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Tuesday Playoff Action

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Sportsbook.ag Tuesday NBA Playoffs Preview

MILWAUKEE BUCKS (38-45) at MIAMI HEAT (67-16)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Miami -14 & 197

The Bucks will try to improve greatly from Sunday's showing when they visit Miami for Game 2 of their playoff series on Tuesday night.

In Game 1, the Bucks did everything they could to put up points and keep the Heat off the board. That wasn't enough however, as Miami came out on top by a final score of 110-87. Despite the best efforts by Milwaukee's starting backcourt (Monta Ellis and Brandon Jennings combined for 48 points), the Heat won the second half by 16 points (58-42). The Heat didn't let the Bucks score 25 points in a single quarter, and defensively the Bucks had absolutely no match for LeBron James, who was nearly perfect on the night. James finished the game 9-for-11 from the field with 27 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. The Bucks (21-21 ATS on road this season) got little help from their bench and role players, and without them, they do not stand a chance versus Miami (38-4 SU, 23-19 ATS at home).

The Bucks are going to need perfect play from their entire roster if they are going to win a game in this series. On Sunday, SG Monta Ellis went 10-for-19 from the field with 22 points and added four steals, four rebounds and a team-high-tying three assists. He was getting quality looks in the game, but he went just 1-for-6 from three and also 1-for-6 from the foul line, contributing to a game-worst, minus-26 rating. Ellis will need to pick up those shooting percentages if Milwaukee is to keep these games closer. PG Brandon Jennings was the only other Bucks player to score in double-digits and he too played a strong offensive game, going 8-for-20 from the field (4-of-10 threes) for 26 points. Jennings only had two assists though, and will need to do a better job of getting his teammates involved. Outside of Jennings and Ellis, no other Milwaukee player eclipsed six points. SG J.J. Redick will have to provide more offense in Game 2, as he went just 1-of-6 from the field with six points and a minus-7 rating in this one.

The defending champions got off to a quick start Sunday against the Bucks and after Milwaukee got the game close again towards the end of the first quarter, the Heat flipped a switch and dominated the rest of the game. SF LeBron James was outstanding, missing a triple-double by just two assists, but he did commit a game-high five turnovers. PF Chris Bosh was dominant inside with 15 points, seven rebounds and two blocks on 5-of-7 shooting from the field and 3-of-4 shooting from three-point range. Bosh's size caused Milwaukee tons of problems on Sunday and it could continue to do so in Game 2. SG Dwyane Wade had 16 points, five rebounds, five assists, two steals and a game-best +26 rating on Sunday, but it was SG Ray Allen who stole the show for Miami at the shooting guard position. In his first playoff game with the Heat, Allen dropped 20 points (6-of-13 FG), five rebounds, three assists and two steals in 29 minutes. He and PF Chris Andersen (10 points on 4-of-4 FG, seven rebounds in 16 minutes) both provided a huge spark off the bench for Erik Spoelstra's team.

BOSTON CELTICS (41-41) at NEW YORK KNICKS (55-28)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: New York -6.5 & 185

Boston will be looking to even up the series at one game apiece when they play in New York on Tuesday.

The first game between these two teams on Saturday ended up in a sloppy 85-78 game in favor of the Knicks. They really clamped down on defense in the fourth quarter and held the Celtics to just eight points in those final 12 minutes. The Knicks are now a sizzling-hot 17-2 SU (15-4 ATS) in their past 19 games, including 11 straight home wins (9-2 ATS) to improve their record at Madison Square Garden to 32-10 SU (25-17 ATS) this season. Boston is just 5-12 SU (7-10 ATS) in its past 17 games overall, and 14-28 SU (16-24-2 ATS) on the road this season.

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The Celtics were up by as much as seven points in the third quarter of Game 1, but could not get anything going in the fourth quarter. PF Jeff Green was dominant in the first half of the game, but nowhere to be found in the second. He finished the game with 26 points, seven rebounds and three blocks, but he had just six of those points in the second half. He will need to be aggressive for the entire game if Boston is going to upset New York. SF Paul Pierce also struggled in the second half, but played very well overall for the Celtics with 21 points, seven assists and five rebounds in 39 minutes. But both Green and Pierce turned the ball over six times apiece, contributing heavily to the team's 20 miscues. Boston will need more scoring out of PF Kevin Garnett, who played well defensively (nine rebounds), but finished with just eight points on 4-of-12 shooting. PG Avery Bradley was on top of his game though, going 7-of-14 from the field with 15 points, four assists and three steals. The Celtics are going to need a lot more production from their bench as it combined for just four points, missing all seven FG attempts on Saturday. SG Jason Terry was 0-for-5 from the field and 0-for-4 from three-point range in 20 horrible minutes.

The Knicks didn't play their best in Game 1, but they certainly will take the final result, which was a win over a tough division rival. SF Carmelo Anthony was hot in the first quarter, struggled in the second and third, and then heated up again in the fourth quarter for New York. He was hitting timely buckets when the Knicks need him and finished the game with 36 points (13-of-29 FG), six rebounds and four steals. He was focused defensively and played with tremendous effort. SG J.R. Smith went ice-cold from three-point range, going 1-for-7 on his way to a 7-of-19 shooting performance, but it is unlikely that Smith is that off again. New York was able to get only 20 minutes of playing time out of C Tyson Chandler, who took zero shots in the game after coming back from a bulging disc in his neck. Chandler said after the game that he was rusty, so look for him to improve in Game 2. The two difference makers on Saturday were veterans PG Jason Kidd and PF Kenyon Martin. Kidd finished the game with eight points, five rebounds, three assists and three steals. He also hit back-to-back threes in the third quarter to stop a very threatening Boston run. Martin was also magnificent off the bench, finishing with 10 points, nine rebounds (five offensive) and two blocks, including a huge swat on Jason Terry that had Madison Square Garden roaring.

GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (47-36) at DENVER NUGGETS (58-25)
Sportsbook.ag Line & Total: Denver -8 & 207

After nearly knocking off the heavily-favored Nuggets on Saturday, the now Warriors try to even up their first-round series without their best big man in Tuesday night's Game 2 at Pepsi Center.

Denver PG Andre Miller hit an acrobatic reverse lay-up with less than two seconds remaining to cap off a 28-point night and give his team a 97-95 win in Saturday's Game 1. Not only did Golden State lose the game, but they also lost All-Star PF David Lee to a torn right hip flexor in the fourth quarter that will keep him out for the remainder of the postseason. The Nuggets were also missing their starting PF Kenneth Faried (ankle), but he might be able to return to the court on Tuesday for the first time since April 14. Both teams finished the regular season strong, as the Warriors won 10 of their final 15 games (SU and ATS) while the Nuggets closed the season with eight wins in their final nine contests (5-4 ATS). With Saturday's tight victory, Denver has now won four of the five meetings (3-2 ATS) between these teams this season, and is a remarkable 39-3 SU (28-14 ATS) at Pepsi Center, including 24 straight home wins. Golden State is only 19-23 SU (20-21-1 ATS) on the road this season, but is now 5-2 ATS in its past seven away games.

Golden State had little trouble putting up points this season with 101.2 PPG (7th in NBA) on 45.8% FG (11th in league) and an NBA-best 40.3% three-point clip. In Game 1, they fell well below all of those averages with 95 points on 41% FG and 36% threes. Despite holding teams to 43.9% FG (4th in NBA) and 34.7% threes (7th in league), the Warriors still allowed 100.3 PPG overall (19th in NBA) and 107.5 PPG in the season series, so they were pleased to hold Denver to 97 points. Golden State committed the third-most turnovers in the league (14.8 TOPG), but was strong on the glass with a +2.3 RPG margin (8th in NBA). Both of these trends held true on Saturday when the team committed 17 turnovers but dominated the boards with a 55-45 rebounding edge. PF David Lee and C Andrew Bogut were the biggest reason their team fared so well on the boards in Game 1, pulling down 14 rebounds apiece. With Lee leading the NBA with 56 double-doubles in the regular season, eight more than any other player, his absence will surely be felt. Lee also crushed Denver during the regular season with 23.3 PPG (56% FG), 10.3 RPG, 5.0 APG and 2.3 steals per game. Bogut and PF Carl Landry will be asked to score more in the paint. Bogut netted just nine points on Saturday, but blocked four shots and posted a team-best +10 rating. Landry came off the bench to score 14 points with five rebounds in 24 minutes. PG Stephen Curry set an NBA record for most three-pointers made in a season (272), as he actually shot better from three-point range (45.3%) than from inside the arc (44.9%) this season. He couldn't make anything to start the game, going 0-for-9 from the floor, but heated up after that dry spell by finishing 7-of-11 FG including a game-tying three-pointer right before Andre Miller's heroics. Curry finished with 19 points, nine assists, four rebounds, five turnovers and a +8 rating. SG Klay Thompson had a huge finish to the regular season with three straight 20-point efforts, averaging 24.0 PPG on 48% shooting over that span. He kept that streak going in Game 1 with a team-high 22 points (10-for-19 FG). PG Jarrett Jack shot just 42% FG in the regular-season series with the Nuggets, and was also cold on Saturday, making just 3-of-12 shots (0-for-5 threes). But he still contributed a near triple-double with 10 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds in 33 minutes off the bench.

The Nuggets led the NBA in scoring with 106.1 PPG, as they attempted the second-most field goals in the league (85.2 FGA per game). But they also shot a stellar 47.8% FG (5th in NBA), despite a subpar 34.3% clip on three-pointers (25th in league) during the regular season. Denver failed to reach any of these marks in Game 1 though, scoring 97 points on 44.7% FG and 3-of-16 threes, while missing 10 free throws. Miller was the only Nuggets player with more than a dozen points, getting his playoff-career-high 28 points on 11-of-16 FG with five assists and just two turnovers. Miller had been in a major shooting slump over the final four games of the regular season, scoring just 6.3 PPG on 6-of-30 shooting. PG Ty Lawson didn't play very well in the playoff series opener with 12 points and four assists, well below his 16.7 PPG and 6.9 APG during the regular season. But two other starters also played very well in SF Wilson Chandler and SG Andre Iguodala. Chandler shot just 5-of-16 from the floor, but still finished with a double-double of 11 points and 13 rebounds. He has really stepped up his offense with SF Danilo Gallinari (torn ACL) sidelined, pouring in 20.0 PPG on 51% FG (43% threes) with 6.0 RPG in the final five regular-season games. Iguodala took just four shots, but wound up with eight points, 10 rebounds, five assists, three steals and a game-high +11 rating. This performance wasn't a big surprise considering he had a huge series versus Golden State in the regular season with 20.0 PPG, 6.3 RPG and 5.0 APG in the four meetings. PF Kenneth Faried hasn't played a full game since April 12 when he recorded a double-double (11 pts, 10 reb) in Dallas. The team thinks his ankle is healed enough for Tuesday, as Faried was a beast in the paint with 11.5 PPG, 11.3 RPG and 2.3 BPG against the Warriors this season.

  
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