Three teams could be headed for the offseason if they don’t turn things around today in the first round of the NBA Playoffs.
Cleveland (-7.5) at Boston – I know it’s hard to swallow but if I’m a Boston Celtics’ fan and I’m down 0-3, there is actually something to be positive about. These Celtics under Brad Stevens have made tremendous strides this season and really have given the Cavaliers a lot more than most people thought they would.
If we stay in the present however, the Cavaliers are a win away from advancing to a huge showdown with Chicago and I guarantee if they get past the Bulls, they’ll be grateful they had the competition they did from Boston.
Trends: Cleveland is 1-4 against the spread in their last five games on the road… Boston is 6-3 straight up in their last nine games… The Cavaliers are 5-2 SU in their last seven games in Boston… The Celtics have won 17 of their last 23 games at home against the Cavs.
The Pick: Take the Celtics getting the points.
LA Clippers (+6) at San Antonio – The Clippers were outrebounded by just nine and were dead-even in points in the paint with the Spurs at 40 apiece. At one point in game three however they trailed by 37 points. Hard to believe following the two excellent games the teams played in Los Angeles. When you’re held to 34% shooting and 26% in three-point shooting, it really doesn’t matter what else you may be even in with your opponent.
The Spurs turned up the defense and hit early shots to put the Clippers away before they even got their sneakers squeaky in game three. Obviously the Clips know they can’t go down 3-1 so I expect them to give every effort to make sure they are even going back to Cali. That said, if they should fall and go on to lose the series, questions will intensify about just how tough this Clippers team is.
We’ll see how they fare before we go there though.
Trends: The Clippers are 3-6 against the spread in their last nine games against the Spurs… San Antonio is 5-0 straight up in their last five games at home.
The Pick: I’ll take the Clips to bounce back.
Toronto (+5.5) at Washington – Done. Over. Get me the fork because the Toronto Raptors are fully cooked. Yes teams have come back from 0-3 deficits before but it’s not happening in this series and the biggest reason why happens to be 37 years old.
Paul Pierce isn’t ready to hit the rocking chair yet and he’s playing like it. I don’t see him letting this team fall.
Trends: Toronto is 0-5 against the spread in their last five games… Washington is 8-3 straight up in their last 11 games.
The Pick: Give me the Wizards to cover and close out the series.
Houston (-2.5) at Dallas – When you have one player who scores 42 points and another who grabs 26 rebounds I would say your chances of winning that game are pretty darn good. That was the case for Houston in game three as James Harden poured in 42 points and Dwight Howard recorded all those rebounds and they needed every one of both for the two-point win.
I give Dallas credit; I honestly thought between Chandler Parsons’ absence and Rajon Rondo’s ineffectiveness that the Mavs would just pack it in but they didn’t. That said, I don’t expect this series to return to Houston and that’s a shame. I thought this was going to be a classic.
Trends: Houston is 7-1 straight up in their last eight games against the Mavericks… Dallas is 6-2-1 against the spread in their last nine games against the Rockets.
The Pick: I’ll take the Rockets to cover.