If we’ve learned anything over time, it’s that 2-0 leads in any seven-game series are not exactly “sure things.” With that said, neither the Milwaukee Bucks nor the New Orleans Pelicans really want to find out.
Both teams face crucial contests on the road tonight in an effort to get their series even. Should they fail, the best thing they can say is that at least they are both headed home.
Milwaukee (+7.5) at Chicago – Derrick Rose hadn’t played in a postseason game since 2012 but he looked pretty comfortable in the Bulls’ game one win over Milwaukee. He had 23 points and seven assists which complimented nicely the 25 points by teammate Jimmy Butler. The type of balance will be difficult for the Bucks to deal with going forward.
In order for the bucks to gain a split in this series they need to shoot the ball better. Their overall field goal percentage was just 39% while their three-point shooting was even worse at just 25% on four of 12 shooting from downtown. To be fair, a lot of that has to do with the defense of the Chicago Bulls. They out-rebounded the Bucks 52-41 and also outscored them 42-36 in points in the paint.
While Rose and Butler were a formidable duo, Milwaukee has to find some scoring from someone. While they had five players in double-figures, they leading scorer among them (Khris Middleton) only had 18 points. The balance is nice but numbers have to be larger in order for Milwaukee to have a chance in this series.
Trends: The Bulls are 8-2 straight up in their last ten games against the Bucks… Chicago is third best in the NBA at giving up three-point baskets with 6.6 allowed per game.
The Pick: The Bucks realize what’s at stake and I think they cover in this one.
New Orleans (+11) at Golden State – The Warriors rolled to an early lead in game one of the series and were never really threatened in the 106-99 win. New Orleans’ Anthony Davis had 35 points but just seven rebounds. That was in part due to the efforts of the Warriors’ Andrew Bogut and Draymond Green. Those two combined for 26 rebounds between the two of them. With Steph Curry tossing in 34 points and Klay Thompson adding 21, the overall balance of the Warriors was too much for the Pelicans to overcome.
If I’m the Warriors I have two key concerns; one is free throw shooting where as a team they made just 61%. That isn’t going to beat better teams. The other area is the bench. This is a team used to getting leads and then watching its’ bench maintain things. That wasn’t the case in game one.
If I’m the Pelicans, I have to find Davis some help. The other leading scorers for New Orleans had 20, 16 and eight points. Someone has to step up because Golden State will do everything to limit Davis.
Trends: Golden State is 9-1 straight up in their last ten games versus the Pelicans… New Orleans is 3-6-1 against the spread in their last ten games against the Warriors.
The Pick: I took the Warriors to cover in game one and they should have. I’ll put my faith in them one more time and take them to cover.