Eastern Conference – Game 2 – Miami leads 1-0
Hornets at Heat (-4 ½, 199) – 7:05 PM EST – NBATV
Miami put together the best offensive performance not only in the opening weekend of the NBA playoffs, but also in franchise history in Game 1 against Charlotte. The Heat ripped the Hornets, 123-91 to easily cash as 4 ½-point favorites and grab an early 1-0 series advantage. The only question is if Miami can keep up that hot shooting going into Game 2.
In the series opener, Miami’s Luol Deng torched Charlotte by knocking down 11-of-13 shots from the floor for 31 points, leading four Heat starters in double-figures. The Heat shot a blistering 57.6% from the field, while dropping 41 points in the first quarter to improve to 5-0 in the last five playoff games against Charlotte. Since 2011, Miami owns an 11-2 record in Game 1 playoff contests at the American Airlines Arena, while compiling a 9-3 SU and 6-6 ATS mark in Game 2’s at home in this span.
The Charlotte franchise hasn’t won a playoff game since getting rebooted in 2004 by losing all nine postseason contests in this span. Steve Clifford’s team was limited to 43% shooting from the field, as Nicolas Batum led the Hornets with 24 points in the Game 1 loss. The Hornets extended their ‘over’ streak to six after eclipsing the Game 1 total of 199, while moving to 9-3 to the ‘over’ in the past 12 road contests.
Will Charlotte continue its ‘over’ run in Game 2? David feels that it will be another shootout in South Florida, “I’m a little surprised the opening total of 203 got steamed down to 199 so quickly and I don’t understand the logic behind that move. From what we’ve seen this season, Miami hasn’t shown many offensive letdowns after lighting up the scoreboard. They’ve busted 120-plus three times in the regular season and they averaged 109 PPG in the next game. Plus, the last nine meetings between this pair at American Airlines Arena have all gone ‘over’ the number.”
Eastern Conference – Game 2 – Cleveland leads 1-0
Pistons at Cavaliers (-10, 201) – 8:05 PM EST – TNT
Detroit gave Cleveland all it could handle in Sunday’s Game 1, even leading by two points heading into the fourth quarter as 11-point underdogs. However, the Cavaliers rallied to outscore the Pistons in the final 12 minutes, 30-23 to capture the opener, 106-101. Detroit managed the cover as double-digit ‘dogs, but the Pistons need to do more work to slow down Cleveland’s Big Three.
Point guard Kyrie Irving led the Cavaliers with 31 points in his first playoff game since breaking his kneecap in the opener of last summer’s NBA Finals. Kevin Love pumped in 28 points and 13 rebounds, while LeBron James scored 22 points and dished out 11 assists to improve Cleveland’s playoff home record against Eastern Conference foes to 7-1 SU since the start of last season’s postseason. However, the Cavaliers have covered only three times at Quicken Loans Arena against the East in this span, while dropping to 0-4 ATS in its past four playoff games overall.
The Pistons shot the ball well in spite of letting things slip away in Game 1, connecting on 50% of their shots from the floor and knocking down 15 three-pointers. The backcourt duo ofReggie Jackson and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope combined to score 38 points on 14-of-26 shooting, while Marcus Morris contributed 20 points in the defeat for Detroit. The Pistons are seeking their first playoff win since 2008, as each of their last five postseason defeats have come at the hands of the Cavaliers.
David believes things will turn around from a totals perspective in Game 2, “Even though Game 1 went ‘over’ in this series, I would come back with the ‘under’ in Game 2. I thought the game was going to be ugly and technically it was as Detroit only took 73 shots, but they happened to connect on 51 percent of them and that included 15 bombs from 3-point land. I expect both those numbers to drop on Wednesday and I think Detroit will do a better job on the glass, which should limit Cleveland’s attempts. The total is hovering in the same neighborhood and I don’t see the winner getting over the century mark on Wednesday.”
The Pistons are currently riding a 4-1 ATS run in the road underdog role, while owning a 1-2 ATS record as a double-digit underdog this season. The Cavaliers have cashed just eight times in 21 opportunities as a favorite of at least 10 points this season, while James has posted a 9-3 SU and 5-7 ATS record in his last 12 Game 2’s of the playoffs after winning the series opener.
Western Conference – Game 2 – Los Angeles leads 1-0
Blazers at Clippers (-8 ½, 209) – 10:35 PM EST – TNT
The Warriors and Spurs have cruised to 2-0 advantages in their Western Conference quarterfinal series, while the Thunder were tripped up by the Mavericks in Monday’s Game 2. The Clippers seem like the forgotten team of this upper-half in the West, but Los Angeles seeks a 2-0 series edge after pulling away from the Blazers in the series opener, 115-95 as 8 ½-point favorites.
Los Angeles connected on nearly 54% of its attempts from the floor on Sunday night, led by point guard Chris Paul’s 28 points. Six Clippers scored in double-figures, as Paul’s backcourt mate J.J. Redick shot an efficient 8-of-12 from the field for 17 points, while Blake Griffin andDeAndre Jordan combined to score 37 points and pull down 24 rebounds. The Clippers put together a solid performance in their first playoff game since last season’s second round meltdown against the Rockets, as Doc Rivers’ team snapped a six-game playoff ‘over’ streak at Staples Center with an ‘under’ in Game 1.
The lack of depth showed for Portland on Sunday as the dynamic duo of Damian Lillard andC.J. McCollum combined to score 30 points, which won’t cut it against Los Angeles. Granted, Lillard did his part by putting up 21 points, but McCollum came out struggling after a solid playoff debut against Memphis last season by scoring nine points on 3-of-11 shooting. The most impressive performance came from reserve guard Gerald Henderson, who contributed 16 points off the bench on 7-of-12 shooting.
David doesn’t see much changing in the result from Game 1 to Game 2 at Staples Center, “The 20-point win by the Clippers in Game 1 wasn’t surprising but seeing the Los Angeles starting backcourt outscore Portland’s two-headed monster, 45-30 opened up some eyes. If the Trail Blazers don’t win that battle, they have no chance at winning a game yet alone staying close to the spread either. Los Angeles has blown playoff games in the past but it’s hard to advise a lean to Portland, who went 3-10 as a visitor in the final six weeks of the season and all three wins were against non-playoff clubs. For our purposes, the Blazers only covered two of the 10 losses and that should could give you extra confidence in laying the points with the Clippers in Game 2.”