It has not been a good couple of days for the Trail Blazers franchise. First there was a Game 1 loss in Memphis on Sunday, then news came out that the Blazers had what sounds like a racist laminated card in their locker room that included the phrase "We don't lose to Spanish players," presumably referring to Memphis star center Marc Gasol (apparently they do lose to Spanish players). Then word came out that Portland is very afraid that star big man LaMarcus Aldridge will leave as a free agent this summer as the team is getting signs he might. The Knicks for sure will throw a max offer at him. Let's see how the Blazers react in Wednesday's Game 2.
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Game 2: Nets at Hawks (-9.5, 202)
This tips at 7 p.m. on NBA TV. Atlanta had little trouble sweeping four games from Brooklyn this regular season and not a whole lot more in Sunday's 99-92 Game 1 victory. The Hawks led for all but the first 39 seconds, although I wouldn't say they played great as the Nets kept rallying. There are two major injury concerns for the Hawks, however. All-Star forward Paul Millsap played after missing five of the final six games of the regular season with a sprained shoulder but didn't look right, going just 2-for-11 from the field. Millsap mentioned he might get rid of the protective shoulder pad he was wearing as that could have been a factor in his struggles. All-Star center Al Horford dislocated his right pinkie finger going for a rebound early in the fourth quarter. On Monday, Horford said there is still "some question" as to whether or not he'll be available for Game 2. I highly doubt he sits out.
The Nets actually outshot Atlanta from the field, 45.6-43.0 percent, but Brooklyn hit only 5-for-20 from 3-point range and was 15-for-22 from the charity stripe to 21-for-22 for Atlanta. Joe Johnson (just 6-for-17) and Brook Lopez led the Nets with 17 points each. Atlanta largely took Lopez away as he had only seven shots. The Hawks will make the Nets beat them from the perimeter. Brooklyn guard Alan Anderson played after missing the final seven games of the regular season with an ankle injury. He scored five points in 16 minutes. Coach Lionel Hollins mentioned he might start Anderson or Bojan Bogdanovic at shooting guard for Game 2 over rookie Markel Brown, who was benched after playing six minutes in the opening quarter of Game 1.
Updated series line: Hawks -3000, Nets +1500.
Key trends: The Nets are 5-1-1 against the spread in their past seven after a loss. The "over/under" has gone under in five of Atlanta's past seven at home. The Nets are 4-1 ATS in their past five in Atlanta.
Early lean: Nets (to cover not win) and under.
Game 2: Trail Blazers at Grizzlies (-6, 189)
An 8 p.m. start on TNT. The injury-ravaged Blazers didn't end the season well, losing four straight games, three by double digits. They didn't look much better in this series opener, falling 100-86. If you had Beno Udrih being the Grizzlies' best player in that game, kudos to you. He had 20 points, seven rebounds and seven assists off the bench. Beno Udrih? He played a lot because starting point guard Mike Conley is still dealing with a bit of a foot injury -- Conley played only 24 minutes and took the fourth quarter off. Zach Randolph had 16 points and 11 boards, while Gasol had 15 and 11. Despite those two guys with a combined 22 boards, the Blazers actually won that battle 56-48.
However, Portland shot just 33.7 percent overall (worst this season and worst in a playoff game since 1999) and 8-for-26 from 3-point range. Aldridge had 32 points but took 34 shots, which is way out of character for him and the most he has taken in any game in his career. Damian Lillard didn't play well, going 5-for-21 for 14 points. Portland played without starting guard Arron Afflalo due to a shoulder injury. CJ. McCollum started for him and was just 1-for-8 for two points. Afflalo, out since April 11 due to a right shoulder strain, sounds like he will play on Wednesday. The Trail Blazers are 2-12 all-time in series when losing Game 1 in a best-of-seven series.
Updated series line: Grizzlies -435, Blazers +365.
Key trends: The Blazers are 0-4 ATS in their past four vs. teams with a winning record. Memphis is 6-1 ATS in its past seven vs. the West. The Blazers are 0-5 ATS in the past five meetings. The under is 6-2 in the past eight in Memphis.
Early lean: This is just a bad matchup for Portland. Take the Grizzlies and under.
Game 2: Spurs at Clippers (-1.5, 207.5)
It's a 10:30 start time on TNT. Certainly if any team can bounce back from an ugly loss it's the five-time champion Spurs. And I thought they would win this series in seven. I'm not totally off the bandwagon yet, but I'm a tad concerned. San Antonio was totally outplayed by New Orleans in the regular-season finale when a Spurs win would have given them the No. 2 seed and avoided the red-hot Clippers. They were totally outplayed again in Game 1 on Sunday, a 107-92 Clippers win. Kawhi Leonard had 18 points and six rebounds and Tim Duncan 11 points and 11 rebounds, but the rest of the team didn't do much. Tony Parker had just 10 points and one assists and was dominated by Chris Paul. Manu Ginobili was 3-for-10 in 19 minutes. The Spurs shot only 36.6 percent, missed 23 3-pointers in 33 tries and were only 14-for-26 from the free-throw line. The good news: they have won six of their past 10 series when losing the opener.
That was the Clippers' eighth straight win and 14th in the past 15 games. Paul, who still really has never won anything, was fabulous with 32 points, seven rebounds and six assists. Blake Griffin added 26 points, 12 rebounds and six assists. The Clippers can beat anyone when those two play like that. DeAndre Jordan had 14 rebounds, and the Spurs hacked him on purpose only a few times. He was 5-for-12 from the line. The Clippers starters were simply so much better than the Spurs' first five that San Antonio's better bench didn't matter much in Game 1. The L.A. bench was outscored by 21 and outrebounded by 19.
Updated series line: Clippers -120, Spurs +100.
Key trends: The Spurs are 1-4 ATS in their past five road games vs. teams with a winning home record. The Clippers are 1-5 ATS in their past six at home. The over is 7-3 in the past 10 meetings.
Early lean: The Spurs haven't lost two straight since late February, but the Clippers are clicking on all cylinders. Take them and the over.
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