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Adjustments usually alter sides, totals

May 13, 2008 7:00 PM

Feist Facts by Jim Feist | Playoff basketball pits the best against the best, which gets even more heated the deeper we get toward June.

The star players and the better teams usually find themselves advancing. One aspect that all seeds, hot and cold, do this time of year is to make coaching adjustments and strategic shifts. Handicappers need to keep up on these adjustments as it can influence the side and total of the next contest.

The Celtics got torched by Atlantas Joe Johnson in the first round, when he scored 20 fourth quarter points in Game 4, a 97-92 Hawks upset. Determined not to let Johnson run wild on them, the Celtics sent waves of double-teams attacking him the rest of the series. Boston went 2-1 SU/ATS after that Game 4 collapse.

The 76ers surprised the Pistons by playing man to man early in the series. Many teams double Rasheed Wallace, but Sixers coach Maurice Cheeks didnt want to leave Chauncey Billups and Richard Hamilton uncovered. Philadelphia went up 2-1 before the Pistons adjusted.

The Cleveland Cavaliers made a midseason trade partly to jumpstart an anemic offense, bringing in more scoring options alongside LeBron James, such as Delonte West, Wally Szczerbiak and Joe Smith. They were more of an up-tempo team for a while, but as the playoffs approached, coach Mike Brown began emphasizing defense.

The Cavaliers carried a 9-3 under the total run into Game 1 at Boston last week. Both teams played a slow, crushing defensive style in a 76-72 Boston win. The game went under the total by 33 points!

Its important for sports bettors to watch as many games as possible and carefully read up on them the next day. Injuries and strategic adjustments can be revealing.

If you just read the box scores or catch the final score on TV, you might not understand all the complex moves taking place. The fact is, key strategic adjustments by the coaches can influence the series, sides and totals.