NBA Playoffs 2020: Schedule, Odds and Predictions for Wednesday's MatchupsAugust 19, 2020
In their first playoff game since winning the NBA title last year, the Toronto Raptors were dominant. They cruised to a 134-110 win over the Brooklyn Nets in Monday's Game 1, continuing their recent strong play after going 7-1 at the ESPN Wide World of Sports Complex at Disney World.
On Wednesday, Toronto will look to stay hot when it takes on Brooklyn in Game 2 of the first-round series. The Raptors are proving they should again be a contender to win the NBA title, even though they no longer have 2019 NBA Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard.
The Los Angeles Clippers, Boston Celtics and Denver Nuggets will also be in action Wednesday looking to jump out to a 2-0 lead in their respective series.
Game 2: No. 7 Brooklyn Nets at No. 2 Toronto Raptors (-11.5), 1:30 p.m. ET, NBATV
Game 2: No. 6 Utah Jazz at No. 3 Denver Nuggets (-4), 4 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 2: No. 6 Philadelphia 76ers at No. 3 Boston Celtics (-4.5), 6:30 p.m. ET, TNT
Game 2: No. 7 Dallas Mavericks at No. 2 Los Angeles Clippers (-6.5), 9 p.m. ET, TNT
Odds from Caesars Palace.
Raptors over Nets
While the Nets may eventually win a game in this series, it's not going to come in Game 2. Toronto is on a roll and is the better team, so it's unlikely Brooklyn will make this a competitive series at any point.
In Game 1, the Raptors demonstrated exactly what makes them so tough to beat. They had seven players score double-digit points, led by Fred VanVleet's 30 and Serge Ibaka's 22 off the bench. Toronto led by 17 points after the first quarter and was never in jeopardy of losing.
The Nets went 5-3 in their seeding games, playing much better than most people expected with five key players missing (Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, Spencer Dinwiddie, DeAndre Jordan and Wilson Chandler). But the stakes are now raised, and taking on the Raptors in a best-of-seven series is a much greater challenge.
Expect Toronto to roll again in Game 2.
Jazz over Nuggets
Now this series has the potential to be competitive.
In Game 1, the Nuggets outlasted the Jazz in overtime, holding on for a 135-125 win. Denver outscored Utah 20-10 in overtime, with Jamal Murray (36 points and nine assists) and Nikola Jokic (29 points and 10 rebounds) leading it to victory.
Despite losing, the Jazz had an impressive showing led by Donovan Mitchell, who scored 57 points—the most in a playoff game in franchise history. The Nuggets may have edged them in OT, but the game could have gone either way.
Utah will bounce back in Game 2 and win to even the series at 1-1. Denver shot 53.7 percent from three-point range in Game 1 (going 22-for-41), so if the Jazz can clamp down on their perimeter defense, they should have no problem swinging the result the other way and staying in this series.
Celtics over 76ers
The 76ers are a solid team, and they proved that by taking a four-point lead into the fourth quarter of their Game 1 matchup against the Celtics. However, the loss of Ben Simmons to a season-ending knee injury could prove crucial in this series.
Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown combined for 61 points in Game 1 against the 76ers' depleted defense, and the Celtics won Game 1 despite not even having their best shooting night (42.2 percent from the field, 32.3 percent from three-point range).
A better offensive showing in Game 2 will help Boston jump out to a 2-0 lead. The Celtics have been one of the best teams in the Eastern Conference all season, and they will keep playing well against the 76ers to advance to the next round.
Clippers over Mavericks
This is why the Clippers added Kawhi Leonard and Paul George last offseason—to win playoff games and finally make a deep postseason run after years of struggles.
The superstar duo did their jobs in Game 1, combining for 56 points and leading Los Angeles to a 118-110 win over Dallas.
But it's not going to be easy for the Clippers to win their first-round series against the Mavericks. Luka Doncic scored 42 points in his postseason debut, and Dallas stayed in the game despite Kristaps Porzingis playing only 20 minutes after an ejection for a pair of technical fouls.
Still, Los Angeles is the better team. And while Dallas should win a game or two in this series, the Clippers will ride their recent momentum (five wins in their last six games) to another victory in Game 2.