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The old saw is that NBA playoff games are defensively oriented, half court affairs with a lot of low scores and UNDER totals. This year at least, the reality is completely opposite. Through the games of 5/19 (where both games went UNDER) NBA playoff totals stand at 38 OVER 26 UNDER and 4 PUSH. That's a 59.3% OVER clip with 8 of the L12 and 13 of the L19 NBA playoff contests eclipsing the posted total. Out west, the Clippers/Suns series is a threat to go OVER any total linesmakers post. More surprising is the Spurs/Mavs series--the Spurs have always been a tough defensive team, and the Mavs upgraded their defense significantly this year yet 4 of the first 5 in the series have gone OVER. The Spurs seem to be employing a strategy of trying to outscore the Mavs, which in my opinion isn't the best plan but its why the games have been trending OVER. Back east, 4 of the 5 games in the Miami/New Jersey series went OVER. In the Detroit/Cleveland series we're seeing more traditional playoff basketball with 3 of the 5 games going UNDER.

Unlike the NHL, where the new emphasis on calling penalties has changed the scoring structure of the game, the NBA OVER tendency appears to be more of a function of matchups than anything else. I expect scoring to slow down in the conference finals, even if the high scoring Suns are involved. In a potential Phoenix series with either Texas team I'm thinking that totals will be inflated due to the public perception of the Suns as a high scoring team. Totals will be higher, but look for either Dallas or San Antonio to try to slow the tempo significantly making this a potentially good spot of play the UNDER.


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