Happy Sunday. We’re back for the second round. The first round was a clear success, ending with a record of 27-13. That’s the kind of stuff dreams are made of. We live for that. But now it’s a new round, and it’ll take something new to find some more winners. Let’s make it happen. As far as overall playoff predictions went, I ended up going 7-1 on first round series with the Jazz producing the lone misfire. I was exactly right on Warriors in 5 and Grizzlies in 6. I had the Heat, Bucks, Suns, and Grizzlies moving on the conference semis from here, and I will stick with all four teams now. On to the plays.
NBA record: 238-212-8 ATS (26-39 Underdog ML), 13-16-1 O/U, 5-8 parlay, 0-2 props
- Bucks +4.5
Not having Khris Middleton, especially against his favorite opponent in the Celtics, is going to hurt the Bucks. There seems to be a small chance he returns late in this series, but he’s missing a good chunk of it regardless. And Milwaukee will need to fill in the gaps while he’s out. It’s a good thing they have the best player in the world. The Celtics don’t have a single defender that can stay with Giannis from the three-point line to the rim, and he (and the players around him) are so much better equipped to deal with a wall-like strategy. This is a Bucks team that knows how to win in the playoffs. They’ve done it now. They’re not going down easy here. This is going to be a very competitive game; Bucks-Celtics matchups almost always are. I’ll take the Bucks getting 4.5.
- Grizzlies +115
In all fairness to the Warriors, the Grizzlies didn’t exactly set the world on fire in the first round. They somehow pulled that thing out of a hat in six despite being outplayed for the majority of game time. So it’s not entirely fair to point to Golden State’s struggles with a rather pathetic Nuggets team. But nothing the Warriors did convinced me that they’re better than they were a few weeks ago, and I had Memphis as the better team then. Golden State had a fantastic start to the season and hasn’t done a whole lot since. Their series with the Nuggets kind of fit that same bill. They looked great in the first two games. The last three were a struggle. I’m just not convinced, and the young Grizzlies now have a tough series win under their belt after being as good as anyone in the league for the last 80-90% of the season. I think Memphis comes out firing and takes Game 1.