NBA Playoffs Weekend Preview
After a two-day break the NBA playoffs are back this weekend as the Orlando Magic and Phoenix Suns both try to dig their way out of 0-2 holes in Game 3.
First up this weekend on Saturday is Game 3 between the Magic and Celtics in Boston.
Orlando began the series as the favorite after reeling off 14 straight wins, but the Celtics are in the driver’s seat after taking the first two games in Orlando. Boston was a 7-point underdog at Bovada in Game 2, but upset the Magic 95-92. Paul Pierce dropped in 28 points for Boston and Rajon Rondo picked the Magic apart with 25 points and eight assists.
The Magic wasted a big scoring night from Dwight Howard, as the Magic center scored a game-high 30 points to go with eight rebounds. Vince Carter had a forgettable night with 16 points on 5-of-15 shooting and he missed two free throws late in the fourth quarter that practically killed any chance at a Magic comeback victory.
Jameer Nelson also delivered a lame effort in the loss with nine points on 4-of-12 shooting. With the series heading to Boston for Game 3 the Celtics are a 3.5-point favorite. The Celtics are 5-1 both SU and ATS at home in the postseason so far, but the Magic shouldn’t be too scared about playing at TD Garden. The Magic have won their last three games in Boston (all as the underdog) and they’re 5-2 in their last seven.
The Western Conference Finals resume on Sunday with Game 3 between the Lakers and Suns in Phoenix. The Suns need the change of venue to give them a boost after the Lakers completely owned them in the first two games of the series.
Los Angeles rolled to a 124-112 win in Game 2 as a 7.5-point favorite. After scoring 40 points in Game 1, Kobe Bryant faced a double team through most of Game 2, but it didn’t faze him as he simply found the open man and finished with 21 points and 13 assists.
Pau Gasol was the main offensive force with 29 points and nine rebounds, and Lamar Odom had another big game off the bench with 17 points and 11 rebounds. The Lakers shot 58% in the win, equaling their sharp shooting from Game 1 when they also shot 58%. Los Angeles also shot 56% from three-point range in Game 2, and if they keep it up this series could be over pretty quickly.
Jason Richardson led the Suns with 27 points in Game 2 and Grant Hill netted 23 points. Amare Stoudemire lived to regret calling Odom’s Game 1 performance lucky, as he failed to outperform Odom in Game 2 with 18 points and six rebounds. Steve Nash also had a mediocre showing with 11 points and 15 assists.
The Suns are an early 2.5-point favorite in Game 3 as they look for their fifth win in a row at home. Phoenix has gone 4-1 SU at home so far in the postseason, and they’re also 4-1 ATS.