Home teams were able to win just five of eight games in the opening weekend of this year’s postseason plus went a ‘money-burning’ 1-7 ATS. That changed quickly in last night’s first game, Philadelphia at Miami. The 76ers shot only 26 percent in the first half, as their starters were outscored 41-9 by their Heat counterparts. The Heat would lead by as many as 28 points in the second half and cruise to a 94-73 win. Philadelphia made 15 of its first 24 shots in Game 1 (62.5 percent) but since that time has gone 47-of-140 or 33.6 percent. The 77 points represents Philadelphia's second-lowest playoff point total since 1955, the only exception coming in a 79-68 loss to Orlando in 1999. LBJ led Miami with 29-7-6, Bosh added 21-11 (his 2nd straight double-double) and Wade had 14 points. Philly fans won’t be buoyed by this stat. The 76ers have never come back to win a best-of-seven playoff series after being down 0-2, in 10 previous opportunities.
Monday’s second game, Indiana at Chicago, saw the Pacers give the Bulls “all they wanted” for the second consecutive contest. We've learned that Indiana has no ‘answer’ for Derrick Rose (39 points in Game 1 and 36 more in Game 2) but also that the Bulls are not having an easy go of it vs the only team in the postseason with a losing record in the regular season. Rose got some more help from Carlos Boozer in Game 2, as the Bull with the most playoff experience bounced back from a poor effort in Game 1 by adding 17 points and 16 rebounds. However, the team with the league’s best regular season record (Bulls were 62-20), saw its starters connect on just 35.4 percent of its FG attempts, keeping Indiana in the game despite the fact that only one Indiana starter (Granger with 19 points), scored in double figures. Note that with the Pacers scoring just 90 points, they have now gone 19 straight road games in the postseason since last reaching 100 points.
Three more Game 2s are on tap tonight. Home teams are 6-4 SU and just 2-8 ATS to open this year’s postseason and with both games going under on Monday, over/under bettors are dead-even at 5-5. TNT features a doubleheader with the Knicks taking on the Celtics in Boston at 7:05 ET and the Blazers playing the Mavs in Dallas at 9:35 ET. The Hawks/Magic series continues in Orlando at 7:35 ET on the NBA network. The Knicks blew a great opportunity to win Game 1 and will now likely be without Chauncey Billups in Game 2. Shaq is still out for Boston (does anyone really care anymore?) and the Celtics are favored by seven points with a total of 193.
The Hawks look to take a commanding 2-0 lead over the Magic tonight in Orlando, as the Magic know that they’ll have to get more players involved than in Game 1. Howard had 46 points and 19 rebounds while Nelson added 27 points. The remainder of the Magic players combined for just 20 points while making only 8-of-34 from the floor (23.5 percent). Here’s something that may give Orlando fans (backers?) hope. This Atlanta team entered this postseason having gone 2-12 SU and ATS on the road in the last three postseasons, getting outscored on average, 100.1-to-81.5 PPG! The Magic are favored by 9 1/2 points and the total is 183 1/2.
The final game of the night is Portland at Dallas. The Mavs are actually the highest-seeded Western Conference team to win their playoff opener, as both the top-seeded Spurs and the two-time defending champs (No.2 seeded Lakers) lost on Sunday. However, confidence rarely runs high in Dallas, as the Mavs have won just one postseason series (1st round in 2009 over the Spurs) since blowing a 2-0 lead in the NBA Finals of 2006 to the Heat. The Mavs dropped four straight games to the Heat in that series and going back to their Game 3 loss (after taking a 2-0 lead), they’ve followed EIGHT of their last 10 postseason victories with a loss. However, comforting to Dallas fans is the fact that the Blazers haven’t won a playoff series since 2000. Dallas is favored by 3 1/2 points with a total of 183.
Those following the Zig-Zag theory went 1-1 last night and would have New York, Orlando and Portland, tonight.