I love the NBA playoffs, but I think it's fair to say that the opening weekend of the postseason was a bit of a bore (other than Raptors GM Masai Ujiri dropping another profane bomb in public and earning a hefty fine from the league again). The only road team to win was Washington in overtime at Toronto; otherwise the home teams won pretty comfortably. That's no fun. I only give Washington a shot for a road team to win among Tuesday's three games as well. Here's a look at each with odds from BetOnline.
Game 2: Celtics at Cavaliers (-11, 207)
A 7 p.m. start on TNT. Cleveland took Game 1 113-100 as an 11.5-point favorite. Iman Shumpert made two otherwise meaningless free throws with 20 seconds left to cover the spread. Boston's Phil Pressey missed a 3-pointer and then a driving layup to keep it that way. Kyrie Irving looked great in his first-ever playoff game with 30 points and just one turnover. He is only the 11th player to score at least 30 in his playoff debut. LeBron James had a typical LeBron game with 20 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Kevin Love also was solid in his playoff debut with 19 points and 12 rebounds. It was Cleveland's first home playoff game since May 11, 2010, when the Celtics won Game 5 of the East semifinals -- that would be LeBron's final home game before leaving for Miami.
Isaiah Thomas scored 22 points off the bench to lead the Celtics, the only Boston player with more than 12. Evan Turner had 12 points, seven rebounds and five assists, but the Celtics were outscored by 18 points with him on the court. Avery Bradley was nearly invisible, going 3-for-10 for seven points and continually being torched by Irving; Bradley is considered one of the top perimeter defenders in the game. The Celtics had ranked third in the NBA since the All-Star break in turnover percentage, giving it away 13.1 percent of the time. They turned it over 14 times that led to 20 Cleveland points. The Celtics attempted fewer free throws (22) than Cleveland made (26). That's home-court advantage for you.
Updated series line: Cavaliers -10000, Celtics +2500
Key trends: Boston is 5-1 against the spread in its past six road games. The Cavs are 1-5 ATS in their past six after a win of more than 10 points. The "over/under" has gone over in five of Boston's past six road games. The under is 5-2 in the past seven meetings in Cleveland.
Early lean: Cavaliers and over.
Game 2: Wizards at Raptors (-5, 191.5)
This tips at 8 p.m. on NBA TV. I did take the Wizards and the points in Game 1 and they won 93-86 in a game that really shouldn't have gone to overtime as the Wizards gagged away a 15-point fourth-quarter lead. Paul Pierce had five of his 20 points in the OT and Nene had a double-double with 12 points and 13 rebounds. The Wizards improved to 5-1 this season when Pierce scores at least 20 points. It was only the sixth time this season he led the team in scoring. He moved into 22nd on the all-time postseason scoring list with 3,027 points. Washington's John Wall was just 5-for-18 from the field and Bradley Beal 6-for-23. Nine times out of 10 the Wizards will lose when those guys shoot that way.
However, Toronto's Kyle Lowry, who still doesn't look healthy, was just 2-for-10 from the field and DeMar DeRozan 6-for-20. Lowry's seven points are his fewest in a game this year in which he attempted at least 10 shots. DeRozan was the only Raptors starter in double-figure points. All four bench guys had at least 10 points, led by Amir Johnson's 18. The Raptors bench guys shot 47.6 percent from the field compared to 30 percent from the starters. Toronto was just 6-for-29 from long range. The Raptors are now 0-7 all-time in Game 1 of a first-round playoff series. Interestingly, the home team has lost eight of the last 10 overtime playoff games in the NBA.
Updated series line: Wizards -165, Raptors +145
Key trends: Washington is 5-1 ATS in its past six road games. The Raptors are 2-10 ATS in their past 12 vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 6-2 in the Wizards' past eight vs. teams with a winning record. The under is 7-2 in the past nine meetings.
Early lean: Raptors will play with more urgency and cover. Go under.
Game 2: Mavericks at Rockets (-5.5, 215)
Start time of 9:30 on TNT. Houston took Game 1 118-108. James Harden led seven Rockets in double-figure points with 24. Houston lost both home games last season in its first-round series loss to Portland. Patrick Beverley wasn't able to make it back from a wrist injury and ageless Jason Terry had 16 points in his starting spot. Houston says it will increase Dwight Howard's minutes in the playoffs, but he was on the floor for only 17:22 in this one. He was battling foul trouble. The Rockets were 25.8 points per 100 possessions better than the Mavericks when Howard was on the court. The Mavericks shot 36 percent from the floor when he was in and 50 percent when he was out.
Dirk Nowitzki led Dallas with 24 points and Tyson Chandler had 11 points and 18 rebounds. But Monta Ellis and Chandler Parsons both struggled. Ellis was 5-for-16 from the field and Parsons 5-for-15. Parsons played through a knee injury but clearly was struggling with it and is considered questionable for this one. Backup point guard Devin Harris aggravated a toe injury in the game and also is questionable.
Updated series line: Rockets -400, Mavericks +320.
Key trends: Dallas is 3-14 ATS in its past 17 road games vs. teams with a winning home record. Houston is 8-1 ATS in its past nine at home vs. teams with a winning road record. The over is 7-0 in the Mavs' past seven. The over is 6-2 in the past eight meetings in Houston.
Early lean: Rockets and over.
Read more articles by Alan Matthews
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