Today’s NBA matchups are interesting, if for no other than reason than the two most “glamorous” series have been so Uninteresting to this point. Both the Knicks and Spurs have had their way with traditional powerhouses, Boston and Los Angeles, turning TV dreams of high first-round ratings into potential disappointments.
Both teams trail 2-0, and looked pretty uncompetitive in Game Two… however, they return home tonight, and if we know nothing else about the playoffs, it is that a team can look helpless one night and then dominant just a few days later.
SO can either the Celtics or Lakers make a triumphant stand tonight and get back in to their respective series? Let’s dig inside the first matchup for today’s free pick.
New York Knicks at Boston Celtics -2.5
We lost banking on the Celtic Pride in Game Two, but I am inclined to go back to the well one last time. For starters, the simple moving of a series to another city often flip-flops the momentum. Look at Memphis and the Clippers last night; new city – completely opposite tenor and tempo of the game and a completely opposite result (by the way, can’t you just FEEL the fight brewing between those two teams?? This thing is going to get really nasty before it’s all said and done…).
Boston will also be making their first appearance in the Garden since the tragic events at the Boston Marathon. Time has elapsed to lessen the pure rawness of the emotion, but you can bet emotions will be extra high tonight, especially for passionate players like Garnett and Pierce.
But the real key to tonight’s game is Jeff Green. He is going to have to be the primary scorer if the Celtics are going to win this game. It is a role he has both flourished in and vanished from at different points in the past two months. I think he will have a nice bounce back game tonight.
The other big factor is the Knicks shooting. Like most teams, their shooting splits drop a bit on the road, shooting just 43.8% away from New York, almost 2% under league average. I think the Celtics force enough misses to control tempo and get a must-win Game Three.
Free Pick: Boston Celtics -2.5
In the late game, I am abstaining from a pick. I have a lean towards the Lakers getting 4.5, but Game Two’s performance scares me away from wagering. Los Angeles didn’t play poorly – and they still got trounced. It may be that they just flat-out aren’t good enough to beat the Spurs… That’s my concern and why I’m staying away from this game. I wouldn’t be surprised by any outcome, any margin, in either direction…