I told you yesterday I thought Indiana would knock off the New York Knicks in seven games and while we have a long way to go before that gets here, the Pacers started off on the right foot with a 102-95 win at New York. The loss is even more ominous for the Knicks because they have never won a playoff series when losing game one of a series at home. The last team this occurred with you might ask? The Indiana Pacers in 1995.
The reason I felt Indiana would give the Knicks fits boiled down to two things in my mind. First, I felt the Pacers would by far be more physical in the series and through one game at least, that is holding true. The other factor I saw in the Pacers’ favor was coaching. I like the way Frank Vogel does things while the Knicks’ Mike Woodson is consistently inconsistent with his coaching.
Roy Hibbert didn’t have huge numbers in game one (14 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocks) but what was evident was his presence in the middle of the paint. He is so big and long that he is very difficult to get past and makes passing lanes very difficult on the inside.
Game two is a must-win for the Knicks on Tuesday night. Indiana plays extremely well at home and so far is 3-0 at home in Indy.
Out West, the Thunder were able to hold off the Grizzlies and grab the game one victory 93-91 at home in OKC. I still have the Grizzlies winning the series in six games, but they may have to adjust the very gameplan I thought would be successful for them. The Grizzlies basically allowed Kevin Durant to get his while limiting the rest of the team, but Durant was just too good as he poured in 35 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. He also added in six assists for good measure.
Memphis will have to decide how they are going to approach game two. Allowing Durant to get 35 points is one thing but to see him grab that many boards is a big no-no and led to way too many opportunities on both ends. Marc Gasol had a nice game for Memphis with 20 points and 10 rebounds and Zach Randolph contributed 18 points but the game may have been lost at the free throw line. Memphis was just 14 of 24 while the Thunder was 22 of 25.
Memphis doesn’t have to be perfect in that department but they have to be significantly better for sure.
Chicago at Miami – What is to be certain is that the Bulls can play with the Heat. They split the season series with Miami and played competitively in all four games. What isn’t so certain is whether the Bulls will have even some of their top players at full strength. Joakim Noah is banged up as is Kirk Heinrich. Will Derrick Rose make his long-awaited debut or not? My guess is don’t bet on it.
If Chicago wants to have a shot in this series against the defending champs, a win in game one would be monstrous.
Golden State at San Antonio – The Warriors and Spurs split their season series at two wins apiece during the regular season but now things get serious. With no David Lee for Golden State, I think his absence hurts them more in this series than it did against Denver. That said, can the Spurs make life difficult for Steph Curry? If there is any coach who can devise a way to take great players out of their comfort zone it would San Antonio’s Gregg Popovich.
Golden State enters tonight an 8.5 point underdog. While I think the Spurs win, I’d jump all over the Warriors in what I believe will be a close game. I like the over of 201 as well.