Day 4: Game by game prognostications for the NBA Playoffs
Yesterday’s action finished with the following results:
which is a long way from par.
Overall, after Day 3:
The good news is that with each game that passes, more is learned about the current state of these 16 playoff teams and where exactly the better investment opportunities can be found, as the Playoffs progress.
Tue Apr 21 2009
Game 1 – 1/CAVALIERS vs 8/Pistons
Do not like the way the Pistons caved in during the latter half of the 4th quarter in Game 1. LBJ & Co. have their pedal to the metal right now and may open up even earlier this game vs what looks like a dispirited crew of from the Motor City. Can’t help but be leary, however, when asked to lay that many points against a tested outfit like the Pistons. Will sit back & watch, instead, with an eye focused on the upcoming Game 3.
Game 2 – 4/BLAZERS vs 5/Rockets
As much as Portland seemed like an attractive move on the weekend, there was much to like about the vim & vigar which Houston brought to the table on the road in Game 1. Aaron Brooks is going to be a tough cover for the Blazers all series long … unless Nate McMillan is brave enough to see the solid match-up possibility he has on his bench with the under-utilized Jerryd Bayless, who is thought to be a poorous defender overall but who is also quick enough, in this instance, to at least cause some worry for the diminutive floor general of the Rockets. As was mentioned in this space earlier this season … a major weakness for the Blazers heading into this post-season is the defensive deficiency of Steve Blake [PG]. A second viable which McMillan has at his disposal is to finally go with the Blazers best option at the PG-spot, i.e. Brandon Roy, right from the start, instead of waiting to “close” with him. Closing is not an option when you’re down by 30 in the 3rd Q. This would accomplish several things for Portland, not the least of which is get their best offensive player away from the “Deadly Duo” of Ron Artest and Shane Battier at the Wing positions for the Rockets. Who would Portland then go with on the Wings, in place of Roy? It would be terrific if they had a healthy Martel Webster ot insert right about now. In lieu of that, however, Rudy Fernandez would begin the game at the Off Guard position as the running mate to Nicolas Batum, with Travis Outlaw then sliding down to the SF position, where he is a much more physical presence for the Blazers … necessary to combat the size and strength of Ron Ron & Shane … and opening up a big man slot for Channing Frye [who can stretch Houston's D with his J] to get additional minutes as the 4th player in their front-court rotation, i.e. Przybilla & Oden at Center; Aldridge & Frye at Powr Forward. Moves like these are what separate the Top Notch coaches in the NBA from the also rans. For their part, the Rockets need to realize the opportunity which they now have in this series … against a rattled, inexperienced outfit like the Blazers, who were really shook in Game 1. Play with similar intensity and unselfishness again this evening … centered around the stellar work of Yao Ming, Aaron Brooks, Luis Scola [who just really knows HOW TO PLAY THIS GAME, like his Argentian brethren, Manu & Fabricio], Battier, and Artest – but also very ably supported by the likes of strong, physical role players like Carl Landry, Chuck Hayes, Kyle Lowry and Von Wafer, at their respective positions - and the Rockets will be sitting in the catbird’s heading home to the Toyota Center.
Call: Houston [2 units]
Game 3 – 1/Lakers vs 8/Jazz
The Lakers are going to win this game; take that to the bank. What is far less certain, however, is whether their relative lack of depth [in comparison with the Jazz's lengthy list of capable subs] and all out focus on the prize at the end of the rainbow will in fact allow them to pull away and THEN sustain their energy to get the cover. With 10 seconds left on the clock in the 4th quarter of Game 1, Utah was down by 13 points, intercepted a Lakers’ pass and had a wide open 3 from the TOTK to make the final margin 10 points, when the closing numbers were LA -11.5/-110. There’ll be far better games ahead on the schedule for the Lakers during this post-season. Trying to stay healthy and get to Utah with a 2-0 series lead might just be all the Lakeshow cares about this evening, and the cover be d*mned.
LOS ANGELES -11.5/-105
Tags: Aaron Brooks, Brandon Roy, Brent Barry, Carl Landry, Channing Frye, Chuck Hayes, Dikembe Mutombo, Fabricio Oberto, Geg Oden, Jerryd Bayless, Joel Przybilla, Kyle Lowry, LaMarcus Aldridge, Lebron James, Luis Scola, Manu Ginobili, Martell Webster, Nate McMillan, Nicolas Batum, Ron Artest, Rudy Fernandez, Shane Battier, Steve Blake, Travis Outlaw, Von Wafer, Yao Ming