Three of the eight Game One's were taken by the road team, and the Pacers nearly made it an even 4-4 split. Can the Indiana Pacers recreate the effort tonight, or will the Cleveland Cavaliers assert their Championship mettle?
Game One’s are in the books and already three of the eight series have had home court wrested away by the underdogs. Chicago was the latest culprit, knocking off Boston in the Garden and rendering the #1 seed essentially meaningless just two hours in to the Celtics postseason journey. Maybe the Cavs knew what they were doing after all…
It was emotional day for Boston and their leader and MVP-candidate Isaiah Thomas just a few days after losing his sister unexpectedly to a fatal car crash. Let’s hope IT can move on and play well. It’s an absolutely heartbreaking story. His play was stellar in Game One, but as I wrote in an NBA Upset Watch column, he failed to get much help from Boston’s other scoring options. The lack of a true elite #2 and #3 is going to be a challenge for them as long as they last in the postseason.
There’s only two games on the slate today; Indiana trying to rebound after a brutal close-call loss in Game One in a great look at landing a haymaker to the defending champ’s chin, and the Spurs looking for a second-straight yawner against the Grizzlies as they look to close this series out quickly before things get far more difficult in Round Two.
Today’s NBA Pick:
Indiana Pacers at Cleveland Cavaliers -7.5
We were about two or three inches from this column being about a TOTALLY different story. However, CJ Miles game-winning mid-range jumper clanged harmlessly away, Paul George opined after the game that he “has to get the ball there” – failing to note HE MADE THE PASS TO MILES, and Cleveland dodged a MAJOR bullet.
So what is the hangover effect? Is Indiana energized by seeing how easily they can compete with the Champs, or deflated knowing they likely let their one true chance to win this series slip right through their fingers?
I’m guessing a little of both. The Cavaliers defense could allow this game to remain within striking distance and let Indy grab another “nice try, good effort” cover. But I think Indy missed their shot. The Cavs were just 14 of 27 from the foul line, an outside the normal Bell curve number. If they are 21 of 27, the game isn’t ever close. I think this series will not be a series in the truest sense – meaning no Game Seven, and possibly no more close calls in Cleveland. I’ll say five games, but five unimpressive games, if that makes sense. Cleveland wins tonight, splits in Indy and locks this thing up in Game Five in Cleveland, but never looks truly “Championship-Worthy” in the process.
LeBron was awesome in Game One, but didn’t get enough help. Look for less from Lance tonight, who was brilliant in Game One, and an easier time for a few of The King’s teammates. I’ll take the Cavs by double digits tonight.
Today’s Pick: CLEVELAND CAVALIERS -7.5