We had a nice 2-0 ATS NBA evening, but our night was half as good as the remarkable Steph Curry’s. The Warriors took a commanding 3-1 series lead over the Nuggets, thanks in large part to Curry’s 23-point flurry in the final six minutes of the third quarter. Even more impressive, he did it all on a bum ankle. Now, he gets a few days to rest, and Denver gets a few days to find some solution to slow down Golden State’s small lineup. I cautioned in yesterday’s pick that despite picking the Warriors to go up 3-1, this series is far from over…
Meanwhile, a few games tonight will determine if a series is about to begin or if it is time to begin looking at some second round matchups. So let’s dig inside a few particular matchups and find a winning edge for tonight.
Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets -5.5 (Total: 180.5)
The Bulls are in firm control of the series after Saturday’s triple-overtime thriller, but will have their work cut out for them tonight if they want to close out the series in Brooklyn. The Nets know they let one slip away Saturday, and if this series was 2-2, it’d be a totally different story – but it isn’t, so it is do-or-die time tonight.
Brooklyn has a host of offensive advantages, but thanks to the stingy Bulls defense, they haven’t been able to exploit them as consistently as they should be able to. They’ve experienced long stretches of offensive anemia, with Deron Williams and Joe Johnson seemingly disappearing. They’ve already turned in quarters of 11 and 14 points. They’ve also turned in quarters with over 35 points several times.
It’s been very hit or miss – but I think tonight at the Barclay’s Center, with their backs to the wall, it will be more “hit”. I like the Nets to win and cover, though I’d be surprised if they can get Game Six in Chicago. But, as Coach PJ Carlisimo said, the playoffs are about individual games, one game at a time. For now, I Iike the Nets to live to fight another day.
Free Pick: Brooklyn Nets -5.5
Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks -2 (Total: 185.5)
What a difference a change of venue makes… the Pacers had scored 100 points or more in five straight games against the Hawks heading into Saturday’s meeting in Phillips Arena. They left with a 90-69 defeat and one of the worst shooting performances in Pacer playoff history. So – was it a sign of the Hawks figuring out a way to rough up and frustrate the Pacers, or simply a one-game aberration?
I can’t imagine the Pacers will play as poorly tonight, but it is hard to ignore the fact they’ve lost 11 straight games at Atlanta. The 2-point line is pretty much a pick ‘em. I think Indiana is a MUCH better team, but eleven straight road losses in the ATL is tough to bet against.
I am staying away from the winner/loser in this one, but am banking on better offense in this contest. In their past six games, the five before Saturday went over 186 points. I’ll bank on a reverting to the norm tonight.
Free Pick: Total Points OVER 185.5