Tuesday’s NBA Playoffs Primer

Tuesday’s NBA Playoffs Primer

Indiana at Milwaukee -1.5; Total 220.5.

Time maybe for Rick Carlisle to give a call to Doctor Phil as the Pacers continue to ride a real emotional rollercoaster, exhibiting bipolar tendencies befitting of psychological help. The Dr Jekyll-Mr. Hyde act was definitely one of the latter on Sunday in Game 1 at Milwaukee, as the Pacers hardly looked ready to play in an eventual 109-94 loss.  The good-bad has been an unfortunate pattern for Carlisle’s team, but the upside has been the Pacers can be very good when all of the cylinders are firing, as they were most of the season against the Bucks when winning four of five meetings.

On Sunday, however, anyone not named Pasal Siakam didn’t help much; Siakam’s 36 points represented more than one-third of the Indiana scoring, with no one else contributing more than 12 points.  The 94 points also marked a season-low for a Pacers team that scored 99 or more in every game during the regular season.

There are more reasons not to expect a repeat of the Sunday effort, especially on the Bucks side with Dame Lillard, who will be hard-pressed to top his 35-point first half in Game One (Indy did a much better job denying Lillard in the second half on Sunday when Dame was scoreless as he missed his five shots).

The status of Giannis with his strained calf is also very much up in the air, though worth noting that Indiana fared quite well when the Greek Freak was on the floor this season.  The time-tested NBA zig-zag reared its head last night with spread covers in two of three chances, and the situation looks right for a Pacers bounce-back in Game Two.  PLAY PACERS

 

Dallas -2 at LA Clippers; Total 215.5.

Though home teams had yet to lose outright in NBA Playoff action thru 11 games into tonight, the old zig-zag theory did rear its head on Monday, as two of the three losing teams from the weekend proved good value in spread covers on the road (though we’re still wondering how the Sixers and Lakers both conspired to lose games they led almost the entire way).

The Mavs look as good of a zig-zag candidate as any in Game Two after their uncommonly bad performance on Sunday, when they scored only 8 points in the second quarter en route to a 56-30 halftime deficit.  Even as the offense kicked into gear in the second half and scored 67 points, the damage had been done in the first 30 minutes.  Keys to recovery in Game 2 will be someone else joining in the scoring aside from Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic, who combined for 64 of the 97 Dallas points.

Meanwhile we saw this from the Clippers last season, winning Game 1 of the first round at Phoenix before losing the rest of the way minus Kawhi Leonard.  Kawhi’s status for Game 2 is similarly up in the air after missing Sunday with lingering knee soreness, and judging from Kawhi’s recent past would be surprised if he suits up on Tuesday, especially with the Clippers holding a series edge.

Ty Lue’s pick-and-roll game featuring Ivica Zubac and James Harden (who combined for 38 points) also worked like a charm on Sunday until Dallas figured out a way to slow down LA’s tactics in the second half.  Though this spring’s playoffs have been definitely home-oriented thus far, extended trends suggest stung teams like the Mavs often can be expected to bounce back strongly in the next game.  PLAY MAVS