NBA Playoff Game Preview
NBA Playoff Game Predictions & Odds Comparisons
By Dan Favale
Miami Heat (-5.5) vs. Toronto Raptors (+5.5)
The Toronto Raptors, even after winning Game 2, have not yet earned the benefit of the doubt. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry are playing terrible offensive basketball, and it’s left the team to rely almost solely on its defense to carve out victories.
That model won’t be sustainable over the long haul, and Toronto’s foundation has already revealed some cracks over the last few weeks. Even when they get offensive explosions from Jonas Valanciunas, Terrence Ross or DeMarre Carroll, the absence of a cohesive offensive punch from DeRozan and Lowry is noticeable and adversley impactful.
Something about this series, though, should make you dread any team, in this case the Miami Heat, favorited by more than five points. The Heat are at home and don’t suffer from the same offensive warts as the Raptors, but these two squads appear evenly matched on almost every other front. Where the Raptors are lusting for star power, the Heat don’t employ a superstar in his prime—perhaps with the exception of Hassan Whiteside, and his reputation isn’t established enough to earn him that designation.
Adjustments will be made by both sides in Game 3. Expect the Heat to take more threes and initiate more pick-and-rolls; expect the Raptors to test out different ways of springing DeRozan and Lowry free, as they try to will them out of their slumps.
In the end, this game should be close. The Raptors may not win, but Games 1 and 2 came down to the wire. Game 3 should be no different.
The Pick: Raptors (+5.5)
Portland Trail Blazers (+3.5) vs. Golden State Warriors (-3.5)
Here’s what we know about this sparring between the Golden State Warriors and Portland Trail Blazers: Stephen Curry won’t be suiting up for Game 3, the Blazers have been absolutely terrifying when playing at home, and the spread, as such, is ridiculously hard to figure out.
The Warriors are powerful enough even without Curry to steal this one. That’s not up for debate. But they showed signs of flaws in Game 2, when the Blazers took a double digit lead into the fourth quarter. If they fall behind, it won’t be so easy for them to make it up on the road, while subject to a hostile environment.
Still, this spread is small. And these are the Warriors. The sensible pick is Golden State, even if it’s a virtual coin toss.
The Pick: Warriors (-3.5)
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