With the first round of NBA playoff action nearly complete and the conference semifinals set to get underway on Monday, basketball bettors everywhere need to know about the eye-opening events that took place in the first round in both conferences.
Thanks to this fun-filled look at five things all sports bettors need to know from the first round of the NBA playoffs, you’re going to be able to make the most out of your NBA betting bucks once the semifinal round gets underway next week. Now, let’s get started.
Analyzing The 5 Things Learned From 1st Round Of 2017 NBA Playoffs
The Ole` Matadors
The Cleveland Cavaliers may have swept the overmatched and underachieving Indiana Pacers in their first round matchup, but right now, I’m thinking the Cavs may want to change their franchise name to the Ole` Matadors after seeing the ‘casual’ defense they played against the Pacers.
Cleveland gave up an average of 108.7 points per game in the four-game series while allowing Paul George and company to score at least 102 points in every game and 108 or more in three of those contests.
While this was all fine and well against an offensively-challenged Pacers team that has just one real scorer in Paul George, I’m thinking Cleveland’s lack of interest at the defensive end of the floor could come back to haunt them against either Washington or Atlanta in the next round.
Pressing The Nitro Button
Maybe it’ me, but when I watched the Golden State Warriors in their 4-0 series sweep over the Portland Trail Blazers, I’m reminded of a scene in the Fast and the Furious films when one of the drivers is cruising neck-and-neck with an opponent – before pressing the nitro button and putting some distance between themselves and their opponents. The Dubs were almost toying with the Blazers in their 12-point Game 1 win, their 29-point Game 2 victory and their 25-point closeout win in Game 4. Golden State wiped out a 16-point deficit in Game 3 in a mind-boggling four minute and can simply explode on their opponents when they need to.
Golden State Warriors Part Deux
Speaking of the Warriors, clearly James Harden and the Houston Rockets are the closest thing there is to the high-scoring Dubs. Houston rolled all over Russell Westbrook and the Oklahoma City Thunder in their 4-1 first round series win, mostly because they have a ton of talented shooters – and a handful of really underrated big men.
Beside James Harden, the Rockets have a whopping five players that averaged double figures in scoring and three more that averaged over 9.0 points per contest. More importantly, the Rockets got past the Thunder despite the fact that both Ryan Anderson and Trevor Ariza were mired in horrific shooting slumps. Veteran center Nene, and tough-a-nail point guard Patrick Beverley, took leading role, not to mention the sweet-shooting contributions from Eric Gordon. Maybe it’s me, but right now, I’m thinking the winner of the Spurs-Grizzlies series could be in trouble against the Rockets in the second round.
Sure, the Boston Celtics and Utah Jazz have their shortcomings, like the fact that outside of Isaiah Thomas, the Celtics are seriously offensively-challenged while Utah isn’t much better in the scoring department once you get past Gordon Hayward. Having said that, both the C’s and Jazz have both showed some serious heart in coming back from their respective series deficits. Boston was down 2-0 against the Chicago Bulls but has roared back to take a 3-2 series lead, although Rajon Rondo’s broken thumb has been a big contributor to that fact. Utah was down against the Los Angeles Clippers 2-1 but has taken a 3-2 series lead because of their mettle and to a lesser degree, Blake Griffin’s injured foot. The bottom line though is that I’m seeing both upstart ballclubs show some healthy hearts in overcoming Isaiah Thomas’ family tragedy and Rudy Gobert’s injured knee and I expect both teams to put up really good fights in the second round.
Last but not least, while I’m now expecting the Toronto Raptors to get past the upstart Milwaukee Bucks in their surprising first round series, theirs is absolutely no way the Raptors challenge LeBron James and the Cavaliers in the second round. I don’t care how much you dislike LeBron James and the front-running Cavs, if you think the Raptors have even the slimmest chance against the Cavs, think again. If Toronto take more than one game off of the Cavs in their likely second round matchup, I’ll be completely stunned.