Tonight the 2011 NBA Playoffs will showcase two of the most talked about NBA playoff series in recent memory. The first series between the Miami Heat and the Boston Celtics was the most anticipated NBA Playoff series since the Lakers faced the Celtics in 2008. And the second series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies that will be showcased tonight features two of the up and coming teams in the NBA and arguably, the most exciting NBA playoff series we’ve seen in the last decade.
For NBA bettors, tonight’s NBA playoffs double header is betting heaven. Ever since “The Decision”, the Miami Heat were favoured by bookmakers to win the championship and though during the season it looked like they were far from being a contender, the team has gelled during these playoffs. The Miami Heat are now the team ‘Heat Haters’ and LeBron skeptics prayed they would never become. With their win in Game 4, the Heat are an impressive 22-5 SU (16-11 ATS) in their last 27 games since a five-game losing skid in early March.
Up 3-1 on the Boston Celtics, the Heat are poised at 7 point favourites to knock off the Celtics at home in Game 5 tonight. And they will be doing it exactly how they said they would be doing it, with three guys. In Game 4, Miami’s big three combined for 83 of the team’s 98 points and assisted or scored their last 60. So if there was ever any doubt of whether three players could beat a team of five, tonight may be the night where LeBron James, D. Wade and Bosh answer that question with a resounding ‘yes’. The irony is that it was the Celtics that turned the same trick three years ago.
The incredible job Erik Spoelstra has done with this Heat team managing the egos and the media circus that surrounded the team can’t be understated. If the Heat get past the Celtics and Doc Rivers, it’s unlikely Spoelstra’s ability to lead this team to a championship will be questioned ever again.
As for the series between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies, I could watch these two young teams battle each other for another seven games. Both teams are young, athletic and go one hundred miles per hour the whole time. Game 4 was one of the longest and most exciting games in NBA Playoff history, lasting three overtimes before the Thunder finally won it to tie the series at 2-2.
Though the Thunder are 6.5 point favourites to win game 5, there’s no pattern to this series, there’s no clear favourites. Each team has proven they can win on the road, what we are seeing are two evenly matched teams going head-to-head which makes betting on this series so exciting.
The Memphis Grizzlies are also showing the rest of the NBA what can happen when a team has two legitimate and traditional big men who can rebound and score in the post. It used to be that the NBA team with best front court usually won, Memphis is proving that old adage to be correct after already knocking off the Spurs. Z-BO and Marc Gasol have been exceptional in the playoffs thus far.
The Lakers must be thinking they took the wrong Gasol.
If there’s one thing that separates the Thunder from the Grizzlies, it’s Kevin Durant, the best player on the floor. The only problem for the Thunder is that their point guard Russell Westbrook might beg to differ.