We got back on the winning beat and notched our fourth NBA winner in five games with the Heat’s straight-up road winner to open the Toronto series. Miami TRIED valiantly to give that game away, squandering a six point lead in the final six seconds, highlighted by a Kyle Lowry midcourt buzzer beater, and throwing away an inbounds pass up three in the final seconds of overtime. The Heat are going to need to close more efficiently than this if they hope to have a shot in Cleveland, but for now, I am sure they are plenty happy to take the opening roadie in the Conference Semi’s.
Perhaps Toronto should just have Kyle Lowry jack shots from half court? Lowry scored just seven points in the entire contest and was 3 of 13 from the floor, 1 of 7 from distance (and really, 0-6 from three and 1-1 from DISTANCE). He and DeRozan combined to go just 12 of 35 from the floor, marking yet ANTOHER game where the pair shot under 35% from the floor. I’ve been saying it for a week, and will continue, something just ISN’T RIGHT in Toronto right now, and I wouldn’t be surprised to later find out the root cause is something more than just “playing poorly.”
In the late game, the Dubs continued to make the Steph Curry injury less and less relevant with another easy win over Portland. They are up 2-0, and at this point, no matter how much Steph protests, it seems silly to rush him back for Game Three. Rest up young man, the real series, and the presumptive NBA Championship, is on the horizon…
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Today’s Free Pick:
Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers -7.5
This just isn’t a good matchup for Atlanta. Dating back to the playoff series last year, Cleveland has won eight straight games against the Hawks and it is hard to see any real road block to them advancing this year. In fact, you could make a real cogent argument that Atlanta is not as good this season as they were last year, and that Cleveland is better. They are at least certainly healthier than last year’s MASH unit playoff run.
The result should be quick work. They swept the Hawks last year and I think another one might be on deck for 2016. Game One was closer than it should have been until the Cavs shook off some rust very late. I expect less rust tonight.
The Hawks biggest issue is that they can’t guard LeBron with one person. They might have to try tonight, because the rebounding issues the double teams caused were so pronounced that it ended up being far more demoralizing than seeing LeBron go for 40/10 would have been. I expect them to try to play a little more straight-up tonight, and for LeBron to have a big game as a result.
This series is a flat-out mismatch. I hate laying this many points, but I honestly think Cleveland rolls tonight, so can’t go any other way. It should be a double-digit win with a focused and healthy Cavs squad eager to do what they seem to always do – bury the Hawks with ease.
Five of their last eight wins over Atlanta have been by double-digits and one other was by nine. I expect a similar result tonight in Cleveland. Atlanta may jump up and compete in one of the home games, but not tonight on the road.