Yesterday provided a very interesting start to Round Two. The Grizzlies continued to stun the NBA world, stealing Game One in convincing fashion in Oklahoma City. Kevin Durant summed it up well after the game, talking about how they were outplayed in nearly every single fashion. He was completely accurate. The Grizzlies dominated Oklahoma City on their own floor yesterday afternoon.
The birth of Zach Randolph as a genuine superstar seems to be complete, as the oft-disgruntled power forward has been playing like a cross between Tim Duncan and Hakeem Olajawon over the past two weeks. With his baseline fade away dropping effortlessly through the net at will, “Z-Bo” has been simply unguardable, and not too bashful about letting opponent’s fans know it either. If he keeps this remarkable play up, we could be looking at one of the most unlikely Conference Finalists in NBA history…
Computer based betting system went 3-1 (w. big underdog) yesterday…. click here for today’s picks 8)
Today’s Free NBA Picks:
Atlanta Hawks @ Chicago Bulls -8.5 (Total: 178)
The Bulls took a while, but by Game Five of the Pacer series they finally looked like the team with the best record in the NBA. Prior to that, they were pushed to the brink by a team that went 37-45 in the regular season; not exactly the way you were hoping to start the Playoffs if you are a Bulls fan.
Now, the Bulls get a favorable matchup in Round Two with the Atlanta Hawks, fresh off their six-game upset win over the favored Orlando Magic. The one major difference that should help the Bulls in this series is the relative lack of physicality from Atlanta. Yes, Horford is a tough customer inside, but they certainly don’t bring the battery of physical defenders that the pacers threw on the floor.
The Hawks also aren’t very good at turning over the opposing offense. The one chink in Rose’s armor has been his tendency to get a little loose with the ball. The Hawks rank 29th in the league, forcing just 12.5 turnovers a game.
Less bumping means more driving lanes and open shots created by the un-guardable Derrick Rose. It means more domination on the offensive galss for Joakim Noah and Carlos Boozer – and it should mean a relatively easy series win.
I like Chicago to come out sharp and rested tonight and to get a great jump on the series with a commanding win. Give me the Bulls laying the 8.5.
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Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Lakers -6 (Total: 189)
It really comes down to one simple question. Are these new-look Mavericks realy improved enough defensively to corral Kobe, Gasol and the rest of the Triangle Offense well enough to fell the two-time champion Lakers?
Surprisingly, given the two team success over the last decade, this is the first time these two will meet in a Playoff series in 23 years. If this series is anything like the technical foul-laden most recent regular season game, we could be in for some fireworks.
These two teams enter the game with identical 61-27 records (including their 4-2 playoff series wins), and finished the season with identical 57-25 records. The key to this matchup might end up being which aging point guard gives a better lift to his team. Both team’s relative weakness is covered a bit (point guard defense) by the fact the weakness is shared equally.
I think LA has more starting talent and a more dynamic offense, but I like the Mavericks depth a little better.
This is going to be a great series. I like Dallas with the points tonight, for the simple fact that this year’s Laker squad has shown a real knack for only focusing once the difficulty has been amped up a little bit. Tonight is Dallas’s opportunity to steal one at the Staples Center, and I think Rick Carlise will have them playing like it…