NBA fans have been treated with some of the best second-round playoff series in the league’s history, as the Warriors and Rockets have been battling it out in a Western Conference Finals rematch of epic proportions. And then in the East, the Celtics — who were two quarters away from reaching the NBA Finals last season — are squaring off against likely-MVP-Award-winner Giannis Antetokounmpo, and a Bucks team that hasn’t even been out of the first round in what seems like forever.
The storylines have not disappointed, and we hope that the Game 2s on Tuesday night won’t, either. Here are our picks for the big games.
The biggest difference in Boston’s Game 1 win was that the Celtics were able to create open looks, while the Bucks settled for contested jumpers. As a result, Boston jumped out to an early lead, while there was no point in the game that looked as if Milwaukee was going to come back to win.
And sure, the Bucks may have one of the three best players in the NBA — and possibly the best in the Eastern Conference — in Giannis Antetokounmpo. But the Celtics have experience, veteran leadership — and, most importantly, they have a closer in Kyrie Irving. Eight points is simply far too many for this Celtics team to be catching.
It’s hard to pass up betting on the defending champion Warriors at Oracle Arena laying anything less than seven points in general, so we’re happy to do it here, especially with the team preparing to relocate to Chase Center next season. The number of games left to be played at Oracle Arena are dwindling, and it’s clear the Warriors are looking to send their fans out in style.
Golden State squeaked out a victory in Game 1, despite Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson having off nights — combining to shoot 10-of-25 from the field. Kevin Durant, on the other hand, showed why he’s the best player in the playoffs, dropping 35 points on 11-of-25 shooting.
The Rockets had their chance to steal one of the first two road games this series, with the Warriors having less rest, but they missed their opportunity in Game 1. Golden State will show why its defending champions with a huge statement win on Tuesday.