If there’s anything the NBA is good for in the first round of the playoffs, it’s a general lack of drama. Last year’s Bulls vs. Celtics series notwithstanding, you’ve got to go back to when Dikembe Mutumbo was relevant to find a 1 vs. 8 that drew much attention. So it’s more about the lines right now than it is about the winner. Still, let’s press on with Round 1.
It’s amusing to see Glen Davis offer up so much confidence after falling off a cliff since last year. Still, the “ticket stub” is ready to fill in for Garnett and take it to Miami in Game 2. Boston won by 9 in game 1, a defensive showcase in which Garnett’s most impressive stat of the night was his 9 boards. Here’s how I’m looking at this. If Davis can even muster up 8 points and 8 boards, he’ll more or less wash what Garnett gave them in straight statistics. Yeah, yeah, Garnett brings emotion, but in a building where thousands of fans already got your back and there’s been a mini war of words going on, a spark is the last thing the Celtics will need. The oddsmakers will probably overreact at first and the line will be around 5 for the Celtics, maybe 5.5. I say they cover the line. Miami doesn’t have enough talent to win this series, and the road games will be the ugliest. I also don’t see as tough a defensive matchup as game 1, and that is partly due to Garnett’s absence. Therefore, I’d recommend taking the over here.
Monday night’s game has the Jazz at Nuggets at a straight 7-point spread. The West is insane again, with the two teams combining for 239 points in Game 1. I’ll tell you what, the offenses can be so erratic I’m not touching the over/under, but I will say if the scoring gets this high again, the Jazz don’t have a chance. All offense, all the time plays right into Denver’s hands. However, I will say the Nuggets will need to clamp down a little better against the Jazz if they hope to push through tougher teams that actually play defense, like, you know, the Lakers. Game 1 was close until about 10 minutes left in the fourth, but I’d expect the Nuggets to open it up earlier in Game 2. Should be a fairly ho-hum affair, and the only thing keeping the Nuggets from covering will be the garbage time.