The NBA playoffs continue Saturday at 2 p.m. ET with four games equally spread throughout the day. The Nets-Celtics game begins at 7:30 p.m. ET and the Western Conference showdown between the Grizzlies and Timberwolves tips off at 10:00 p.m. ET. Let’s survey the night slate and pick the best bets for Saturday night.
Grizzlies -3 (-110)
The Raptors are done and the Timberwolves are done. Teams don’t overcome heartbreaking losses. The Raptors got embarrassed twice then had their hearts ripped out by a last second 3-pointer by Joel Embiid. It’s hard to top that, but the Timberwolves’ self destruction on Thursday was one for the ages. Karl-Anthony Towns said he was going to go drink some wine after the Timberwolves blew a 26-point lead. That’s probably the right answer, but that’s it — this series is over. The Timberwolves are dead. They know they’re dead. The Grizzlies know they’re dead.
Compare KAT’s postgame comments to Ja Morant’s interview. After growling at that reporter, Morant said, “Do you hear that growl? There are some dogs here! We don’t have Chihuahuas, we’ve become German Shepherds!”. That’s a serious dog and this is a serious team. He added, “I am as disrespectful as they are,” and, “There will probably be a lot of people drinking with the ‘L’ tonight.” He’s right, but it wasn’t just Minnesota fans. The Timberwolves were a dangerous team entering the playoffs and were a live dog sitting on a massive lead. Now, they’re a neutered dog drowning their sorrows in a bottle. They’re chihuahuas.
Morant is right. The Grizzlies are deep, and that’s why they covered more than any other team in the NBA this season (54-30-1). Wave after wave of solid players come off the bench. In wins, their opponents are suffocated. When trailing, they’re opponents can never put them away. Minnesota’s an up-tempo team with a good offense, but if that offense gets cold, then managing a lead can be difficult, as demonstrated in Game 3. The Grizzlies aren’t one style of team, unless being a great team is one style. They rank fourth in offensive efficiency and sixth in defensive efficiency. Also, they’re fourth in pace. This was a scary team before, but after Wednesday night’s seminal moment, the league should be horrified.
Nets -3 (-110)
The Nets could be up 2-0 in the series and returning home. Instead, they’re in an 0-2 hole and on their heels. However, unlike other teams that have suffered demoralizing losses, Brooklyn doesn’t seem out of it. Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving just seem to be angrier than ever, and they should be because their cold shooting is the reason for their predicament. Coming home with the series tied 1-1 would have been huge, but that’s not the case. The bad news is that a loss seals Brooklyn’s fate. The good news is that a Brooklyn win means this series is a long way from over.
Boston is well aware of the Nets’ status. A cornered dog is dangerous. Game 3 will be a street fight. At home, Boston stole two in less than perfect performances by the Nets. If Durant goes Super Saiyan, then they’re doomed. If Irving transforms as well, then they better start making plans for seven games. Kevin Durant was 0-for-10 from the field in the second half of Game 2. Kyrie was only slightly better (1-for-7). Both players have been near 50% shooters during their careers. An abysmal 25% shooting performance would have resulted in a win and the perception of this game would be completely different. Boston would be on its heels.
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