Miami Heat at Charlotte Hornets (-3, 195.5)
Heat lead series 2-1
The Miami Heat set a historic offensive pace in the first two games of their first round series before crashing back to earth in Game 3. The Charlotte Hornets will try to put together back-to-back solid defensive efforts and even the series at two wins apiece when they host the Heat in Game 4 on Tuesday.
Miami scored a franchise playoff-record 123 points in a Game 1 win and followed it up with a 115-103 triumph in Game 2, but the Hornets turned up the defense and held the Heat to 34.2 percent from the field in a 96-80 triumph on Saturday. The victory snapped a 14-year drought between playoff wins for Charlotte franchises, though the team was focusing on the future instead of the past. “This isn’t about winning one playoff game, it’s about winning a playoff series,” Hornets coach Steve Clifford told reporters. “This gives us a chance.” Miami will need to make an adjustment after Charlotte went to a bigger lineup and pushed its way to the win up front.
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBATV, FSN Sun (Miami)
LINE HISTORY: The Hornets opened as 2.5-point favorites and the line was bumped up to -3 by Sunday afternoon. The total opened at 195 and was also bumped up a half point to 195.5. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE HEAT (50-35, 45-39-1 ATS, 36-48-1 O/U): Miami burned the Hornets in the first two games by putting Luol Deng at power forward but were on the receiving end of some physical play in Game 3. “They went really big and caught us off guard,” Heat center Hassan Whiteside told reporters. “We were prepared for Al Jefferson to post up, but they posted up on our guards. They got us into foul trouble, and that was tough. But we know what they do now. We know what they’re looking for and we can hone on that. Now we know what their different lineups are going to look like.” Whiteside left Saturday’s game in the fourth quarter with a quad bruise before sitting out practice on Sunday and is considered questionable for Game 4.
ABOUT THE HORNETS (49-36, 43-41-1 ATS, 42-41-2 O/U): Charlotte lost starting guard Nicolas Batum to an ankle injury in Game 2 but instead of inserting another guard into the lineup for Game 3 went big with 7-0 center Frank Kaminsky. The rookie only attempted one field goal in a combined 37 minutes in the first two games but finished with 15 points in 35 minutes in Game 3. “He just kept playing,” Clifford told reporters of Kaminsky. “He had the right attitude. Playing basketball is no different than anything else. You have the right attitude, you give yourself a chance to get going when things don’t go your way.”
* Heat are 1-7 ATS in their last 8 road games.
* Hornets are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 Conference Quarterfinals games.
* Under is 8-1 in Heat last 9 games following a straight up loss of more than 10 points.
* Over is 7-1 in Hornets last 8 vs. Eastern Conference.
Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City (-13.5, 205)
Thunder lead series 3-1
The third-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder will attempt to close out their first-round series against the Dallas Mavericks on Monday and may have to do so without All-Star small forward Kevin Durant. A flagrant 2 foul got Durant ejected late in Saturday’s 119-108 road win over the sixth-seeded Mavericks and he now faces the possibility of being suspended for Game 5.
Durant was called for the flagrant 2 after trying to contest a shot by Dallas guard Justin Anderson and smacking him the rookie in the face with his forearm. “I wasn’t trying to hurt him,” Durant told reporters afterward. “Plenty of plays this season where I blocked shots like that from behind. Just unfortunate I fouled him over the head. It was a flagrant, even though I wasn’t trying to intentionally foul him. The refs had to make a decision and they made the right one. It was just bad timing.” Mavericks forward Dirk Nowitzki is playing with a bruised knee and will be trying to keep his team alive after excelling with 27 points and eight rebounds in Game 4. “Hey, we’ve all got to enjoy it while we can,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle said after Game 4. “We’re seeing one of the most special athletes in sports history and doing it at an amazingly high level at really an advanced stage in his career.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, KTXA (Dallas), FSN Oklahoma
LINE HISTORY: The Thunder opened as massive 13-point favorites for this home court elimination game, but it appears that 13 points wasn’t enough for the betting public as the books bumped the line to -13.5 early Sunday morning. The total opened at 205 and hasn’t moved at this point. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (43-43, 46-39-1 ATS, 41-44-1 O/U): Point guard Deron Williams (sports hernia) departed just 89 seconds into Game 4 after aggravating the injury and will miss the rest of the series. “I think he’s done for the year,” Carlisle told reporters. “That’s what I think. I don’t expect him to play in Game 5.” Point guard J.J. Berea (groin) missed all seven of his shots while struggling through a scoreless Game 4 and Dallas will again rely heavily on Raymond Felton, who had 19 points and 11 assists on Saturday and is averaging 19.3 points over the past three games.
ABOUT THE THUNDER (58-28, 40-45-1 ATS, 41-45 O/U): Point guard Russell Westbrook had 25 points and 15 assists and has recorded double-doubles in all four games of the series. Westbrook scored 22 of Oklahoma City’s 32 third-quarter points as he helped the Thunder maintain the quicker pace and not let the game settle into the low-scoring affair (85-84 in Game 2) that resulted in Dallas’ lone victory. “The name of the game is come out and play basketball and that’s what we’ve done the last two games, especially here,” Westbrook told reporters. “We know a lot of their game is to kind of muck up the game and I think we’re doing a great job of staying above it.”
* Mavericks are 2-8 ATS in their last 10 Conference Quarterfinals games.
* Thunder are 5-1 ATS in their last 6 vs. Western Conference.
* Under is 6-1 in Mavericks last 7 road games.
* Mavericks are 1-4 ATS in the last 5 meetings.
Los Angeles Clippers at Portland Trail Blazers (+2.5, 206.5)
Clippers lead series 2-1
The Portland Trail Blazers turned the series around at home in Game 3 and will try to even things up at two wins apiece when they host the Los Angeles Clippers in Game 4 on Monday. The Trail Blazers finally got strong performances in the same game from Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum on Saturday, which boosted their confidence moving forward.
“I knew that this game, if we would have lost this game, we would have been in some real trouble,” Lillard told reporters after the 96-88 win in Game 3. “So I just wanted to come out and leave it out there, be aggressive on the offensive end and help on the defensive end. … Just be in attack mode for 48 minutes and our entire team did that.” Lillard was a combined 13-of-39 from the floor in the first two games but knocked down 10-of-20 en route to 32 points in the return home on Saturday. The Clippers held a four-point lead with under four minutes to play in Game 3 before being outscored 15-1 the rest of the way and were disappointed in their inability to put the game away. “We really don’t want to go into these long playoff series,” Los Angeles guard J.J. Redick told reporters. “Anything can happen, as it showed last year against Houston (when the Clippers squandered a 3-1 lead). When you have a team down, and we had a four-point lead against a team we had 2-0 – we had a great opportunity to go up 3-0, and on Monday, we’ll have an opportunity to go up 3-1.”
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT, Prime Ticket (Los Angeles), KGW (Portland)
LINE HISTORY: The Blazers opened as 2.5-point dogs at home for Game 4 and that line hasn’t moved since hitting the board early Sunday morning. The total opened at 206 and was bumped up to 206.5 almost immediately after release. Check out the complete line history here.
ABOUT THE CLIPPERS (55-30, 42-40-3 ATS, 34-51 O/U): Los Angeles forward Blake Griffin was one of the players talking about the team’s need to stay aggressive after going up 2-0 in the series, and he was disappointed in the team’s Game 3 effort. “They beat us in almost every facet of the game,” Griffin told reporters. “They outhustled us, they were better on the glass, they got the 50-50 balls. They had more energy. They flew around. They executed their game plan. You could tell they wanted to go early. They were tougher than us. They were more aggressive. They were tougher.” The Clippers went 3-of-18 from 3-point range in the loss and Redick was held to five points after totaling 34 in the first two contests.
ABOUT THE BLAZERS (45-40, 45-40 ATS, 44-41 O/U): Lillard and McCollum (27 points on 11-of-22 shooting) handled the bulk of the scoring in Game 3 but the best performance may have come from center Mason Plumlee, who collected six points, 21 rebounds and nine assists. “Obviously, the rebounds speak for themselves,” Portland coach Terry Stotts told reporters of Plumlee. “His playmaking, his running into screens – he had an exceptional game. The rebounding was the biggest thing because that’s been kind of a weak point for us in the series, but his passing, he’s been doing that all year for us.” The Trail Blazers outrebounded the Clippers 63-56 behind Plumlee’s big game.
* Hawks are 0-5 ATS in their last five road games.
* Celtics are 1-4 ATS in their last five games following a ATS win.
* Under is 4-1 in Hawks last five games overall.
* Under is 12-3 in Celtics last 15 games following a straight up win.
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