Bobcats v. Magic
I got a little lucky in the first game. I was willing to take 8 points with the Bobcats, but the line was +9.5, giving me the half point win. Or did I get lucky? I certainly wasn’t planning on the sight of Stephen Jackson writhing on the floor in pain in the first half, with a hyper-extended knee.
Jackson being Jackson, he of course picked himself up and came back to help his team cut a 20 point deficit to 5 points in the fourth quarter, before the Bobcats finally succumbed. Did you see Vince Carter’s line? 12 points on 4-19 shooting, before fouling out?
That is Stephen Jackson.
The line in this game is +9. If Jackson were healthy, I would consider this a no-brainer. Jackson has this team believing they can win, and as the first game showed, they are laying it all on the line. If the Bobcats had one more shooter, Michael Pietrus say, I think they would clearly be a better team than Orlando. But they don’t, and Stephen Jackson is beat to crap. So this line is more problematic than it otherwise would be.
I’m going to take my game 1 profits and bet it anyway. Out of respect.
Mavs v. Spurs
I am convinced that the Mavs have a good chance to beat the Lakers, should they meet. That has a lot to do with my opinion of Phil Jackson, which is not very high. But I am not yet convinced that the Mavs can beat the Spurs. That has a lot to do with my opinion of Greg Popovich, which is as high as it gets.
In the first game, Pop watched what the Spurs could do single-guarding Nowitzki. That was the end of that. In this game, Pop will make his first playoff adjustment, by double-teaming Nowitzki. But who will he guard him with? Will he take a page out of his mentor Don Nelson’s playbook, and harass him with smalls? Jefferson or Bogans, perhaps? That would allow Duncan to stay in the paint to guard the rim. Will the Spurs play small?
Unfortunately, the Spurs lost George Hill in game 1 to an aggravation of his sprained ankle. Tony Parker is rusty in the extreme after his long layoff. If Hill can’t go, or is limited, Pop’s flexibility in this series will be severely hampered.
A note on DeJuan Blair: Still think the Spurs got a steal? There’s a reason that Blair dropped so low, that has nothing to do with his knees. He’s not a power forward, he’s a center. A 6-7″ center, who can’t run. Haywood abused him inside. And he also ran him off the court. Most memorably on a play where Blair scored, and after the made basket, Haywood beat him downcourt for an uncontested slam. Pop yanked Blair immediately. I don’t expect to see much more of him in this series.
Dallas -3.5. No bet.