Things are pretty well situated in the East, as the Cavaliers and Wizards made short, easy work of their first round series yesterday, closing out the Celtics and Raptors in four games. I imagine the fallout will be significant in Toronto as the favored Raptors failed to win a SINGLE game in their four game series. Meanwhile, the West is at least flirting with providing some excitement outside of the epic Clippers vs. Spurs slugfest that seems destined to go the disatance thanks to a nice back-against-the-wall former champion effort from the Mavs last night. Statistics and metrics be damned, I knew the Mavs wouldn’t succumb without a little fight last night. They got the win and the easy cover and helped us pull to a nice 6-3 ATS in the postseason.
Let’s see if we can make it a nice seven of ten and jump off to a 70% start to the NBA Playoffs with another winner tonight.
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Today’s Free Pick:
Memphis Grizzlies at Portland Trailblazers -3
The Grizzlies have owned this series so far over the battered Blazers. But the scales might finally be a little more even tonight with Mike Conley out. The point guard and team leader took an inadvertent elbow to the face in Game Three and is having facial microfracture surgery. I’m not a doctor, but that sounds like a lot less fun than wrapping up the series in Portland tonight.
We’ve already seen two teams give nice Game Four efforts down 3-0 to salvage a measure of pride in their series. I think we will see a third tonight. Damian Lillard should enjoy a night off from Conley’s stringent defense. Look for him to have a nice night. Plus, Portland has been a good home team all season long. They are stuck in a lousy matchup and nursing a ton of injuries, but I think they’ll salvage a total embarrassment tonight.
LaMarcus Alderidge has done a good job of keeping Portland competitive, averaging 23.4 and 10.4, but he needs some help. I think he’ll see a big jump from Lillard tonight with Conley out. Portland was 32-9 at home this season, so look for the home court advantage to be huge tonight. Yes, Memphis has covered six straight games against Portland and nine of the their last ten – that’s pretty daunting, but I’ll take solace in the fact that the Grizz have a lot less motivation tonight and are a different team without Mike Conley.