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Monday NBA winners
After the home teams went a perfect 8-0 SU on the opening weekend of the NBA playoffs it’s time for some road teams to step up and play some better basketball. Favorites were 6-1-1 ATS over the weekend (depending on where you got the Knicks line) and as the old playoff saying goes, “a series doesn’t really start until someone wins on the road.”

Tonight we have two games on the card as TNT has a double-header featuring the Bulls/Nets and Grizzlies/Clippers.

Chicago (+5.5) vs. Brooklyn (-5.5); Total set at 183.5

The Bulls have got to be happy that they get a chance to get right back at it because Game 1 was the definition of a throwaway. Chicago stumbled out of the gate in Game 1, going down by 11 after the first quarter and then was forced to play faster than they wanted to in an effort to get back into the contest. It’s always bad news for Chicago when they decide to play fast and get away from their grinding style, but after that huge 1st quarter deficit they didn’t have a choice in the matter. That led to even more problems as they were outscored by 14 in the 2nd frame and the game was easily decided by the break as the Nets went into halftime with a 25-point cushion. Even the 17-point differential in the final score makes the game look closer than it actually was as Brooklyn rested everyone in the 4th and were outscored by 10.

But the most glaring stat from that Game 1 beatdown was that Brooklyn shot 55% from the field for the game. That is a number that has got to infuriate the Chicago coaching staff as they are a team that is based on playing high quality defense. Six Nets finished the game with double digit points and that just can’t happen if Chicago has any hopes of winning this series.

Yet, after a day off to regroup Chicago gets a chance for redemption. The Bulls lost by double digits 16 times this year and coach Tom Thibodeau usually found the right buttons to push next time out. Following those 16 blowout losses, Chicago only lost by six or more four times as they generally found a way to play their style of game. It’s not like they can’t beat this Nets team as they were 3-1 SU and ATS against Brooklyn in the regular season. Chicago will use the embarrassment from Game 1 as extra motivation to ensure that they head home with much more confidence as a worst case scenario if they do fall down 0-2.

Take the points with Chicago.

Memphis (+6) vs. L.A. Clippers (-6); Total set at 182

Like the Bulls did in their opening game, Memphis got in trouble right out of the gate as the Clippers dictated the tempo from the outset and ran away with Game 1. A 57-51 score at half are numbers the Grizzlies would rather see midway through the 3rd quarter as they know they can’t get out and run with L.A.

In yet another similarity to the Bulls/Nets series, the Clippers shot 55% from the field in their Game 1 victory and actually did the Nets one better as seven Clippers scored double digits. But that was only second time in five meetings between these two this season that the winner hit the century mark and the first was on opening night. The Grizzlies defensive intensity will pick up tremendously tonight as they want to turn this game into a slugfest.

The lone win Memphis got against the Clippers did come in this building as 6-point underdogs as they went home with a 96-85 win. They held L.A. to a measly 33 points in the 2nd half of that game as it turned ugly after the break and the Clippers aren’t a team that like to bang and get pushed around. Look for Memphis to make this game a street fight from the outset as they attempt to get back into the series. Given that Memphis was 0-2 SU at home vs. L.A. this year, they can ill-afford to head home down 0-2 in the series and it’s highly unlikely that L.A’s offense runs so smoothly tonight.

Take the points with Memphis.

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