Monday Playoff Action
April 22, 2013
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Sportsbook.ag Monday NBA Playoffs Preview
CHICAGO BULLS (45-38) at BROOKLYN NETS (50-33)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Brooklyn -4.5 & 183.5
The Bulls will be out to prove they belong on the court with the Nets on Monday night after being blown out in Brooklyn in Saturday's Game 1.
Saturday's outcome was more lopsided than anybody could have possibly expected. The Nets were firing right out of the gate, leading 60-35 at half and coasting to a 106-89 blowout win. The Bulls struggled to find offense as they have often this season, but surprisingly their biggest issue came on the defensive end of the floor where they had no answer for Nets PG Deron Williams. He finished the game 9-for-15 from the field with 22 points with game highs in assists (7), steals (3) and rating (+24). He managed a perfect game on the floor for P.J. Carlesimo, making pinpoint passes on the team's way to a 55.8% shooting performance from the field. Chicago C Joakim Noah played just 13 minutes and looked out of sync every time he stepped on the floor. His ongoing plantar fasciitis foot injury is a major concern for the Bulls at this point in the series.
The Bulls played great defense all season (92.9 PPG allowed, 3rd in NBA) and that kept them in most of their games. They got away from their winning philosophy against the Nets in Game 1 though, and allowed several Brooklyn players to get to the rim with no consequences. The Bulls are missing a healthy C Joakim Noah, who played just 13 minutes in the game with four points and five rebounds. Noah will need to play better in Game 2 if the Bulls are going to have any shot. PF Carlos Boozer provided Chicago with plenty of offense, going 12-for-20 from the field with 25 points, eight rebounds and four assists, all team bests. PG Nate Robinson played decently off the bench for the Bulls as well with 17 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Robinson scored a lot of points in garbage minutes though, which makes the matchup with Deron Williams seem a lot closer than it really was. The Bulls need a lot more out of SF Luol Deng. The Bulls' best two-way player went just 3-of-11 from the field with six points, two rebounds and a minus-16 rating in 38 minutes.
The Nets played one of their best games all season against the Bulls on Saturday. The team shot 55.8% from the floor by dominating the paint with a 56-36 points-in-paint advantage and also had a decisive 12-3 edge in fast-break points. Other than the magnificent performance by PG Deron Williams, C Brook Lopez was also key in the Brooklyn win. Lopez was perfect from the free throw line (7-for-7), while going 7-of-15 from the field on his way to having 21 points, five rebounds and three blocks. SF Gerald Wallace, who has really struggled at times this season, went 5-for-7 from the field for 14 points, six rebounds and two blocks. Wallace needs to play with confidence if the Nets are going to make a run this year, and this performance should give him plenty of it. Brooklyn also received nice contributions from two reserves. PG C.J. Watson scored 14 points (6-of-8 FG) in 23 minutes, while C Andray Blatche averaged 12 points on 6-of-11 shooting.
MEMPHIS GRIZZLIES (56-27) at LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS (57-26)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Los Angeles -5.5 & 181.5
After crushing the Grizzlies in Saturday's Game 1, the Clippers look to take a 2-0 series lead on Monday night.
Memphis entered the playoffs on quite a roll, going 9-2 SU (7-3-1 ATS) in its final 11 contests, where it held all 11 opponents under 100 points, giving up a mere 84.5 PPG on 40.7% FG and 29.7% threes. But that defense was non-existent on Saturday, as the Grizzlies allowed L.A. to pump in 112 points on 55.4% FG (7-of-19 threes) in a 21-point blowout. The Clippers have now won eight straight contests (5-2-1 ATS) and possess a 4-1 mark (SU and ATS) against Memphis this season. During the regular season, the Grizzlies were 24-17 SU on the road (T-3rd in NBA), including a stellar 24-16-1 ATS (60%) away mark, good for second in the league. However, L.A. boasted the NBA's fifth-best home record (32-9 SU, 78%) and tied for the fifth-best home wager at 24-16-1 ATS (60%) at Staples Center.
Despite the lopsided score, Memphis did some nice things on offense, shooting 47% from the floor, knocking down 42% threes (5-for-12) and draining 20-of-25 foul shots (80%). The Grizzlies also had more points in the paint than L.A. (48-46) and one more fast-break point (11-10). The big problem was rebounding, where the Clippers dominated with a hefty 47-23 advantage on the glass. This was quite unexpected, as Memphis ranked second in the NBA in rebounding margin (+3.6 RPG) during the regular season. The Grizzlies also led the NBA in scoring defense (89.3 PPG allowed) and held opponents to 43.5% FG (3rd in league) and 33.8% threes (2nd in NBA). A big reason for this deficiency on the boards was PF Zach Randolph plagued by foul trouble. He logged just 25 minutes on Saturday, where he scored 13 points (6-of-10 FG) with four rebounds and three turnovers. Randolph had averaged a double-double in the regular-season series with L.A., compiling 14.8 PPG and 12.0 RPG in the four games. PG Mike Conley (minus-16 rating in Game 1) was certainly outplayed by Chris Paul, but Conley still managed to score 12 points (5-of-11 FG) with five assists and two steals in his 28 minutes. This was better than what he had done in this series during the regular season with just 10.3 PPG on 30% shooting. C Marc Gasol had a monster game last Saturday against the Clippers with 18 points, 15 boards and seven assists, increasing his averages in the regular-season series to 16.8 PPG, 9.0 RPG and 4.0 APG. But the 7-footer played poorly in Game 1, making just 4-of-12 shots and grabbing a paltry two rebounds in 41 minutes of playing time. He did have a game-high-tying seven assists though. The best offensive player for Memphis was PG Jerryd Bayless, who came off the bench to score a team-high 19 points on 6-of-12 FG with three assists. Starting SF Tayshaun Prince had the worst rating in the game (minus-22) and scored just two points in 29 minutes, making 1-of-5 shots with four boards and three assists.
The Clippers' offensive explosion wasn't too surprising considering they posted 101.1 PPG this season (9th in NBA) on 47.8% FG (4th in league), and a respectable 35.8% threes (16th in NBA). In the past nine home games, L.A. has pumped in 105.8 PPG on 53.0% FG and 35.2% threes, wining eight of these nine Staples Center contests. The Clips produced a league-leading 9.6 steals per game during the regular season, but had just four swipes on Saturday and forced a mere seven Memphis turnovers. PG Chris Paul was clearly the best player on the floor in Game 1, scoring a game-high 23 points (7-of-11 FG, 3-for-4 threes) with seven assists, two steals and a game-best +17 rating. Paul also fared well against Memphis during the regular season with 16.3 PPG (47% FG) and 8.7 APG. PF Blake Griffin hasn't been nearly as effective versus the Grizzlies with 13.8 PPG (44% FG) and 7.0 RPG in the four regular-season meetings, and a subpar 10 points (3-of-9 FG) and five rebounds in Saturday's victory. But the Los Angeles supporting cast really came through in Game 1, as five others scored in double figures. PG Eric Bledsoe came off the bench to score 15 points on a perfect 7-of-7 from the floor, adding six boards and four assists. SG Chauncey Billups pumped in 14 points and a +14 rating in just 21 minutes, while fellow starter SF Caron Butler finished with 13 points (6-of-9 FG), seven boards and a +13 rating in 24 minutes. Reserve SG Jamal Crawford tallied 13 points despite shooting 1-of-6 from three-point land, and SF Matt Barnes pitched in 10 points (4-of-6 FG) and four rebounds in 23 minutes off the bench.