Wed, Apr 19, 4:11pm by Staff Writer
Round One of the playoffs has been as exciting as the next episode of Star Wars. The Warriors host the Blazers and expect the Dubs to put the squeeze on the Blazers. Back in the East the champs Cleveland head to Indiana looking to extinguish the Pacers’ play-off hopes. At www.australiangambling.lv check out the best bets on the midweek action.
Trail Blazers @ Warriors
Oracle Arena, Oakland – Thursday 20 April 12.30pm
The Warriors have breezed through the first round of the playoffs over the last two years, and will be looking to repeat the feat against the Blazers. The Dubs had little trouble dispatching the Blazers outfit in Game One earlier this week. Look for the Dubs to go for the one-two punch.
The only dark cloud on the horizon for the Dubs is the fitness of All- Star forward Kevin Durant. KD picked up a left calf injury, scoring 32 points in the game one victory.
Durant missed training with the team, and he is listed as a ‘questionable starter by coach Steve Kerr. The Warriors will be without Kevin Looney, but they are hopeful forward Matt Barnes recovers in time from a sprained ankle.
The Warriors have shown that they are a serious force without Durant, and Steph Curry backed up with 29 points in the game one win. If KD doesn’t take the court look for the splash brothers in Curry and Klay Thompson to do some damage.
The Blazers have the weapons to hurt the Dubs, but do they have the heart for battle? Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum were excellent in the opening loss. The pair combined for 75 points, putting them in the company of Blazers legends Clyde Drexler and Terry Porter. McCollum recorded 41 points and Lillard backed up with 34 points. Look for the dynamic duo to bring their game up a few notches in round two.
It’s difficult to look past the Warriors for Game Two. It will take a massive turnaround from the Blazers and a bit of luck on the injury front to level the series. The Warriors have shown their teeth in the game one and I expect them to dominate in game two, with or without KD. I’m tipping the Warriors for the win.
Cavaliers @ Pacers
Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indiana – Friday 21 April 12.30pm
While the Warriors are dominating in the West, the Cavs are following the script in the Eastern Conference. LeBron James is creating his own slice of playoff history, tying the record of 19 consecutive first round game wins. If the Cavs take game three, then the King will own the record. League pundits have moaned about the poor defence from the reigning champs, but with current score-line in their favour they look like progressing further.
The Cavs were far from convincing in the opening game escaping with a 109-108 win. In Game Two they were able to walk away with a 117-111 victory. While there were aspects of their game that they can work on, they will be looking to close out with another win in Indiana.
The Cavs’ big guns have all been on score sheet. In the Game Two victory Kyrie Irving led the line with 37 points, Kevin Love 27 points and James 25 points. The disturbing aspect of their play is another fourth-quarter collapse, which has been a feature of the Cavs play late in the regular season. Expect the champs to find their groove as the post season progresses.
For the Pacers, it’s not mission impossible. Paul George had 32 points and Jeff Teague backed up with 23 points in Game Two. The Pacers have shown that they can match the scoring prowess of Cleveland coming back from two big deficits.
The Cavs have a 12-0 record in the playoffs when they have opened up a 2-0 lead. Expect the trend to continue in Game Three. The Cavs will be too strong and too fast for the Pacers. Expect big games from the Cavs starters Irving, James and Love. Expect the Cavs to put this one away early and ease to a 3-0 lead.
BEST BET: Cavs to win at $1.68
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