All eight Game 1’s in the first round of the NBA playoffs are in the books, and they provided some terrific action.
Both No. 1 seeds in the Milwaukee Bucks and the Los Angeles Lakers suffered shock upsets at the hands of the Orlando Magic and Portland Trail Blazers. The top seeds must now regroup and look to even their respective series up in Game 2.
The other three series in the West were highly contested, while at least one series in the East figures to be close after an unfortunate injury.
SBOBET takes a closer look at all the upcoming Game 2 matchups and how they might all play out.
Brooklyn Nets vs Toronto Raptors
The Nets were one of the feel-good stories of the bubble as they remained surprisingly competitive despite missing so many players.
But Brooklyn were given a big dose of reality by the Raptors, who completely smoked them in Game 1, 134-110. Toronto bombed 22 3-pointers on Brooklyn, with eight alone coming from Fred VanVleet.
The scary part for Brooklyn was that Raptors All-Stars Pascal Siakam and Kyle Lowry didn’t even play all that well (7-27 FG combined). There’s surely more to come from those two in Game 2, which is bad news for the Nets.
Betting Tip: Toronto Raptors Asian Handicap -10.50 @ 1.82
Utah Jazz vs Denver Nuggets
The undermanned Jazz fell just short in Game 1 in overtime against the Nuggets despite Donovan Mitchell’s historic 57-point performance. Mitchell unfortunately committed a key turnover late in the fourth quarter, which helped the Nuggets force overtime.
As good as Mitchell is, it seems highly unlikely he can come up with another performance of that level, and the Jazz don’t have the firepower to make up for it.
On the other hand, the Nuggets do have the offensive weapons to continue scoring at a high level. Moreover, they should also improve on defence in Game 2, because they can’t play any worse than they did in Game 1.
Betting Tip: Denver Nuggets Asian Handicap -3.50 @ 1.81
Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics
The Celtics looked like the clearly superior team in their 109-101 Game 1 win against the 76ers. Despite Joel Embiid’s best efforts, the Sixers clearly missed Ben Simmons, particularly on defence.
Philadelphia simply could not stop the Celtics’ dynamic duo of Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, who combined for 61 points.
However, the big NBA 2020 news is that Gordon Hayward will miss the next four weeks — and the rest of the series — after spraining his ankle. Hayward’s injury will be a big miss for Boston and will give the Sixers a much better shot at stealing Game 2.
Betting Tip: Philadelphia 76ers Asian Handicap +5.00 @ 1.90
Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Clippers
The Mavericks will be encouraged by their Game 1 performance against the Clippers even though they lost 118-110.
Luka Doncic was simply spectacular as he had 42 points, the highest-scoring playoff debut in NBA history. He made the Mavs much more competitive than anyone expected, especially after Kristaps Porzingis got ejected midway through the third quarter.
The Mavs should be better with Porzingis playing the whole game, but the Clippers could also still raise their level of play. Key big man Montrezl Harrell just returned from his long absence, and the Clippers should adjust to having him back.
Betting Tip: LA Clippers Asian Handicap -5.50 @ 1.80
Orlando Magic vs Milwaukee Bucks
The Magic pulled off by far the biggest upset of the Game 1’s as they shocked the No. 1-seeded Bucks, 122-110. Nikola Vucevic was excellent as he had 35 to lead the Magic, who have been hit hard by injuries in the bubble.
The Bucks were unconvincing during the seeding games, and their top-ranked defence was once again underwhelming. Meanwhile, Giannis Antetokounmpo (31 points, 17 rebounds) didn’t get enough help from Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe, who combined for just 29 points.
It’s not time to panic just yet for the Bucks, though. Last season, Orlando also upset the Raptors in Game 1, and Toronto went on to win the next four games en route to the NBA championship.
It’s hard to imagine Antetokounmpo allowing the Bucks to fall down 0-2, but the Magic have shown they can hang with Milwaukee and can at least keep things close.
Betting Tip: Orlando Magic Asian Handicap +12.00 @ 2.05
Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers
Jimmy Butler is the best player in this series, and he showed it by carrying the heat to a 113-101 win over the Pacers in Game 1.
Not only did Butler score a game-high 28 points, but he also played tremendous defence as he collected four steals and two blocks.
Meanwhile, the injury-hit Pacers suffered another blow as All-Star Victor Oladipo left the game early with an eye injury and did not return.
The NBA 2020 odds were already stacked against the Pacers in this series, and Oladipo’s absence would make it even tougher for them to score against this tough Heat defence.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs Houston Rockets
No Russell Westbrook? No problem for Houston as they blew out the Thunder by 15 points in Game 1. James Harden had a terrific game with 37 points, while veterans Jeff Green and Eric Gordon added 22 and 21 points, respectively.
Thunder sixth man Dennis Schroder wasn’t at his best in his second game back after he left the bubble due to the birth of his child. He finished with just six points on 3-of-12 shooting.
The Rockets will not change what they do; they will try to outscore OKC. But unless Schroder returns to form, it will be hard for OKC to muster enough offence.
Betting Tip: Houston Rockets Asian Handicap -2.50 @ 2.05
Portland Trail Blazers vs Los Angeles Lakers
The Blazers are living up to their status as playoff dark horses as they stunned the top-seeded Lakers, 100-93. Damian Lillard, the undisputed MVP of the bubble, was brilliant once again as he led Portland with 34 points and six 3-pointers.
LeBron James had a huge triple-double of 23 points, 17 rebounds, and 15 assists, while Anthony Davis added 28 and 11, but they didn’t get much help elsewhere.
Lillard and the Blazers have been playing playoff-level games for a few weeks now, and they looked sharper than the Lakers.
The Lakers should come out with more urgency in Game 2, but the Blazers have managed to keep every game in the bubble close, so expect another tight affair.
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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