It was a pretty uneventful start to the NBA Playoffs, with every single game yesterday being decided by double-digit margins. It was also a rough weekend to be the underdog, as the favorites went 8-0 and 7-1 ATS. So will the second games bring a little more drama? Outside of Golden State versus Denver, every other weekend game was a snoozer, and now the Warriors will be without the services of David Lee who tore his hip flexor in his first ever playoff game.
Two teams will try to lick their wounds and rebound from Game One blowouts tonight. Let’s dig inside the matchups and see if either have a chance to steal a road victory…
Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets -4.5 (Total: 183)
The Nets absolutely had their way with Chicago, who looked a lot slower and much more banged up than the relatively healthy Nets. The lack of depth due to injury showed in some of the disadvantaged matchups the Bulls got trapped in at times, having Carlos Boozer at center and Luol Deng at the power forward while Nets’ center Brooke Lopez had his way inside. Coach Thibs is a good coach, and I expect him to make some necessary adjustments in Game Two, but you can only play chess with the pirces you have. My impression from Game One is that the Nets have better pieces on the board.
The simple fact remains, Joakim Noah, while paying gamely, is not 100% healthy. That gives them seveer front court deficiencies. And while they may have been able to get by with Heinrich and Nate Robinson at the point, that isn’t going to get it done against Deron Williams, who has been playing simply fantastic basketball the last two months.
The Bulls might get one or two at home to make this a series, but I think Brooklyn takes this one against at home.
Free Pick: Brooklyn Nets -4.5
Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Clippers -5.5 (Total: 181)
The Clippers ran Memphis out of the gym late in Game One, en route to a 112-91 victory. I don’t expect Game Two to be as easy. These two teams met in a slug-fest seven-game opening round series last year, and before it’s all said and done, I expect six or seven games of the same this season.
While these teams have played a few low scoring games in the past, the hallmark of both of these teams, especially the Clippers who are at home (and home teams tend to dictate tempo in the NBA) is their talented offenses.
Game One had a total of 203 points. I expect tonight to creep up near 200 again, making the low total of just 183 extremely vulnerable.
I like a good game, with a lean towards Memphis getting the points, but my official pick is OVER 183.
Free Pick: Point TOTAL OVER 183