We split our picks last night, and have split so far for the Playoffs. Such is life sometimes handicapping games, and I’d rather be splitting than losing, but it’s time to make a nice positive move. We have three picks going tonight looking for a nice 3-0 or 2-1 evening.
The Bulls showed more heart and a TON more offensive efficiency than I thought they had in them and looked like a completely different team taking down Brooklyn for the first (and only) road win of the 2013 NBA Playoffs. The Grizzlies nearly did the same, only to have their heart ripped out at the buzzer by Chris Paul. Watching his cold-blooded offensive output in the last two minutes; willing the Clippers to the win, it makes you wonder if he could get 30+ every night if he were more in the Monte Ellis/Brandon Jennings mindset as opposed to being the all-around player and leader the Clippers upon whom the Clippers so dearly rely.
So, can any of tonight’s three road warriors, or even The Warriors, break through away from the friendly confines of their home arena? Let’s dig inside a pair of matchups and take a look.
Boston Celtics at New York Knicks -7 (Total: 185.5)
This series isn’t going to be the easy romp the 2/7 seeding suggests. Boston is too tough, too savvy, and too proud to capitulate easily. They know they blew a golden opportunity in Game One, a game in which they led into the fourth quarter. They have injuries galore; the obvious being Rajon Rondo, but also Jared Sullinger which limits their interior depth. Fortunately, neither of those weaknesses is being accentuated too badly, as the Knicks score very little from inside and the backup guards are solid defenders.
I am not sure Boston can steal Game Two but I don’t see them getting blown out. If they hit a few more shots in Game One, we could be looking at an entirely different series. I like a good, tough, close game tonight in the Garden. That means I’ll take Boston with a nice, juicy seven points.
I also expect a very physical game. That makes the 185.5 seem WAY too high. I’ll take the UNDER as well.
Free Pick: Boston Celtics +7 & Total POINTS UNDER 185.5
Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets -8 (Total: 207.5)
The David Lee injury is an absolute killer. He is exactly the athletic big that Golden State needed to have any chance to contend with Denver, and now leaves only Andrew Bogut to try and carry the offensive load inside in an offense that is ill-suited to his strengths. In short – this series is OVER.
Dean Smith once famously remarked that any team can overcome and even be better with the loss of their start player… for ONE game. Then adjustments and reality sets in and the weaknesses glare and manifest. Perhaps tonight could be that ONE shining moment of a game…
But I don’t think so.
Steph Curry should have a better shooting game than Game One (especially his tough first half), but their offense is so limited beyond him and Klay Thompson. I think Golden State will struggle offensively and that Denver will be able to hold them under 100 points tonight. Do that, and Denver wins.
I don’t think this will be a massive 25-point blowout, but I like Denver to do enough to win by double-digits. For the sake of the series, I hope I’m wrong, but those are usually the picks I am the most confident in; the one that go against my fan-brain and focus on the most likely truth. And the truth is, this series is D.O.A.
Free Pick: Denver Nuggets -8