Raps Have Lost 7 Straight Playoff Games

Paul George DeMar DeRozan

With Game 2 of the Toronto Raptors-Indiana Pacers series set to get underway on Monday, one team will be looking for a much better effort while the other will be attempting to keep the train rolling. The No. 7 seeded Pacers, who took Game 1 by a score of 100-90, completely dominated the second seeded Raptors in nearly every facet of the game.

Shark Bites
  • The Raptors are 3-10 ATS in their last 13 games as a favorite of 7.0 or more.
  • The total has gone OVER in eight of the Pacers' last 10 games with a closing total of 193.0 or less.
  • The Raptors are 4-1 SU and 5-0 ATS in their last five games after an ATS loss.

A big reason for the Pacers’ triumph was the play of Paul George. Tasked with guarding Raps’ All-Star DeMar DeRozan, George embarrassed DeRozan to the tune of 33 points, six assists, four rebounds and four steals. DeRozan could not get anything going on the offensive end either, finishing five-for-19 from the field in his team’s underwhelming performance.

If Toronto is going to even up the series tonight, they’ll need a considerably better performance from their star players. Kyle Lowry also had an off game, going three-for-13 from the field and four-for-nine from the free throw line. It’s going to be interesting to see if Raptors head coach Dwane Casey will lift the minutes restriction of small forward DeMarre Carroll, who’s recovering from a knee injury. If he does, expect the Dinos’ defense to improve tenfold.

The Pacers have traditionally been solid in this spot. In their last nine, Indiana is 8-1 SU after winning as an underdog.

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Pistons Enjoying Success In Cleveland

Though it is easy to ride off the eighth seeded Detroit Pistons in their opening round series against the powerhouse Cleveland Cavaliers, their success at Quicken Loans Arena should not be overlooked. The Pistons have won in seven of their past nine trips to Cleveland, including both this season.

Detroit offers a difficult challenge for any team in the NBA to limit offensively, as their starting five all scored double-digit points a league leading 27 this season. The issue for the Pistons will be stopping LeBron James, but they have managed to contain the best player on the planet somewhat, allowing James to average 20.7 points in the three games they faced him.

Though the Cavs are not just a one-man unit, there is no denying LeBron’s ability to step up in the playoffs. James has averaged 28.2 points, 8.8 rebounds and 6.7 assists in his postseason career. In addition, a LeBron-led team has never lost a first round series in his entire career.

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The Heat are a Hot Bet at Home

The Miami Heat enter their first round series with Charlotte on a 6-0 SU and ATS roll at American Airlines Arena. They’re likely pleased with the way things shook out in Eastern Conference seeding as they’ve dominated the Hornets over the last few seasons, going 24-4 in the last 28 games between the teams.

The teams split their four games this season, with each covering in their SU wins. Those games saw an average total of 196.5, with only one of the games seeing both teams reach triple digits.

In their last meeting a month ago, Charlotte won by three points and are currently riding a trend that’s seen them go 6-1 SU in their last seven games after winning the previous game in a matchup. Kemba Walker filled the stat sheet when the teams last met, scoring 21 points with seven boards and seven assists.

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Clippers Winning and Covering At Home

The Los Angeles Clippers happily have themselves homecourt advantage in Round 1 after the Clip Show ended their season winning seven straight (5-2 ATS) games at the Staples Center. The Clippers will start their postseason by hosting the Portland Trail Blazers Sunday, a team they went 2-0 SU against at home this season.

The Clippers had people worried throughout March, but the team picked themselves up and won 10 of their final 12 games in the regular season. Those 12 games have seen the Clippers hold their opponents to just 87 points per game, which is more than 13 points fewer than their season average.

L.A.’s defense has a tough task in front of them in the explosive Blazers team. Portland has averaged 105.1 points per game this season, the sixth highest in the NBA. Damian Lillard has struggled to put up ridiculous numbers against the Clippers, as the point guard has averaged 18.0 ppg against L.A., his worst mark against any team he has faced at least four times this season.

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Spurs Swept Season Series vs Grizzlies

The San Antonio Spurs have made relatively easy work of the Memphis Grizzlies this season, with the Spurs going a perfect 4-0 SU (3-1 ATS) with an average scoring margin of +12.5-points in those contests. The two teams will renew acquaintances when they start their first round NBA Playoff series Sunday.

As is the Gregg Popovich way, very few of the Spurs traditional starters took to floor for more than two games against the Grizzlies this year. One of the key exceptions was LaMarcus Aldridge, who averaged 27 points and 11.3 rebounds with two double-doubles in three games against Memphis this season.

The Grizzlies did their best to completely implode to end the season by winning just one of their final 11 games. Those 11 games saw the Grizz allow a spectacular 106.8 points per game, more than five points higher than their season average.

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NBA Playoffs: Sleeper Picks

Nicolas Batum Kent Bazemore

The NBA has long been labeled as a league with minimal parity, and there’s definitely a case to support that argument. Dominant teams like the Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers and San Antonio Spurs have rightfully earned the distinction of dynasties over the last few decades, leaving hopeful contenders in the dust time and time again.

But while some out of the loop pundits will say the commissioner may as well hand the Golden State Warriors the Larry O’Brien Trophy before the playoffs even start, the 2016 postseason is shaping up to be much closer than most people think.


Raptors Dominant Versus First Round Foe

The Toronto Raptors have a huge chip on their shoulder rooted in playoff futility. They haven’t won a first round series in five consecutive playoff appearances and were swept by the Washington Wizards after winning a franchise record 49 games last season. Fast forward one year and the Raps enter Game 1 versus the Indiana Pacers off a new regular season win mark (56) and greater expectations than ever before.

The Raptors will be licking their chops knowing that they’ve got the Indiana Pacers in Round One. The Raps have gone 7-1 straight up in the previous eight meetings with the Pacers and have been even better and the betting window, posting a mark of 10-1 against the spread in the previous 11 contests.

In four meetings this season, the Raps went 3-1 both SU and ATS and won 111-98 in the last meeting north of the border on April 8.

The Pacers, led by the great Paul George, finished the regular season 45-37. They closed the season with a three-game winning streak and went 7-3 SU (6-4 ATS) in their final 10 games.

The Raps were scorching at the Air Canada Centre all season long, posting a record of 32-9 SU on the season and went 21-3 in their final 24 games north of the border.

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Maybe Don’t Expect A Miracle From HOU

The Golden State Warriors collective more NBA records than I am able to list here this season and have been one of the greatest regular season teams in the history of basketball. It makes sense then that the Warriors are massive favorites in their opening round series against the Houston Rockets, which tips off Saturday.

Golden State has won 12 of the past 13 contests against Houston, including all three matchups between the team clubs this season. The three games this year have seen the Warriors win by 20, 4 and 13 points respectively. 

The Warriors have been fantastic, but that greatness has made them an inconsistent bet recently. Golden State is just 2-6 ATS in their past eight games when tabbed as double-digits favorites, despite going 6-2 SU in those outings.

James Harden has been cooking throughout the month of April, with the high volume shooter averaging 34.8 points per game since the start of the calendar month.

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OKC beating Mavs SU, but not ATS

The Thunder will hope to continue a trend that’s seen them win 10 of their last 12 home games over the Mavericks when they host the team to open their first round playoff series. The SU wins haven’t converted to covering spreads, however, as the Mavs are 12-4 ATS in their last 16 games in OKC.

The Thunder swept the season series with Dallas, scoring an average of 112.5 points in the four games, and winning each game by an average of 9.5 points. It shouldn’t come as a shock to hear that three of the four games went OVER, while the teams have gone OVER in seven of their last nine games against each other. This game opened with a total of 208.5, which might be on the low end considering the average total in the four games between the teams this season was 215.5.

Both teams finished the regular season on a bit of an ATS roll, with OKC covering in four of their last five and the Mavs covering in five of their last seven. The Thunder opened as 12-point favorites and will likely close as a double-digit favorite — a spot they went 11-15 ATS in this season.

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ATL-BOS Series Could Be Must-See TV

In what could prove to be one of the most entertaining series in the opening round of the NBA Playoffs, the Atlanta Hawks and Boston Celtics get things underway at Philips Arena in Georgia Saturday evening. Both teams finished with 48-34 records but the Hawks proved to be a tough opponent for the C’s during the regular season.

These two teams enter the series off of opposite expectations and results during the regular season. Many felt the Celtics were on the way to becoming a playoff team but surprised playing and an offensive brand of basketball that few could contain.

The Hawks were coming off a 60-win season in 2014-15 but failed to impress during the early stages of the campaign. It wasn’t really until after the All-Star break where the Hawks really started to click, playing incredible defense and resembling the team that looked like the “Spurs of the East” last season.

The two Eastern Conference opponents squared off four times during the regular season and after the Celtics won 106-93 in the first meeting on November 13, it was all Hawks in the next three contests. The Hawks went 3-0 straight up and against the spread and the OVER cashed in the final three meetings as the Hawks put up huge scoring numbers in those games averaging 116 points per game and winning the three by an average of 14.3 points per game and averaged.

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