph at the Moda Center as 1 ½-point underdogs.
The dynamic duo of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum finally got their shooting in order as they combined for 59 points on 21-of-42 from the floor in Game 3. McCollum put up 25 points total in the first two games of this series before scoring 27 points on Saturday, while Lillard improved his scoring average to 30.0 points per game in seven career home playoff games. Portland outrebounded Los Angeles, 56-44 in Game 3, thanks to Mason Plumlee grabbing 21 rebounds in the victory.
The Clippers struggled from three-point range by knocking down 3-of-18 attempts from downtown, including a 2-of-7 effort from Chris Paul. The Clippers’ All-Star guard paced the Clippers with 26 points, while Jamal Crawford chipped in 19 points off the bench, but Los Angeles was limited to 41% shooting from the floor. Los Angeles dropped to 5-12 in their past 17 road playoff games, including four consecutive losses since the second round of the 2015 postseason.
Doc Rivers’ squad closed out last postseason with a 7-1 mark to the ‘over’ in their final eight games, but have finished ‘under’ the total in all three contests against the Blazers. Portland has gone the opposite way from a totals perspective since the second round of the 2014 playoffs by going ‘under’ the total in eight of the past 10 postseason contests.
Since the Blazers took a 2-0 series lead over the Rockets in the opening round of the 2014 playoffs, Portland has put together a dreadful 3-13-1 ATS record in the last 17 postseason contests, including a 3-5 ATS mark at the Moda Center. Terry Stotts’ team is 0-4 SU/ATS the last four playoff games off a home win since 2014 with three of the losses coming by double-digits.