After the opening two games of the Conference semi-finals, all four ties are deadlocked at 1-1. But with the lower seed in the NBA Playoffs now getting home advantage for the next two clashes, are we about to witness a flurry of shocks?
The Golden State Warriors have already beaten the odds in this post-season by ousting Denver and they’ve certainly signalled their intent to do likewise to the San Antonio Spurs. After losing Game 1 in double overtime, the Warriors were 100-91 winners on Wednesday with Klay Thompson stepping up for 34 points and 14 rebounds.
Significantly, Golden State have controlled both games, and out-rebounded and out-shot San Antonio. The Spurs, who have lost on their previous two visits to Oakland this season, now need to step up defensively and find a way to limit the Warriors backcourt.
It wasn’t supposed to be this way. San Antonio’s system is a strength but it’s also looked a little one-dimensional at times. However, if they can adjust we should see scoring over the line of 204. The hosts are favoured on the handicap at -2.5, available at 1.91. But it’s too soon to write off the Western Conference favourites, who are 2.22 to steal one back.
With their injury list, no-one expected the Chicago Bulls to suffer anything other than a pummelling in their series with the Miami Heat. Having stunned the champions in Game 1, there was an almost inevitability about the backlash next time out as Miami dished out a 115-75 drubbing.
Luol Deng and Kirk Hinrich will again sit out when the Bulls host Game 3 on Friday with the Heat at -7 on the handicap at 1.91. There’s a sense Chicago – who are 3.45 for the win - have given their best shot. Back the Heat to come out ahead and keep the game under the points line of 187 at 1.91.
The Euroleague Final Four starts tonight with CSKA Moscow –7.5 on the handicap to beat Olympiacos in the first semi-final and FC Barcelona 2.45 underdogs against Real Madrid. The Russians should prevail but Olympiacos, as reigning champions, are worth a punt to keep it close. But take Real on the handicap of –3.5 at 1.91 to make Sunday’s final.
Best bet: Take San Antonio to beat Golden State at 2.22