I intentionally stayed away from last night’s Bulls vs. Heat game because of a lingering fear that Chicago might just much it up and muster another one of those gutty performances; strong enough to cover the 11.5 point spread and send a little message to the Heat that the series wasn’t going to be easy, regardless of how many Bulls were sidelines.
Um… message received. Not only did the Bulls cover, they stunned the Heat on their home floor taking game one 93-86 behind 27 points from Dyna-Nate and 21 from Jimmy Butler (all my non-hardcore NBA fans feel free to google “Jimmy Butler” right now…).
It’s nervous times for anyone who bet the series in Miami’s favor, as they went off the board yesterday at -2500… I still think the Heat are JUST fine, but it is a wake-up call for sure.
Tonight’s games are both in series where the wake-up call has already been given. Both teams know they are in for tough battles. So can the Knicks and Grizzlies even up their series tonight? Let’s dig inside the matchups for tonight’s free picks.
Indiana Pacers at New York Knicks -6.5
I try not to be a prisoner of the moment. Meaning, as a bettor, it is advisable to avoid the emotion of a big game early in the series one way or another. One big win early does not mean the other team is done (ask Brooklyn), not does one lousy shooting performance portend terrible results to follow.
But the early indications from this series is that the Knicks have some real interior issues that may not be able to be addressed in this series. I think Indiana is winning this series in five or six games. But I also think New York can get hot enough from the outside to win any game in which they take the floor.
I’m going to bank on home court carrying them to a split and tying up the series tonight. Indiana is not a blessed offensive team, so if New York can shoot a reasonable percentage from the outside (because they aren’t going to outrebound the Pacers) they should be able to hang in the game and get a win.
Give me the Knicks to make a stand at home tonight in front of the MSG crowd, and Carmelo to do a much better job against the excellent defense of Paul George. However, six and a half points is a lot to lay on a team that looks as potentially outmanned as the Knicks. I’ll take them to win, but Indy to hang around and cover.
Free Pick: Indiana Pacers +6.5