Three road teams have already stolen away home court advantage in the four second round series that commenced this weekend. Memphis got things off to a surprising start Sunday, and the Hawks and Mavericks built on the insanity last night, each pulling off road victories and delivering loud messages that they are prepared for a tough series fight.
Tonight the Celtics try to steal a road win and even the series, while the Grizz are playing with house money, already up 1-0 over the Thunder. It should be a great night of playoff action, so let’s get on to some winners.
Today’s Free NBA Picks:
Boston Celtics @ Miami Heat -5 (Total: 181.5)
The Celtics not only lost Game one, they also lost their composure along the way, most notably Paul Pierce who was ejected in the third quarter after picking up his second technical foul in the span of two minutes.
Tonight, the C’s look to rely on their championship pedigree and bounce back with a resilient effort. I think they’ll get it. Rondo struggled in the first game, but has a clear advantage over whomever the Heat play at point; Bibby or Chalmers. And Boston still has a pretty distinct size advantage, especially from an offensive standpoint.
The key to the game for Miami is getting off to a hot start, something they did in Game One, but were unable to do in the Philadelphia series. Boston opened the series missing 20 of their first 26 shots, while Miami built an early lead. For the rest of the game, the Celtics would surge back to close to even, but could never entirely close the gap.
The key for their Celtics is to shoot well enough to eliminate run-out opportunities for the league’s most dynamic transition offense.
I still like Boston’s toughness and savvy over the course of the series, and like them to even it at one apiece tonight in South Beach.
Memphis Grizzlies @ Oklahoma City Thunder -6.5 (Total: 187)
I think it is time to ask the legitimate question, ‘are the Grizzlies really this good?’ The answer, is ‘yes’ with a qualifier. Yes, as long as Zach Randolph continues to look like one of the top 5 or 10 players in the NBA. Z-Bo has been unstoppable, and the rest of the team has fed off him from there.
The strength of the Oklahoma City team, especially after the trade for Kendrick Perkins, was supposed to be their fierce interior defense. In the opener, Randolph and teammate Marc Gasol combined for 54 points and 23 rebounds – completely dominating the Thunder post players.
The Thunder didn’t double Zach Randolph in Game One. You can bet they won’t make that same mistake tonight. Expect the Thunder to make adjustments and tighten up their defense. As long as they defend the paint more effectively, Westbrook and Durant, plus the boisterous home crown, should be enough to buoy this series back to even.
Give me the Thunder, even laying the 6.5.
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