NBA Playoffs Start To Get Serious
At this stage in the first round of the Playoff series, things start to get a bit serious as teams know that one slip could bring their season to a close. There were three big games on Monday night, all of which saw teams battling to keep their dreams alive take the upper hand on the evening, which means that there is still plenty of basketball action to look forward to in this round.
The Nets grabbed a thrilling 120-115 win over the Atlanta Hawks in Brooklyn and after four games, this series is now tied at 2-2. This means that there will be plenty more excitement left in this series.
The Trail Blazers managed to keep their NBA Championship dreams alive with a 99-92 home win over the Memphis Grizzlies. This leaves the series at 3-1 to the Memphis side, who will still be favourites to make progress, but this was a game that Portland had to win, and they did. They now need to win their next game to ensure that they are still in the running.
The Bucks bucked the trend of late with a big away win in Chicago. The 88-94 away win means that the series now stands at 3-2 to Chicago and while one more win will see the Bulls through to the next round, this tie is now on a knife-edge. The Bucks may think that they have the momentum and the next game is all set to be a thrilling encounter.
Before we get into the two Tuesday night games, the Cavaliers have been in the news, which is some feat given that they last played on Sunday.
The Cavaliers have been dealt a blow to their Championship hopes with the news that Kevin Love is set to miss out on the next Playoff series. This is due to the player suffering a dislocated left shoulder in the Sunday night win over the Celtics. Love was involved in an incident with Kelly Olynyk where the players locked arms, and with Olynyk yanking down on Love’s arm, it appears that there was enough force to pop Love’s shoulder of the socket joint. Olynyk has been issued with a one game suspension, which he will service next season at the first available point he is eligible. The Cavs have also suffered a blow with the news that JR Smith has been suspended for two games without pay.
Smith was involved in an incident with Jae Crowder from the Celtics and he will miss Game 1 and Game 2 of the next series for the Cavs.
Dallas Mavericks @ Houston Rockets
The Rockets hold a 3-1 lead going into this game which means that they know a home win will be more than enough to conclude the series and end the season of the Mavericks. The team from Dallas were never going to lie down and accept a clean sweep with good grace, so it perhaps wasn’t a surprise that they did grab a win, but whether they have enough in them to carry out a full-scale comeback remains to be seen. The Mavericks performed a really strong defensive job on the Rockets in Game 4 and they will need to do the same in Game 5 if they are going to carry dreams of making it through this series.
The Mavericks grabbed 42 rebounds to the 38 posted by the Rockets and their tally of 16 offensive boards was the highest the Dallas team has picked up since early February. There were also six players grabbing double figures for the Mavericks, although Monta Ellis led the way with 31 points. There were three double-doubles for the team with Al-Farouq Aminu grabbing 16 points and 12 rebounds while Tyson Chandler offered 10 points and 14 rebounds in the last game. The other was provided by JJ Barea who offered up 17 points and 13 assists in a game that was his first post-season game since 2011. The Mavericks have a poor record in Houston, losing their last four, which includes Game 1 and Game 2, and their last victory on the road against the Rockets came back in April 2005. With a ten year anniversary looming, this would be an ideal time to change that statistic.
The Mavericks are 51-23 for the campaign so far, with a 23-20 record on the road and a 5-5 record in their 10 most recent games. The Rockets are 59-27 for the season so far, and this includes a 32-11 record at home and a 7-3 record in their 10 most recent games. With respect to average points scored, the Mavericks have the advantage 105.6 to 104.5 while for average points against, the Rockets have the advantage 101.1 to 103.0.
Taking the Houston Rockets with a -7 handicap, at odds of 1.90, should be a decent bet for Tuesday. Bet Now!
San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Clippers
The series is currently tied at 2-2 so this will not be decided with this game, but clearly a win is vital for whatever team gets it in Los Angeles. The Spurs though have a track record of winning Game 5 in a series and they’ll be looking to continue that record in LA.
Since 1999, the Spurs are 23-8 in Game 5, a record of .742 while their record in all other games (124-79) comes in at .611. This is clearly a game that they know is important and in their five title seasons, the Spurs have a 15-1 record in Game 5. Mind you, their worst record comes in Game 4, with a 19-26 standing, so perhaps the recent Clippers win in San Antonio on Sunday, 105-114 wasn’t that much of a surprise.
Even with the loss, there were points of comfort for the San Antonio team with Tony Parker grabbing 18 points, which gives hope that he has put his Achilles injury behind him. Kawhi Leonard also had a big game, and he will be crucial if the Spurs want to power on and keep their NBA Championship dreams alive for a bit longer. They face a Clippers side that are currently 1-7 in Game 5 and Game 6 since they returned to the Playoffs in 2012.
The Spurs come into this one with a 57-29 record so far, and this contains a 23-20 record on the road and a 7-3 record in their last 10 games. The Clippers have a 58-28 record so far this campaign which includes a 31-12 record at home and an 8-2 record in their last 10 games. With respect to average points for, the Clippers lead 106.4 to 103.1 and for average points against, the Spurs lead 97.1 to 100.2.
Taking the San Antonio Spurs at +2, with odds of 1.90, isn’t a bad bet for Tuesday evening. Bet Now!