NBA Playoffs Picks Sunday: Spurs/Grizzlies, Knicks/Celtics, Nuggets/Thunder
After a 2-1 day yesterday, let’s see what I can pull off on the second day of the NBA playoffs. Here’s who I like:
San Antonio Spurs vs. Memphis Grizzlies OVER 193: While the Spurs have historically been known for their defensive prowess, that hasn’t necessarily been the case this season. The Spurs are right about average in the league giving up 98 points per game, and Memphis is right behind at 97.6 PPG allowed.
This figures to be an uptempo and high-scoring game, even with the talented Manu Ginobili doubtful for the Spurs. Zach Randolph has had a monster season, and he’ll likely continue his hot play during the postseason. The X-Factor may very well be Tim Duncan on the interior. Although he’s only averaging 13.4 points per game this season, you can be sure the future Hall of Famer will put up big numbers with the season on the line.
New York Knicks vs. Boston Celtics (-6): They’ve stumbled into the playoffs, but the Boston Celtics aren’t ready to lay down and fold. Ever since the Knicks acquired Carmelo Anthony, the continuity of the offense has been lackluster to say the least, and they’ve lost a lot of games that they should have won.
The NYC boys will be excited to show the doubters that they belong in the same class as Boston, Miami and Chicago atop the Eastern Conference, but to use an adage, you must walk before you can run. The Celtics have been running for a while now, and even without stalwart Kendrick Perkins in the middle, Garnett and the rest of the crew can handle Amar'e’s inside presence. I think it’s pretty simple: Give me KG, Ray Allen and Paul Pierce over Amar’e and ‘Melo any day. It’ll be close, but some late free throws will likely push the Celtics to Cover City.
Denver Nuggets vs. Oklahoma City Thunder OVER 199: Sure, I know it’s the playoffs, and teams tend to buckle down on defense, but I’ll take the over in this game as well. Both of these teams can score at will, and like to push the ball up the court. The Nuggets’ Ty Lawson and OKC’s Russell Westbrook are two of the speediest ball handlers in the NBA. Not to mention Thunder superstar Kevin Durant is a shoo-in for 30-plus points on any given night, and you’ve got a high-scoring basketball game.
The Nuggets are stockpiled with three-point assassins in J.R. Smith, Aaron Afflalo, Danilo Gallinari and Raymond Felton (all of whom shot over 37 percent from deep this season). It’s a rather lofty number to hit, but 199 isn’t out of reach for these two teams.
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