Well, I certainly couldn’t have been more wrong about the openers in Miami and San Antonio. Yes, I predicted a Spurs’ victory but I certainly didn’t see that butt-whooping coming that the Blazers took.
I was even worse in my prediction about game one of the Miami-Brooklyn series. I really thought the Nets would come in and play well and they did for a half… After that, the Heat, who I figured would be rusty, were anything but in big-time win.
So now I’m back for more and while going down 0-2 is not a death sentence, especially since both teams would be returning home, it isn’t a very ideal place to be. How do the Blazers and Nets even things up? Let’s examine that right now.
Brooklyn (+8) at Miami, Heat Lead 1-0 - Paul Pierce played 29 minutes and scored eight points. Kevin Garnett played 18 minutes and pulled a “Roy Hibbert” (too soon?) and scored zero points. Toss in the fact the Nets shot just 10 of 17 from the free throw line and you’ve got a formula for failure against the defending champions.
If ever there were a time the Nets missed having Brook Lopez on the court, game one was that time. The Heat outscored Brooklyn 52-28 in the paint as Miami players went virtually unchallenged. Do I really need to tell you that can’t happen again?
Brooklyn must force Miami into tougher shots as the Heat hit on about 58% of their field goal attempts in game one. We can also wonder if letting LeBron get his isn’t a better strategy after the balanced attacked of Miami was too much for the Nets. The Heat had five players in double-figures including Ray Allen’s 18 off the bench.
I fully expect a better performance from the Nets tonight simply because they’ll want to avoid the 0-2 hole. But I also expect more urgency which they lacked in the second half of game one. They know they cannot give up anything easy to Miami or else this series will be over before it has started.
Take the Nets getting the eight points but I like the Heat to win.
Portland (+7) at San Antonio, Spurs Lead 1-0 - If you would have told me that LaMarcus Aldridge was going to go for 32 points and 14 rebounds and the Blazers would still lose by 24 points I’d probably tell you that you’re nuts. That’s exactly what Aldridge did in game one but he had very little support from his teammates.
Damian Lillard scored 17 points but the only other guy in double-figures was Robin Lopez with 10. If you look down at the other end of the court, the Spurs had six different players in double-figures and were led by Tony Parker’s 33 points.
The Blazers need to do two things in order to even this series. First, they must get back to running. Portland had just seven fast break points against a Spurs team that was obviously bent on limiting their high-paced action. Secondly, the Blazers just need to shoot the basketball better. Sounds rather pedestrian but they took poor shots in game one and need to do a better job of being patient against the veteran Spurs’ defense.
Portland can even this series and drawing even in bench-scoring would help to as they were outscored 50-18 by San Antonio but it won’t be easy. The Spurs have been great at home all year and Gregg Popovich and his staff are rarely out-coached so I look for another Spurs’ victory but I do like the Blazers getting the seven points.