Thursday's NBA playoff action: What bettors need to know

May 15, 2013 |
Thursday's NBA playoff action: What bettors need to know
Anthony has shot under 40 percent in six of the last seven games.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Anthony has shot under 40 percent in six of the last seven games.
Photo By - USA Today Sports
Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks (-5, 179)

Indiana leads series 3-1.

The New York Knicks have not been able to get anything done against the Indiana Pacers’ defense. The Pacers will be looking to ride that defense to a series victory when they attempt to close out the host Knicks in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference semifinals Thursday. New York has only had one stretch of strong offense and used it to secure its only win in Game 2. The Knicks have been held to an average of 76.5 points in the last two games.

Indiana has chased New York off the 3-point line and has controlled the glass to gain second-chance points and keep the Knicks from getting out on the break. New York stars Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith were a combined 15-for-45 from the field Tuesday and have struggled throughout the series. Knicks coach Mike Woodson is still looking at things optimistically. “It takes four games to get out of this series,” he said. “We go home, we handle our business at home and we get back (to Indiana) on Friday and see if we can force Game 7. That’s what I’m thinking. That’s the only way I’m thinking.”

TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT

ABOUT THE PACERS: Paul George has not been shooting well in the series but has been able to make an impact in several other places. The All-Star forward has played tight defense on Anthony and has been a force on the glass along with the rest of the Indiana frontcourt. George Hill shouldered more of the scoring load in Game 4, including 14 of the Pacers’ 19 points in the third quarter that kept the team  in control. “(Hill) was spectacular, maybe the best game I’ve ever seen him play,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel said. “He was just making all the winning plays. He not only executed our offense, he bailed us out a few times when things broke down late in the shot clock.” Hill finished with a Game 4-high 26 points on 9-of-14 shooting but is out for Game 5 with a concussion.

ABOUT THE KNICKS: Anthony has shot under 40 percent from the field in six of the last seven games but Smith has been even worse, connecting at 28.6 percent in six games since serving a one-game suspension during Game 4 of the first round. “I take the blame for this whole series,” Smith told reporters after Game 4. “It started off with Game 4 in Boston or Game 5. I haven’t been playing myself. I haven’t been playing my part. I’ve been letting my teammates down. I’ve been letting my coaches down.” New York attempted to counter Indiana’s size advantage by starting Tyson Chandler and Kenyon Martin together in the frontcourt. That may have played a part in poor shooting nights from Roy Hibbert and David West in the Pacers frontcourt, but the Knicks were still outrebounded 54-36.


* Pacers are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 games overall.
* Under is 8-2-1 in Knicks last 11 overall.
* Under is 3-1-1 in the last 5 meetings.
* Favorite is 5-1 ATS in the last 6 meetings.


1. Knicks F Amar’e Stoudemire (knee) played 11 minutes in Game 4 off the bench and had as many fouls as points (four).

2. Indiana is 7-0 in the postseason when Hill scores more than 12 points.

3. New York G Jason Kidd has not scored in any of the last eight games despite playing at least 15 minutes in each.

San Antonio Spurs at Golden State Warriors (+1.5, 194.5)

San Antonio leads series 3-2.

The experience and execution of the San Antonio Spurs has allowed them to grab control of their Western Conference semifinal series against the Golden State Warriors. The Spurs will have a chance to close out the series when they visit the Warriors for Game 6 Thursday. Golden State star Stephen Curry was held to nine points in Game 5 and has shot under 50 percent in each of the last four games while struggling through an ankle sprain.

San Antonio guard Tony Parker has been battling a calf injury but showed no signs that he was slowed while collecting 25 points and 10 assists in Game 5. The All-Star slashed through the Warriors perimeter defense and made Curry work hard at both ends of the floor. “Our energy was good,” Parker said after the game. “We got the 50-50 ball. That was huge for us tonight. … Tonight we played for 48 minutes.” The Spurs even outrebounded the Warriors for the first time in the series 38-36 as Tim Duncan got the better of Andrew Bogut down low.

TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, ESPN

ABOUT THE SPURS: San Antonio used a 15-0 run in the first quarter of Game 5 to seize control and did not trail the rest of the way. After shooting poorly in the fourth quarter and overtime during the Game 4 loss, the Spurs hit 51.9 percent from the field back at home for Game 5. Two of the biggest contributors were Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green, who each came up with big shots to help slow Golden State runs. Coach Gregg Popovich was quick to credit the effort on defense and on the glass. “The series for us is all about the defense,” he told reporters. “…We got a lot of mismatches. They love those mismatches, so we have to play intelligently. I thought we did that tonight. But we followed up the defense with a board. There is no stop until the board is secured.” Duncan secured 11 boards and is averaging 11.2 in the series.

ABOUT THE WARRIORS: Golden State got this far with a lot of energy and some incredible shooting performances from Curry and Klay Thompson. The Warriors did not have either one of those things in San Antonio Tuesday. Curry and Thompson combined for 13 points on 6-of-22 shooting, and Thompson, whose 8-of-9 performance from beyond the arc helped Golden State even the series in Game 2, did not even attempt a 3-pointer. “I was terrible, plain and simple,” Curry told reporters. “They outplayed us as a team. Individually, I didn’t have anything on either end. (I was) a step slow, my shot wasn’t falling and I was trying to make plays but defensively I lost a little focus.” Coach Mark Jackson pulled Curry and Thompson with over four minutes left to give Curry all the time he could to rest up his ankle for Game 6. The Warriors pulled off an overtime home win in Game 4 and have gone 4-1 in their own arena this postseason, with the lone setback coming to the Spurs in Game 3, 102-92.


* Warriors are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 home games.
* Under is 12-3-1 in Spurs last 16 road games.
* Spurs are 3-12 ATS in their last 15 games vs. a team with a winning S.U. record.
* Underdog is 4-1 ATS in the last 5 meetings.


1. Duncan (143) needs one more double-double to snap a tie with Wilt Chamberlain and move into sole possession of second place on the all-time playoff list. Magic Johnson leads with 157.

2. Barnes is the first player in history to record 25 or more points in back-to-back playoff games after never reaching that mark in the regular season.

3. Golden State F David Lee played 12 minutes Tuesday - his longest stretch since suffering a torn hip flexor in Game 1 of the first round.

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