Tuesday night was a complete disaster as far as the 2016 NBA playoffs go, as neither the Celtics or Grizzlies showed up to play in bad game two defeats. That puts the Hawks and Spurs up with 2-0 series leads and likely will eventually send them both into round two.
San Antonio making quick work of an extremely depleted Memphis team isn’t a shock, but after a spirited effort in game one, Boston not even coming close in game two is a mild surprise. The actual performances across the board left a lot to be desired, too, as none of the four teams playing on Tuesday scored even 95 points.
The excitement level should see a spike tonight at the very least, while we could also have three series that could truly go either way. Let’s take a look at all three of Wednesday’s NBA playoff matchups to find out:
Blazers @ Clippers
Line: Clippers -8.5 Total: 209
Los Angeles was the aggressor in a game one blowout, and that shouldn’t have shocked anyone after Lob City handled the Blazers pretty easily during the regular season (won the season series, 3-1). They even did most of that without Blake Griffin, who was unstoppable in game one. It’s very likely Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum will erupt and steal a game in Portland at some point, but the Clippers are the better, more well-rounded team. Look for them to keep the foot on the gas pedal and take care of business at home to take the 2-0 lead.
Pick: Clippers 107, Blazers 96
Hornets @ Heat
Line: Heat -5 Total: 199
Charlotte didn’t even show up in game one, which is relatively surprising since they held their own with the Heat during the regular season and looked like they matched up well with Miami. They couldn’t sustain consistent offense, however, while Miami hit everything (shot 57% from the floor). The Hornets need bigger efforts out of Kemba Walker and Al Jefferson, while they also need to take some pride in their defense. Miami is a slower, methodical team, and they ran the Hornets out of the gym. I still think Miami takes the 2-0 lead just because they’re so good at home, but Charlotte will give them a fight and beat the spread this time.
Pick: Heat 102, Hornets 99
Pistons @ Cavaliers
Line: Cavs -10 Total: 200.5
Detroit looked like a tough matchup for the Cavs on paper coming into this series, and that ended up being very much the case right away in game one. Cleveland still took care of business and got awesome performances out of their main three guys – LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love – but still had to grind out a close win at home against an 8-seed. That begs the question: are there tougher days ahead in this series?
It’s a fair question, especially considering Detroit owned the Cavs (3-1) during the regular season and has a lot of length and athleticism to worry about across the rotation. That very well could translate to 1-2 wins at some point for the Pistons in this series, but two very obvious factors have already popped up: Cleveland is awesome at Quicken Loans Arena and they have a top notch defender in Tristan Thompson who did a great job stifling Andre Drummond on the pick and roll in game one. Drums is the key to this series, too. If he can’t get free from TT, the Pistons are in serious trouble. That should be the case for at least one more game, as the Cavs batten down the hatches at home and take the commanding 2-0 series lead.
Pick: Cavs 101, Pistons 95