So much for an interesting series between the Wiz and the Raptors. Toronto, facing a must-win game last night on their home floor got trounced, falling to 0-2 in the series with the next two games in Washington. I dropped that pick, and am still frankly very surprised by how underwhelming and non-competitive Toronto looked last night. The Celtics and Mavericks also fell into 0-2 holes last night, but at least both were heavy underdogs and lost their two games on the road. The Raptors are the early favorite for the “most disappointing team in the Playoffs” award.
Let’s see if we can get back to some nice winning ways tonight. There are a nice slate of games to choose from; Brooklyn aims to make their series against Atlanta semi-interesting, even if no one is watching it, while Portland tries to rebound from a miserable opening game effort against Memphis and the glamour series – San Antonio and the Clippers tips off at 10:45 EST with the Clippers looking to hold home court edge and take a commanding 2-0 series lead over the champs.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Portland Trailblazers at Memphis Grizzlies -6
The Blazers made the final score semi-respectable, but truthfully they were never in Game One of this series. Memphis took control early and cruised to an easy home win. The extra upside of that result is that Memphis, a team riddled with nagging injuries, was able to coast for much of the game and then enjoy a nice day of rest at home before gearing up for tonight’s Game Two.
Portland showed so much promise two months ago and it was looking like L.A. and Video Game Dame were about to take that vaunted next step into the realm of big time NBA superstars. However, a broken thumb has slowed Alderidge (only slightly) and the loss of Wesley Matthews slowed EVERYONE. Portland just isn’t the same team without Wes. In fact, they are 10-13 since his injury. To make matters even worse, Aaron Afflalo, the poor-man’s substitute for Matthews is listed as questionable tonight. The Blazers are 0-4 this season without Afflalo.
Memphis has their share of nagging injuries; Tony Allen and Mike Conley are both probable tonight, so it remains to be seen how effective either/both are tonight. But at least they have all their pieces available. Memphis’s physical frontcourt is a tough matchup for most teams, and especially for Portland. Add in Conley’s defensive prowess being focused on Lillard and it gets tougher for the Blazers to find points. I think Lillard will be game tonight and give it a good run, but in the end, Memphis is just better, healthier and at home. This series should be 2-0 Memphis after tonight and I don’t think it’ll be particularly suspenseful…