Cleveland Cavaliers at Chicago Bulls- 7 ET
If the Bulls are to actually win a game, tonight’s going to be the night. Back at home in the United Center for Game 3, look for the Bulls to steal a game in the series. On the road in Cleveland, the Bulls had two impressive performances battling in each of the games. Behind the efforts of Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah, the Bulls will win one of their home court tonight, forcing at least a Game 5, which is a game too many in the Cavaliers minds.
Outside of LeBron James’s 40-point night, the difference maker in the outcome of Game 2 was surprisingly the play of Cavaliers bench player Jamario Moon. He contributed 12 points off the bench connecting on 4 of 5 from behind the line with a few them coming in the deciding moments of the game. If it weren’t for Moon stepping up, the Bulls would’ve had a very serious chance of an upset. Moon’s pair of dagger threes came when his man slacked off of him in an effort to get the ball out of LeBron James’s hands.
If Game 3 is anything similar to Game 2, the Bulls got this one. Both Rose and Noah really been impressive thus far, really showcasing their skills and future potential to the rest of the league right now.
Bulls- 101 Cavaliers- 97
Los Angeles Lakers at Oklahoma City Thunder- 9:30 ET
Tonight in Oklahoma City the NBA world will get it’s first glimpse of the Lakers playing from behind in the 2010 NBA Playoffs. The Thunder should come out strong and fully motivated after a disappointing loss in Los Angeles on Tuesday night. Having their fair amount chances to spilt the series heading back to OKC would’ve been huge for the young Thunder squad. It would’ve gave them life in a series that many thought wouldn’t go any further than five games. Game 3 is a life support game, a win tonight, and analysts may start to say “you never know”. But one man knows the series, the situation, and has seen it all before, that man is Kobe Bryant. Scoring 39 points and barely squeaking out a victory at home has to be a concern for the Lakers contending title hopes. My predicted first quarter Lakers slump, will be their wake up call, and behind the play of Kobe Bryant and Pau Gasol, I see the Lakers winning in a come from behind victory. The Thunder will fail to execute down the stretch displaying their lack of experience and the Lakers will take full advantage of it, staying under composure displaying just why you should be afraid of them taking home the title again this year.
Lakers- 97 Thunder- 94
Phoenix Suns at Portland Trail Blazers – 10:00 ET
It’s official; this series will ultimately become crowned “The Roller Coaster First Round Matchup” in the near future. In hindsight, both teams have already proven to be rollercoaster teams throughout the season. Oddly enough, the reasons behind each team’s definition of roller coaster team are completely different. For the Blazers, it’s been the constant struggle battling key injuries; for the Suns, it’s been the consistency and the “should I stay or should I go?” of Amare Stoudemire.
The Rose Garden will be rocking inside for tonight’s Game 3 matchup and the Blazers have a great opportunity to set the Suns up for a very desperate Game 4 on the road. If it wasn’t clear before, it should be now: The Suns have everything to lose, the Blazers have nothing to lose (but maybe just another injured player). With Nicoloas Batum probably out for Game 3, one of my favorite guys in the league is going to step up, Martell Webster. A crowd favorite in Portland, Webster’s play can really be the key difference in a Game 3 win for the Blazers, from the charges, to the blocked shots, and of course knocking down the big threes, Webster knows exactly what’s expected of him. I got the Blazers over the Suns in Game 3.
Blazers- 108 Suns- 104
NBA Playoffs Round 1 Poll Question