The Memphis and Oklahoma City series continued to be one of the most thrilling first round series in recent memory with yet another overtime game last night, the fourth in a row in the series and the third won by the Grizzlies. The game appeared to end in jubilation for the home team when Serge Ibaka’s tip in at the buzzer sent Thunder players diving onto each other in a pile on the floor celerating their 3-2 series lead.
But not so fast… upon review, the basket was waved off, giving the Grizzlies the road win and now affording them the opportunity to wrap the series up on their home floor in Game Six. I’m not quite ready to make a pick on that game yet, I’ll wait to see the number, but I will wager confidently that neither team will have an easy time of it.
As great and tense as the game was, it was pretty unstressful for me, with the Grizz +7, things were never in doubt from a wagering perspective. Let’s see if we can build on the win and pick up another tonight.
Meanwhile, The Bulls became the second team to duck out of the Playoffs, and the NBA now faces the very real and frightening possibility of a Hawks vs. Wizards second round series. That sounds like one to bump to NBAtv at every opportunity…
Three more games tonight, so let’s dive in with today’s free pick:
Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors -3 (Total: 191)
This series has gotten lost a bit in all the drama surrounding Indiana and the Western Conference, and of course the Donald Sterling media circus. But between the distractions and the fact that most of the games in the series have been jettisoned to NBAtv, a really good series has gotten lost. It is a fun matchup of youth and athleticism against veteran savvy and poise, and, like seemingly every series this year, is knotted up at two game apiece.
That makes tonight’s Game Five a big one for both teams, but especially the Raptors who will be defending their home court. That gives them a nice advantage tonight. Brooklyn’s home/road spreads is one of the larger ones of any playoff team, with nearly 35 percentage points differentiating between their home and road winning percentages. They won barely 35% of their road games this season. These two teams have split the pair in each location, but I like the percentages to swing back in Toronto’s favor tonight.
The Nets tend to go as Deron Williams goes, and this series is no different. In their two losses he has scored 15 and 10 points respectively. In the wins, he has gone over 25. Toronto’s DeMar DeRozan continues to stake a good claim as most underrated player in the East, averaging 28 ppg since his rough playoff debut Game One. I’ll take the young gun tonight at home.