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Fact or Fiction
The postseason has begun, and most of the series are three games into their NBA betting action. It's the perfect time to look at another edition of Fact or Fiction, as we separate the contenders from the pretenders from a betting standpoint.
 
FACT
 
The Pacers are done: It's a common thought right now that Indiana has had it, and after that G3 performance, I’m starting to believe that’s exactly the case. Over the course of the last 20 games of the regular season, this was a very ordinary team in spite of the fact that it did do enough to win the top seed in the East, but these two losses in three games to the Hawks are bad news. Even if the Pacers do find a way to win this series in six or seven games, you still have to think that they stand no chance as the competition gets harder in the Eastern Conference.
 
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Indiana's best option at center is David West:
More on the Pacers… At the end of Game 3, Head Coach Frank Vogel decided to put C Roy Hibbert on the bench and go with a few different options at center. Perhaps the best way to deal with an undersized Atlanta team is to go with a small lineup, which includes putting West at center for long stretches of time. Hibbert shouldn't sniff the court with the way that he is playing, and if Vogel doesn't realize that, he will soon have his team out of the playoffs, and likely be out of a job.
 
The Mavericks are the scariest team in the West: There's something about the look of this Dallas team right now that has us intrigued. The Mavs darn well should be up 2-0 going back home against the Spurs, the team with the best record in the NBA in the regular season, and they have done so with F Dirk Nowitzki scoring a total of 27 points in two games. Dallas’ defense has been much better in the last four weeks, and if that trend continues, not only could San Antonio get knocked out here, but so too could several others out West.
 
FICTION
 
The Heat are the best bet in the East: To win the Eastern Conference, we aren't going to make the argument against Miami. Simply put, this team is going to the NBA Finals. However, we really question whether the Heat are a good bet to make on a nightly basis or not. They have failed to cover each of their first two games in this series against a gritty Charlotte team, and we wouldn't be shocked if the Bobcats do find a way to pull out a win somewhere along the way in this series as well. The oddsmakers are just loading too many points onto the backs of Miami's foes, and it is going to cost bettors in the second season.
 
The Rockets are finished: We refuse to believe that Houston is done yet. The Rockets haven't figured out how to defend against LaMarcus Aldridge, but the Blazers haven't figured out how to defend against Dwight Howard. The difference between winning and losing games in this series for Houston is a shot by James Harden. If you think that Harden is going to shoot 28 percent from the field in this series, you're crazy. Houston is far from done.
 
The Wizards have figured out how to run with the Bulls: We aren't all that sure that we buy this concept either. The Wizards have been a heck of a lot better than we thought they were going to be in this opening round series, but there are still two games to win out of five, and that isn't the easiest thing in the world to do against the grittiest team in the NBA. Chicago isn't finished until it has four losses in seven games on the stat sheet. We aren't writing this team off either. Head Coach Tom Thibodeau is too good of a coach to let this opening round series be a total bust.

  
HEADLINES
Lawrence: Playoff Zig-Zag Theory
ASA: Handicapping the Playoffs
News: First Round Series Odds
Lawrence: First Round Playoff Trends
Jazz beat Clippers 105-98 to even series
Celtics beat Bulls 104-95 to tie series
Rockets edge OKC for 3-1 series lead
James helps Cavs sweep Pacers with late 3
Bulls' Rondo fined $25K for Crowder trip
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