NBA Playoff Update and ATS Picks for Wednesday May 2nd
Are the Miami Heat the Team to Beat for NBA Championship?
The NBA playoffs have taken a turn for the worse if you are a fan of every other team but the Miami Heat. That’s because the Heat certainly look like the team to beat, not only in the Eastern Conference, but in the entire league as they chase their second LArry O’Brien Trophy. In fact, Miami is the only team in the East that has a 2-0 series lead heading into Wednesday’s action.
The top-seeded Chicago Bulls were humbled on Tuesday in a 109-92 home loss in Game 2 of their first-round series with the eighth-seeded Philadelphia 76ers. The presence of reigning MVP Derrick Rose before the Game was not enough to inspire the Bulls for two halves of play. Chicago was outscored 62-37 in the second half and seemed to forget how to play defense after leading the NBA during the regular season by allowing just 88.2 points per Game on just 42 percent shooting from the field. The 76ers connected on 59 percent of their shots to even the series at 1-1 and show the rest of the league just how important Rose was to the Bulls.
The Fourth-seeded Boston Celtics were able to overcome the one-Game suspension to point guard Rajon Rondo to beat the fifth-seeded Atlanta Hawks 87-80 on Tuesday to even that series as well. Rondo was suspended for bumping a referee in Boston’s 83-74 loss in Game 1 on Sunday and is expected to return for Game 3 on Friday. Injuries continue to pile up in the postseason, with Atlanta’s Josh Smith suffering a sprained left knee. Smith is the latest casualty, but no other team has been more affected by injuries than the eighth-seeded New York Knicks.
The Knicks likely lost power forward Amare Stoudemire for the rest of the playoffs after he punched a glass case containing a fire extinguisher following Monday’s 104-94 loss to the Heat in Game 2 of their series. Stoudemire cut his hand and underwent surgery on Tuesday, becoming the second New York player in as many Games to go down after point guard Iman Shumpert tore the ACL in his left knee in Game 1. Miami figured to win the series anyway but should now be able to sweep the Knicks and at least send them to their 13th straight playoff loss in Game 3 on Thursday, which would set a new league record.
The Western Conference appears to have a bit more intrigue, although the real drama probably will not take place until the second round. The higher seeds in the West are 5-1 so far heading into Wednesday’s matchups that include the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs hosting the eighth-seeded Utah Jazz and the fifth-seeded Los Angeles Clippers visiting the Fourth-seeded Memphis Grizzlies. The Spurs (-11.5) and Clippers (+6.5) are both looking for 2-0 series leads.
Our ATS Picks for Wednesday :