Tag: NBA odds
The Boston Celtics proved one thing to any basketball player out there. You have to play until the final buzzer, or you are going to suffer the consequences. If not, just ask Dwight Howard and the Orlando Magic, who managed to have a 27-point lead at one point in the first half, but who completely collapsed at Orlando, yes, as the home team, against the veteran Boston Celtics, who were playing without Ray Allen or Rajon Rondo. Kudos have to go to Doc Rivers and the Boston Celtics for never losing their perspective despite been so far behind. Paul Pierce had 24 points and 10 assists, and E’Twaun Moore added 16 points off the bench to help Boston beat Orlando for the second time this week.
It was an embarrassing week for the Orlando Magic, to say the least. First they took an awful loss against the Celtics at Boston. The Celtics put a 31-point loss earlier this week over the Orlando Magic. So for the better part of the first half, it really looked as if the Orlando Magic would get its revenge, as it kept on building up a big deficit. The Magic outscored the Celtics by 16 points in the first quarter and by five in the second quarter to hold on to a 21-point lead in the halftime break.
But then again, the Boston Celtics, a team that so many critics already had said would be too old to compete this season, gave the Magic an even more humiliating lose when they pulled off such a comeback as the Magic fell apart. Forget the so called Orlando’s Superman. He was nowhere to be seen when his squad needed him to make the basket that could had saved the night. It’s hard to say if it will all be blamed on Dwight Howard, but then again, Howard didn’t had such a bad game. He just wasn’t there in the key moments. Dwight Howard finished the night with 16 points and 16 rebounds. Jason Richardson added 13 points, and Ryan Anderson had 12. But little came from Stan Van Gundy, the Magic’s head coach, who, seems to me, might have to be looking for a new job for next season.
Orlando Scored only 25 points in the second half, while Paul Pierce had 24 points and 10 assists leading the Boston Celtics to one heck of a comeback win. Knowing that some of the key players were on the bench, it would be up to the substitutes to get things moving. And the bench didn’t fail to deliver. Consider for a moment that E’Twaun Moore added 16 points off the bench to help Boston beat Orlando for the second time this week, and pull off a win from the largest losing deficit since 1966.
It was hard to watch a team like the Magic just fall apart like they did. Not even their coach had a good answer to what the heck happened on the court. “Their pressure, again, really pushed us sideways,” Van Gundy said. “We got frustrated with the officials and we got totally off our game.”
It’s not looking good for the Boston Celtics. It’s not a good omen. The last time the Boston Celtics lost the first two games of a playoffs series was back in 2004 when they got swept by the Indiana Pacers. As a matter of fact, this is now the ninth time in the franchise history that Boston has dropped the first two games of a series. And the numbers do speak for themselves. Out of the previous eight, only once has the Boston Celtics come back from a 0-2 deficit and win the series, and it was in 1969 against the LA Lakers in the NBA Finals.
Perhaps the problem is that Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen have never found themselves in this situation. These Celtics have lost Game 1s in four other series before their matchup with the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference Semis. The Celtics had previously bounced back to win Game 2 each time, against Chicago and Orlando in 2009, then Cleveland and the Lakers in 2010. Well, not this time. The Celtics managed to tie the game at 80 with 7:10 left on the game after a 13-6 run in the fourth quarter. But they couldn’t hold, the Celtics couldn’t defend and certainly didn’t know how to stop the Miami Heat as they finished a 14-0 run that was enough to give them a 102-91 win at home to take a 2-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
LeBron James finished off the game with 35 points, 7 rebounds and 2 assists. Perhaps what hurt the Celtics more was that James scored 24 of those 35 points in the second half, for 14 of 25 shooting and not a single turnover in 44 minutes of play. Dwayne Wade added 28 points while Chris Bosh chipped in 17 points and 11 rebounds.
Let’s face it: the Miami Heat’s big three outplayed Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce and Ray Allen. And that simply will not fly if they want to survive this series. Miami’s trio of stars scored 80 points; the Celtics big three had 36. LeBron James and Co. had 49.1 percent shooting from the field and 26 boards while walking to the free throw line 32 times. The Celtics big three had a 39.5 field goal percentage, captured 10 fewer rebounds and had only 4 free throw attempts. Had it not been for the Celtics all-star point guard who guided the team with 20 points, 6 rebounds and 12 assists, the Heat would had utterly embarrassed the Celtics.
The Boston Celtics got 16 points from Kevin Garnett and 13 from Paul Pierce. The veteran Pierce had to be taken into the locker room for treatment in his Achilles tendon during the first half. Ray Allen was held to seven points. To win this series, Boston will need, first, for the big three to step up and play with all their might in the Boston Garden. They will also need to defeat the Heat four times in a five-game span. They’ve done it before: they did it in the first round against Miami last year, then again in the second round against LeBron James and the Cleveland Cavaliers in the East semis. The thing is that this year LeBron and the Heat are one. So it can be done, but neither LeBron James (7-0) nor Dwayne Wade (5-0) has ever been part of a playoff series defeat after their teams won the first two games.
Good ankle or bad ankle, the bottom line is that Derrick Rose is living up to his expectations as the leagues MVP. It’s a bit of a contradiction that a team like the Indiana Pacers would manage to outplay with both intensity and perseverance the Chicago Bulls and yet find itself down 3-1 in the series before game 5 at Chicago. Like we had said on a previous entry on this blog, No.1 seeds guided by the league’s MVP shouldn’t be struggling that much against a team that only won 37 games in the regular season. But they did. And they sure enough crushed the Pacers on game 5 to not only secure a spot into the Eastern Conference Semifinals, but to also prove out that they might just have what it takes to win it all.
Everything was looking fine for the Pacers until the third quarter. Many had wondered whether Derrick Rose would be able to play with the usual intensity and speed with which he carries his game of if the ankle injury suffered on Game 4 on Saturday would slow him down. Well, Derrick Rose turned on the engines in a 30-19 blowout in the third quarter and the Indiana Pacers were never able to get even close after that.
Rose returned to the game at the 6:17 mark of the third quarter. It wasn’t the best scenario. He already had four fouls and it was uncertain how his ankle was holding on to an intense game. Soon we would all know. Rose scored 10 points in the Bulls’ 23-8 run, including three 3-pointers, a block of 7-foot-2 Roy Hibbert’s shot under the Pacers’ basket, two assists, one steal and one rebound. That’s with bad ankle. Derrick finished off the game with 8-of-17 shooting and 25 points.
The Bulls would play on Monday for the Eastern Conference semifinals against either the Orlando Magic or the Atlanta Hawks. As of press time, the Hawks are up in the series by 3-2. Orlando won the last game but it should have a very hard time playing against the odds and historic tendencies as only 8 teams in the NBA playoffs have managed to come back from a 3-1 deficit. Still, whoever makes it to the second round is going to have to find a way to slow down the Bulls.
There are a couple of issues that the Chicago Bulls need to address before Monday’s game. Gibson replaced the under performing Boozer and the difference was stunning as the younger player’s put on a renewed defensive effort that forced seven Pacers turnovers in the third quarter leading to 11 Bulls points.
Boozer, on the other hand, had two points and five rebounds, and just wasn’t great. He managed to finish the series with an average of 10.4 points on 35.8 percent shooting and 7.6 rebounds in 30 minutes of play. The bottom line is that no matter what happens in the next few games, the Bulls are going to struggle with a stronger offensive team. Derrick Rose could possibly keep on guiding the Bulls into bigger and better things. He is going to need a little more help from the rest of the squad if they really hope to get back into those glorious days of the Jordan era.
Critics are still hitting them hard, and the rumors keep on invading the blogs and forums on the Internet. Its really hard to point fingers at the situation and explain or at least try to come out with a decent excuse as of why the Miami Heat are playing like they are playing. The Miami Heat is now nine-and-eight and albeit a winning season, it is still very far from what the fans the in less then a couple of hours had bought all season tickets for the American Airlines Arena in Miami, Florida.
So what’s wrong? Well, for starters, the Heat has been defeated in 4 of its last 5 NBA games. Second, the Miami Heat has fall twice this season to their conference rival the Boston Celtics. Three, if they don’t make an important change to their performance, they are not going to have much success in the playoffs despite holding to one of the strongest player-by-player teams in the nation, but when it comes to the team’s performance they are just slightly above the average.
Sure, the team is just dealing with injuries and despite what we would like -for the sake of the sport- the Big Three: Chris Bosh, Dwayne Wade and LeBron James have not been great together. And that’s where it all starts. Despite the injuries, and the stardom of its players, Miami Heat is not playing well. They have fell to the Memphis Grizzlies 97-95, to the Indiana Pacers 93-77 and to Orlando Magic 104-95. So yes, LeBron James scored over 25 points in each of those games. And yet, it was not enough.
The Miami Heat had a small comeback against the Philadelphia 76ers. The 99-90 win over Philly came with great performances from Wade and Bosh. And yet, it was not enough to really give a new boost to the Heat which just later on fell to the Dallas Mavericks 106-95. Now, let’s talk about what really matters: Odds. Out of the 17 games the Heat has played this season, it has won only 8 games. When playing Against the Spread, the Heat is currently 13-5 ATS. They Heat have not yet covered the spread in 6 of its last games, and has only covered the spread once in its last 12 games.
The Miami Heat is not looking so great. Blame the head coach, the point guard, the injuries, the drama. It makes little difference. The Heat is just not making the cut.