The home teams went 2-0 last night to even up their series at 1-1, as the Celtics routed the Bucks and the Grizzlies outlasted the Warriors behind the performance of the playoff thus far; Ja Morant’s 47 points. Now, the attention turns to South Beach and Phoenix, as the Heat and Suns look to grow their series leads to 2-0 over the 76ers and Mavericks. Can they both do it?
Let’s take a closer look.
Leg #1. Heat -8.5 | -110 at DK Sportsbook
It was tough going for the 76ers in Game 1 of this series on Monday, as the absence of Joel Embiid (head) was too much to overcome vs. a deep and talented Heat team. Losing the battle of the boards by a margin of -10, the 76ers got outworked in addition to outscored, as Tyler Herro dropped 25 off the bench to lead all Heat scorers.
For the 76ers, Tobias Harris led all scorers with 27 points, as former league MVP James Harden continues to be a shell of his former self. The problem the 76ers are running into like many have this season is shutting down Jimmy Butler is just the tip of the spear. If it’s not Herro, All-Star Bam Adebayo can kill you down low, and if that’s shut down Duncan Robinson from deep.
With Embiid out of the lineup again, I like for the Heat to take a 2-0 lead to Philly with another statement win tonight.
Leg #2. Mavericks +6 | -110 at DK Sportsbook
It’s increasingly hard to believe that Mavericks star Luka Doncic is just 23 years old, as a 45-point performance in Game 1 of this series raised his career playoff average to 33.4 points per game. Even still, it wasn’t enough for a Mavericks team who trailed by as many as 21 points before rallying late to make the first game of this series a competitive one.
His help was the primary issue, as his #2 and #3 options in Jalen Brunson and Spencer Dinwiddie were nearly non-existent offensively, combing for just 21 points on the night. For the Sun’s part, six players scored in double-figures, as big man DeAndrew Ayton had 25 points on the night and Devin Booker, despite continued struggles from the field, dropped 23.
Free throws ended up making the difference for the Suns, making all 18 attempts from the stripe including eight straight in the final 48 seconds of the game. I expect another big game from Doncic tonight, and if Brunson can regress back towards the 28 points per game he averaged in the first series, like the Mavs chances to keep this one close.
Total Odds: +264 at DK Sportsbook
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