Big day today in the ever-more-interesting world of the NBA’s Round 1 of the playoffs. How crazy has it been? Let’s just say we could be in the midst of the biggest first-round upset in history. But while the Lakers have a minute to take a breather, these teams tip it off today.
Celtics at Heat: Heat by 1 1/2. While Paul Pierce has been reliable after an injury-plagued season, averaging 20 ppg, Wade for Miami has been unstoppable, putting up nearly 30 ppg and, as expected once again, carrying his team. Still, with the Heat down 3-0 in the series, it looks grim for the boys from Miami. Wade and company can give us the same cliche line that you’ve just got to take it one game at a time, but we all know the fact that no NBA team has come back from a 3-0 deficit is weighing heavily. Add to that the fact that the Celtics are complete again (no injuries, no suspensions), and I think you’ll find this one ends this afternoon. In fact, it wouldn’t surprise me if the Heat came out flat and faded away. Then Wade will have plenty of time to answer the question of whether he’s staying or leaving during the offseason. Celtics win, Celtics cover…bet the under.
Cavs at Bulls: Cavs by 6. The other NBA game this fine Sunday stays in the Eastern Conference. And boy does Joakim Noah hate Cleveland. Look, nobody really expected the Bulls to win this series. It’s not like last year when Garnett’s injury opened the door to a somewhat evenly matched contest. So Noah spouting off really isn’t a valid distraction or excuse. It’s actually amusing. Nevertheless, you keep focusing on the Bulls – but for me it’s all about Rose always seeming to deliver on his promises. He promised to turn his play around earlier this year…he promised the Bulls would make the playoffs…but has he promised any victories this series? No. King Lebron might be denied again in 2010, but it won’t be in the first round. Still, the Bulls generate a hell of a lot of energy at home, and the kids are still fighting to prove they belong in this series, so they won’t just roll over. I do expect Cleveland to win the game, but not by 6. Bet the Bulls to prevent Cleveland from covering the spread.