The article you’re reading now was actually written last night. Actually, I’m sitting here watching the New York Knicks completely demolish the Indiana Pacers. As I glance at the television, I see the Knickerbockers have built almost a 30-point lead and will certainly have evened the series at a game apiece as the two squads head to Indiana.
While this was actually a close game through three quarters, the blowout illustrates just how difficult betting the NBA Playoffs can be. While I thought New York would bounce back from their game one defeat I certainly couldn’t have predicted that it would come in this particular fashion. This was essentially a ‘must-win’ game for the Knicks because Indiana is just too good at home for New York to win four out of the final five games.
Therefore, was the win expected? Of course it was but we’ve also seen very similar situations play out completely different.
Monday night, the Miami Heat returned to action after a layoff of approximately eight days. The Chicago Bulls meanwhile, had played a game seven on the road just 48 hours before with a team that looked more like a MASH unit then a basketball team. Any moron with a brain wave would have gone with the Heat to win right?
As you know by now, the Bulls went into Miami and beat the Heat in game one to steal home-court advantage. Already, Chicago has announced that Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich will not play in game two. Automatic win for the Heat then right? Well, in this case, yes.
There is no way possible that Miami will lose tonight in game two. If you are the type that believes in wake-up calls then the Heat received theirs in game one. LeBron James is not the best player in the world because he enjoys challenges. He is the best player because he will rise to the occasion and bring his teammates with him.
So what will be my explanation if somehow the Bulls pull off another huge win in game two? I honestly don’t know but I’m not exactly going to beg for forgiveness because this is the NBA Playoffs and what we have found more and more is that unpredictability is a reality.
My grandfather used to tell me all the time that one of the most misunderstood and under-appreciated aspects of sports and especially the playoffs was the psychology involved. Mike Woodson of the Knicks is a perfect example. His Knicks were terrible in a game five loss but bounced back on the road in Boston for the series win.
As I detailed in the opening, the Knicks were pretty bad in game one of the series against Indiana but bounced back last night. Whatever Mike Woodson does to change things from one game to the next it works and I have to think much of it is psychological as it is tactical. Athletes are and always be people who are motivated by different things and when you challenge them they more often than not rise to the occasion.
As someone wagering on these athletes you really do have to consider every possible factor from game to game before you lay your hard-earned money.
Tonight in the NBA
Chicago at Miami (Bulls lead 1-0) – The Heat are 12-point favorites which tells you that Vegas expects them to bounce back and so do I. Take them to cover.
Golden State at San Antonio (Spurs lead 1-0) – I’m a little surprised that the Spurs are listed as 8 point favorites tonight considering they were just about buried in game one before rallying. I love Golden State tonight and you should too.