The Hawks made us sweat it out a little last night, but were able to just narrowly cover and help deliver our third straight NBA winner to push the overall playoff record to a nice 64% ATS. We will try to keep it going tonight.
Also trying to keep it going tonight will be the series that can’t stop delivering drama; the Bulls and Cavs. In fact the only thing that can derail this series is the possibility that both teams will run out of players. Kevin Love is already out. J.R. Smith missed the first two games. Now Kyrie is banged up and allegedly LeBron is nursing an injury. Both will play tonight, but it does cast a little specter of doubt on the Cavvs being able to hold on to their newly-reclaimed home court advantage tonight in Cleveland. Meanwhile, Chicago played game four without Pau, everyone is always fretting about the relative health of Joakim and Rose, and this series is likely going to be about which team wills themselves to the finish line.
Good news for the Hawks or Wizards perhaps…
I’m not touching the Cavs vs. Bulls game tonight. I’d lean Cavs, but am instead focusing on the game and series I’ve felt I had the best read on since the beginning, the Rockets and Clippers.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Los Angeles Clippers -2.5 at Houston Rockets (Total: 218.5)
To say the Clippers have dominated this series would be an understatement. They are up 3-1 with three blowout wins and have covered all four games. Their effort has put the Rockets to shame to the point it has been tough to remember that the Rockets were actually the #2 seed and the technical “favorite” heading into the series. They seemed to be in the driver’s seat with Chris Paul missing the first two games but all they could salvage was a split at home and then got blasted out of the Staples Center in the following two contests.
SO do the Rockets return home with some pride tonight and extend the series or will they continue to be the lying dogs we had to watch in the two games in LA?
There are some reasons to hang onto hope for the Rockets. They fell apart in Game Four but Dwight Howard, who has actually played well in the postseason, logged only 18 foul-plagued minutes, so he should be better tonight. There is also a good chance they just play basketball tonight instead of mucking up the game to the disgusting point of fouling DeAndre Jordan eight hundred times. And there is the fact that they were a solid 34-12 at home this year.
Ok. That’s all I got. The Rockets are dogs. They are done. And to make things even worse, Chris Paul appears to be back to normal and is slated to play his normal minutes tonight (assuming the game is close enough that he needs to). Austin Rivers has remarkably flourished in this series, solidifying the shaky Clippers bench, Jason Terry can try and try and try, but he simply cannot guard JJ Reddick at this point in his career, and Blake Griffin continues to make a good case for best player in the 2015 postseason.
The Clippers actually opened as one point dogs but the line has moved them all the way to two and half point favorites. I’d obviously rather not lay points on the road, but I think the Clippers are motivated to get this thing over with so they can sit back, relax, and let Chris Paul get healthy while the Warriors and Grizzlies slug it out in a long series.