Happy Tuesday. We kept the playoff run going strong yesterday with a solid 2-1 record. The Jazz couldn’t make it happen in a wildly disappointing loss to the short-handed Mavs that might end up costing them their shot at the second round, but both the Sixers and the Warriors took care of business in dominant fashion after relatively slow starts to go up 2-0 in their series. Today, the Heat seek to put the Hawks down 0-2, the Grizzlies look to avoid heading to Minnesota with a two-game deficit, and the Suns try to keep rolling against the Pelicans. Let’s find some winners.
NBA record: 219-202-8 ATS (22-38 Underdog ML), 13-16-1 O/U, 5-8 parlay, 0-2 props
- Heat -7
The Heat both suffocated and blitzed the Hawks in Game 1. On the offensive end, Duncan Robinson was nearly unstoppable with 27 points on 8-9 shooting from three, and 35 of Miami’s 43 made shots were assisted. On the defensive end, they limited Trae to single digit points, held the Hawks below 40% from two and 30% from three, and allowed Atlanta to produce just 16 assists. The Hawks were on pace for just 80 points through three quarters before things opened up a bit in the fourth, and Miami won by 24 despite being -12 in points from the free throw line.
Some of this isn’t going to be maintained. Robinson and PJ Tucker going 12-13 from deep isn’t sustainable, for example. And Trae won’t go 1-12 from the field and 0-7 from three very often regardless of the defense’s efforts. But this was far from a fluke blowout. Miami’s other players combined to shoot just 6-25 from deep. Tyler Herro was 3-11 from the floor. Bam Adebayo was 1-5. The Heat shot nine less free throws than the Hawks, and they barely made 60% of them. And while Atlanta was certainly cold from the field, a lot of that came down Young’s performance. Everyone else combined to shoot 44.4% from the field and 34.5% from three. Those aren’t exactly massive outliers to the non-Young season averages of 47.2% and 37.2%, especially when you factor in the road playoff game against a good defensive team. I like Miami to find enough from Herro, Adebayo, and others to make up for some fall-off from Robinson and Tucker, and they do enough on the defensive end to keep the Hawks at bay in another big win.
- Timberwolves +7
I don’t think you can take the Grizzlies here after the Timberwolves largely controlled a shootout in Game 1. This is a big line. Anthony Edwards (36) and Karl-Anthony Towns (29) were dominant while D’Angelo Russell struggled to score, and expecting anything less from that trio is a dangerous game to play. They usually get good scoring performances from at least two of the three. And for all of their production, Minnesota had just one player make more than 40% of their threes (Jaden McDaniels was 2-3). They weren’t ridiculously hot from the field. Memphis is playing with a rather significant numbers disadvantage here too; they’re top two in the league in twos attempted and made but rank outside the top fifteen in threes attempted and made. In Game 1, they were -27 in the three-point battle. It’s going to be very difficult to win games that way, especially when you struggle from the line, as the Grizzlies tend to do (28th in FT%). I think Memphis can win this game. I probably would even pick them to do it. Shooting a little better from the line and from deep (7-25 is a tough hit rate regardless of the volume) and doing a little more defensively is far from unreasonable, and that could be enough to put the Grizzlies on top here. I just don’t see them blowing Minnesota out, so I’ll take the Timberwolves to cover.
- Pelicans +9.5
I’ve said I think the Pelicans can make this series relatively competitive in the sense that they make Phoenix work for some of these wins, and I’ll stick with that here. I had the Suns taking care of business and covering in Game 1, and they barely did despite a really strong start. There were some pieces of that game that aren’t particularly sustainable too. The Pels shot 27-72 on twos (37.5%) while Phoenix made 64% of theirs, and CP3 dropped 30 on 75% shooting. The Suns figure to close the rebounding gap to some degree tonight, but New Orleans has been dangerous on the offensive boards all year. I think Phoenix figures out a way to get this to 2-0, but I don’t see it being easy tonight.
Let’s have a Tuesday.