It’s a forgone conclusion that when you reach a game six in a seven-game series that someone is playing to advance and someone is playing stay alive. That’s the situation tonight in Brooklyn, Dallas and Portland and the only team looking for the clincher is the Blazers.
Toronto (+5) at Brooklyn, Raptors Lead 3-2 - I guess I was duped. I really thought we’d see the Nets go into Canada and take game five behind a veteran crew of playoff savvy guys and I was wrong. It doesn’t help of course when you keep Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett on the bench in fourth quarter either.
As good as Toronto has been at times in this series, I just can’t imagine Jason Kidd not relying on his veterans and that includes Deron Williams as well. The Raptors will not want a game seven even though its home so I like them with the points but I feel that Brooklyn wins.
Keep an eye on… The Raptors are 2-5 straight up in their last seven games in Brooklyn… Toronto is 2-3-1 against the spread in their last six games in Brooklyn… The Nets are 2-7-1 ATS in their last ten games… Brooklyn is 17-3 straight up in their last 20 games at home.
San Antonio (-3) at Dallas, Spurs Lead 3-2 - Tony Parker played better in game five despite nursing a sore ankle. His 23 points led the Spurs and countered a big night from Dirk Nowitzki who had 26 points. I don’t know that these guys will be the difference or not tonight because there are so many different guys who have contributed big time in this series so far.
Conventional wisdom says the Spurs go into Big D and close out the series but I sense a lot of fight still in the Mavericks and I like them getting the points and for the win.
Keep an eye on… The Spurs are 5-1 straight up in their last six games at Dallas… San Antonio has a 34-30 rebounding average over the Mavericks… Dallas is 3-7 against the spread in their last ten games at home against the Spurs… The total has gone OVER in four of Dallas’ last five games at home against the Spurs.
Houston (+3.5) at Portland, Blazers Lead 3-2 - Of the three series hitting the floor tonight, this one has arguably been the most one-sided with Portland jumping out to a 3-1 lead. I say arguably because three of the games so far have gone to overtime.
Portland’s LaMarcus Aldridge had been averaging over 35 points per game before scoring just eight in the game five loss to the Rockets. Common sense tells us that this poor performance was an aberration. I expect Aldridge to be right back to his scoring ways.
For Houston, Dwight Howard has been solid as he’s averaging a double-double in this series but I think the bigger key will be James Harden. He must be consistently good in terms of shooting and dishing the ball when necessary. He has to counter Damian Lillard who will do both of those things for the Blazers.
Clearly the Rockets are a different team on the road versus the one they are at home and I also feel Portland has no desire to return to Texas unless it’s to play the Spurs. I like the Blazers so give the points with confidence.
Keep an eye on… Houston is 6-1-2 against the spread when playing in Portland in their last nine games… They are however 3-6-1 in their last ten games overall ATS… Portland is shooting 10% better at the free throw line than Houston is… The Blazers are 1-6-2 ATS in their last nine games at home against Houston.