You know things are going well when you get a favorite that covers in overtime… such is the current streak for me, with two more wins last night pushing the NBA Playoff streak to 8-1 ATS over the last nine games. Let’s try to keep it going with two more great games tonight.
One game last night went as expected, with the Miami Heat absolutely putting the clamps down a beat-up and overwhelmed Chicago roster. They scored a franchise low nine points in the third quarter, and the embarrassment was punctuated by a Norris Cole buzzer beater that sucked the last bit of fight out of the crowd.
It was a valiant run for the Bulls, but also time to laugh at all the people who panicked when the Heat dropped the first game of the series. This thing is done. Over. Bring on the Pacers/Knicks and lets hustle…
Speaking of the Pacers and Knicks, who will it challenging the Champs in the Eastern Conference finals??
Let’s dig inside that critical Game Four as well as the seismic Game Five between Golden State and San Antonio for tonight’s free picks.
New York Knicks at Indiana Pacers -5.5
This series hasn’t been pretty, but that’s just the way Coach Frank Vogel and the Indiana Pacers like it. They’ve brought a 1990’s throwback vibe to a 1990’s throwback rivalry, and if they can muck it up one more time tonight and bully the Knicks off the backboards and contest their shots fro three pour range, they’ll be going back to NYC with a chance to close out the series.
Th Struggles of JR smith have been obvious to even the casual fan, and have received their fare share of attention. However it isn’t just the disappearance of Smith that is plaguing the offense. Their reverting to one-man isolation offense isn’t working, nor is it sitting well with veteran big man Tyson Chandler. Will his teammates need his words, or is it simply a potential distraction and a rift on a team teetering on the brink of trouble??
I liked Indiana to win this series well before the playoffs began, and I’ve seen nothing other than the third quarter of Game Two to persuade me I was wrong. I like Indy to continue to control the paint, to continue to out-defend, and to get just enough offense tonight at home to get the win and cover.
Free Pick: Indiana Pacers -5.5
Golden State Warriors at San Antonio Spurs -7
The most thrilling second round series will pivot in a huge direction following tonight’s result. If the Spurs win, the pressure goes to the Warriors to keep the series alive in game six, with a return trip to San Antonio looming even if they DO stay alive. However, should Golden State pull the upset, the go home with a chance to slay the Spurs and with a ridiculous abundance of confidence.
This game feels like more of a must-win for San Antonio to me, even though logic and history tells us the opposite. Golden State still looks just a little quicker and a little fresher, and they have the entire series. Their Game One collapse in the last four minutes could very well come back to haunt them, but for now, they seem to have put that disappointment WAY in the rearview mirror.
The thing that has made Golden Stare so dangerous this postseason isn’t just Steph Curry, it’s that another player has vaulted into the spotlight every game to support their stat point guard. In Game Two, it was Klay Thompson. Last game, Jarrett Jack. In the previous series it was Harrison Barnes. This team has so many shooters and scorers, that unless the Spurs can get another huge game out of Tim Duncan like they did in Game Three there is no reason for the Warriors to abandon the four shooter lineup that had been so successful.
The Warriors are now 8-2 ATS in the Playoffs, and are 2-0 ATS in San Antonio. I think the warriors have a chance to pull the upset, but I definitely like them with the points.
Free Pick: Golden State Warriors +7