Boston Celtics at Philadelphia 76’ers -2 (Total: 172)
It may not be pretty basketball, but it certainly is competitive and intense in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals. The Pacers clawed and fought their way to a brutal, but vital, 79-76 win last night in Miami to even the series at two games apiece. With the win on the road and the absence of injured Chris Bosh for the remainder of the series, the very real possibility of Indiana potentially winning this series has vaulted into play. Say this for the Indiana Pacers – they may not have any idea who to get the basketball to in the last few minutes at crunch time, but they sure aren’t afraid of the Heat; in fact, to this point, they have been the clear aggressors in the series.
The same can be said for the other series in the East, where Philadelphia stole Game Two on the road in Boston, and now heads home with a chance to take command of the series. Boston has more individual talent, especially offensively, but it has been the young upstart eight-seed Sixers who have been the more physically assertive team through the first two games. Can the continue that trend tonight in Game Three? Let’s delve a little deep into the matchup and get a better idea of how this series is transpiring.
Philadelphia’s edge has been in their ability to muck it up and grind tempo. Through the first two games, neither team has been able to establish much of an offensive rythym, however Philly has been able to leak out on occasion and steal a few easy transition buckets against the flat-footed Celtics. Look for Doc to make an adjustment tonight to keep the floor balance better and to limit and leak out opportunities for Evan Turner or Andre Iguodala (who ironically WON the opening series on just such a fastbreak opportunity).
Kevin Garnett has become a man possessed this series. Perhaps a better description is a man reborn, as “possessed” would aptly describe the first 15 years of his career as well. He averaging 24.5 points and 12 boards in this series, so be careful not to call him “dirty” or “old” or “washed up” or anything of the other pejoratives that seem to have his focus laser sharp. Hell, in real life, I’d be nervous to call him “Mister Garnett.” This dude is wired a little differently…
The Celtics should have a big advantage at the point with Rajon Rondo over J’Rue Holliday, and I expect that to be exploited a bit better tonight. The seemingly obvious play is Philly at home, after winning a game on the road, but beware… Vegas is smart. There is a reason why the C’s are only two-point dogs tonight; it’s because they are the better team. I like them playing like it tonight and getting control back of this series.
Free Pick: Boston Celtics +2 <– Click for $100 FREE BET