What bettors need to know: Thursday's NBA action

May 2, 2012 |
What bettors need to know: Thursday's NBA action
Carmelo Anthony is trying to carry the offensive load.
Carmelo Anthony is trying to carry the offensive load.
Miami Heat at New York Knicks (5, 186.5)

THE STORY: The New York Knicks’ frustration is about to have an impact on the on-court product in a significant way. Amar'e Stoudemire punched a fire extinguisher case after a loss in Game 2, cutting his hand to the point that he will have to miss at least Game 3. With Iman Shumpert already out and Jeremy Lin not quite ready to return, the Knicks are now working without three starters against the Miami Heat, who have had little trouble in taking a 2-0 series lead.

TV: 7 p.m. ET, SUN (Miami), MSG (New York), TNT

ABOUT THE HEAT: Miami dominated at both ends in Game 1, getting most of their scoring from LeBron James while the entire team worked to hold the Knicks to 67 points. In Game 2, James handed off some of the scoring load to his teammates. Dwyane Wade led with 25 points and Chris Bosh scored 21 in a more balanced effort. The Heat, who went 18-15 on the road this season, should cruise into New York with plenty of confidence. Even the supporting cast, which had been the subject of some criticism prior to the postseason, has stepped up. Mike Miller and Shane Battier have delivered valuable minutes off the bench and Mario Chalmers is averaging 12 points and 7.5 assists.

ABOUT THE KNICKS: Stoudemire had surgery to repair a small muscle in his left hand on Tuesday and is doubtful for Game 4 on Sunday and the rest of the series, should New York be able to extend. Counting Shumpert (torn anterior cruciate ligament) and Lin (torn meniscus), the Knicks are down to just Carmelo Anthony and Tyson Chandler from their projected starting five. Chandler, who was named the NBA’s Defensive Player of the Year on Wednesday, has been battling the flu but rebounded from a scoreless Game 1 to collect 13 points and seven boards in a 104-94 Game 2 loss. Anthony went for 30 and nine but New York still did not have enough to stop the Heat. That setback marked the 12th straight playoff loss for the Knicks, tying the NBA record.

- The under is 7-1-1 in the last nine meetings.
- Miami is 1-5 against the spread in its last six road games.
- New York is 20-6 against the spread in its last 26 home games.


1. The Knicks went 14-5 without Stoudemire during the regular season.

2. New York went 22-11 at Madison Square Garden in 2011-12, but suffered a 93-85 loss in their only home date against the Heat on Apr. 15.

3. Wade has gone for 20 or more points in a franchise-record 71 of his 89 career playoff games.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Dallas Mavericks (-3.5, 194.5)

THE STORY: The Dallas Mavericks have squandered two chances to steal home-court advantage – and potentially two wins – from the Oklahoma City Thunder. That puts the reigning NBA champions in a must-win position to avoid moving to the brink of elimination as the first-round series shifts to Dallas for Game 3 on Thursday night. "Game 3 is Game 7," Mavericks guard Jason Terry said of his team's precarious position. Dallas has led inside the final minute in each game only to come up empty.

TV: 9:30 p.m. ET, TNT, KTXA

ABOUT THE THUNDER: Oklahoma City has to feel fortunate to hold a 2-0 series lead despite the shooting woes of Kevin Durant, the league’s three-time scoring champion. Durant has gone just 15 of 44 in the two games, but he buried the game-winning jumper in Game 1 and hit the go-ahead free throws in Game 2. The Thunder got unexpected offensive contributions from starting center Kendrick Perkins and backup point guard Derek Fisher, who scored 13 and 11 points, respectively, in Game 2 after both were held off the scoresheet in the series opener. It was the highest offensive output for Perkins since March 25.

ABOUT THE MAVERICKS: Dallas beat the Thunder in five games last season, helped by a pair of fourth-quarter comebacks, but it was unable to close the deal in Oklahoma City. The Mavericks have been relying heavily on their outside shooting, launching 45 3-point attempts in the first two games and converting only five of 23 attempts in Game 2. Point guard Jason Kidd has hoisted up a team-high 12 in the series, making just three, and is 4 of 18 overall from the floor. Dirk Nowitzki may need to conjure up his magic of last season, when he burned the Thunder for a pair of 40-point outings.

- Dallas is 1-3-1 against the spread in its last five playoff games as a favorite.
- The Thunder is 0-5 against the spread in their last five.
- The under is 12-5 in Oklahoma City's last 17 road games.


1. Oklahoma City has won five of six meetings with the Mavericks this season. The margin of victory has been four points or fewer in four of the victories.

2. Kidd reached a postseason milestone with 1,000 points, 1,000 assists and 1,000 rebounds. Magic Johnson, Michael Jordan, Larry Bird and Scottie Pippen are the only others to accomplish the feat.

3. Thunder PG Russell Westbrook is averaging 28.5 points on 52.3 percent shooting in the series.

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