NBA Playoff Game Analysis & Preview
Who Should You Back In The NBA Tonight
By Dan Favale
Toronto Raptors (-4.5) vs. Miami Heat (+4.5)
Two of the NBA’s most inconsistent playoff teams begin their seven game set on Monday night. The Toronto Raptors are at home after wrapping up a seven-game slugfest with Indiana Pacers, while the Miami Heat just barely escaped their first round matchup with the Charlotte Hornets, squandering a 2-0 series lead that inevitably left them facing a do or die Game 7.
Though the Raptors have the edge, as the better regular season team, it’s the Heat that have, in recent outings, looked like the better contingent. They really only have one star in his prime, with Hassan Whiteside, but are getting a ton of production from different players on any given night. Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic, Josh Richardson, Luol Deng and Joe Johnson, in addition to Whiteside, have all stepped up at different stages of Miami’s postseason push.
The Raptors, meanwhile, are still trying to get DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry on track at the same time. Both of them had a series to forget against the Pacers, and it’s getting to the point where you cannot bank on them regaining form. They have been struggling for a while, and until they both prove otherwise, it’s time to view the aging Heat as real threats—perhaps even the favorites to make it through the second round and into the Eastern Conference Finals.
The Pick: Heat (+4.5)
Golden State Warriors (-9.5) vs. Portland Trail Blazers (+9.5)
Losing Stephen Curry will not be a problem for the Golden State Warriors in this series. They showed as much in Game 1, beating the Portland Trail Blazers 118-106 at Oracle Arena, in front of a noisy, inspired crowd that treated Golden State’s healthy bodies like gods. The Warriors, as such, need to be viewed as heavy favorites in this game, as well as this entire series.
Still, this is a contest where it’s worth taking a chance on the Blazers. They have a better chance of keeping things close with the Warriors since Curry is on the sidelines, and head coach Terry Stotts will do a nice job of adjusting Portland’s defensive schemes to account for Klay Thompson’s 37 point explosion in Game 1.
Does that mean the Blazers will win, or that they should be viewed as attractive moneyline plays? Not even slightly. They will still probably lose this game. But you can’t count on the Warriors to secure a double digit victory, either. Not having Curry changes that much, paving the way for a series worth of closely contested games that may not result in a Blazers win, but could certainly make for entertaining television. And since Game 1 is already dead and gone, it seems only more likely that Game 2 will end up being a more competitive affair.
The Pick: Blazers (+9.5)
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