Atlanta (-4.5) at Brooklyn – The Nets came out flying in Game Three and then held on to beat the top-seeded Atlanta Hawks by eight to pull the series to 2-1 in favor of the Hawks. The win has to give Brooklyn some serious confidence heading into tonight’s Game Four because they played the Hawks tough in the first two games of the series in Atlanta.
While neither team was above 39% shooting from the field, the Hawks were absolutely abysmal from three-point range. They shot just 20% and top gunner Kyle Korver was 0 for 5 on the evening. Obviously that has to change dramatically because shooting the trey is such a big part of his and the Hawks’ overall offenisve game plan.
Oddly enough, Atlanta outscored the Nets 25-2 in fastbreak points and also held a 20-point advantage in points in the paint.
Trends: Atlanta is 0-5 against the spread in their last five games… Brooklyn is 8-2 straight in their last 10 games at home… The Hawks are 8-17 SU in their last 25 games at Brooklyn… The Nets are 1-7 SU in their last eight games against Atlanta.
The Pick: All signs make me think Atlanta bounces back but I’ll take the Nets tonight getting the points.
Milwaukee (+8.5) at Chicago – When is the last time you saw a team win the rebounding battle with just 39 boards? That’s what happens when one team shoots almost 50% from the field and 56% from three-point territory. I guarantee you that Chicago Head Coach Tom Thibodeau will not allow his team to be so lazy on the defensive end in Game Five.
Conversely, look for the Bulls to take better care of the basketball as well. They turned the ball over 26 times in Milwaukee’s Game Four victory and I see both the defensive and offensive lapses as a result of being up 3-0.
Trends: Milwaukee is 3-7 against the spread in their last 10 games against the Bulls… Chicago is 7-1 straight up in their last eight games… The Bucks are 0-5 ATS in their last five games at Chicago… The Bulls are 9-2 SU in their last 11 games versus the Bucks.
The Pick: I like the Bulls to cover at home to end the series.
Memphis (+3) at Portland – From most reports, Memphis guard Mike Conley is looking at facial surgery. His status for the coming games is questionable at best until any medical procedures are done. Credit the Grizzlies with taking Portland’s best shot after Conley went out in the third quarter of Game Three. Credit them even more for eventually putting the Blazers away.
Portland was dominated in the paint in Game Three by a total of 48-30. If Portland is going to even stay in this series that margin has to be narrowed significantly. If you’re looking for a piece of history that might help the Blazers come back and win this series then forget it. The last time Portland came back from a 2-0 deficit was the 1977 NBA Finals.
Trends: Portland is 0-5 against the spread in their last five games… Memphis is 6-1 straight up in their last seven games on the road in Portland… The Blazers are 13-5 SU in their last 18 games at home… The Blazers have made just 21 more three-pointers than the Grizzlies over their last ten games despite attempting 117 more threes then they have.
The Pick: Despite the loss of Conley, I like Memphis to cover tonight.