CLEVELAND LEBRONERS (+5) @ WASHINGTON WIZ
Just like the Spurs, the Cavs coasted through the regular season and had the experts convinced the team wouldn’t come close to matching last year’s success. As most playoff contenders attempted to position themselves for a perfect seed, the Cavs spent the end of the regular season mixing & matching their new pieces and making sure everyone was healthy. While I’ve been critical of Coach Mike Brown in the past, I loved how he keep his cool during their late-season struggles and have to say the insertion of Wally Szczerbiak into the starting line-up for the playoffs was ingenious. Wally struggled early in his arrival as he tried too hard to make the King happy and seemed tentative after missing a few shots early. But as true ballhog myself, I know it’s impossible to change yourself into a role-player when you know the net needs a swishin’. After averaging just over 16 minutes a game the last month of the season, the powers that be finally realized Wally’s ability to catch fire and space the floor was magnified with increased minutes. While the pretty-boy struggled with his shot in Game One, he finally found a rhythm in Game Two knocking down 6 of 9 shots and tallying 15 points…and as the playoffs continue, I expect his production to increase. In addition, while Big Ben was a malcontent douche-bag in the Windy City...
In addition, while Big Ben was a malcontent douche-bag in the Windy City, playing with a superstar like James and finally being penciled-in his natural position (PF) has brought back some of the traits that made him a world-champ. Especially with 4-big bodies to keep things fresh (Big Z, Big Ben, Joe Smith, & Side-Show Bob), the Cavs plus 15 rebound advantage in Game Two was the biggest reason the Wiz were blown out. And speaking of the Wiz, with Butler injured the last month of the season, Jamison playing way too many minutes during the regular season, and the daunting task of throwing the shot-happy Agent Zero into the mix, I can’t see how this squad finds a chemistry fasted enough to make this a series. Especially down low where Brendan Haywood is really their only workhorse on the boards, the Wiz aren’t getting 2nd chance opportunities and have no means to protect the basket when Mr. James comes flying in. If Washington makes a few shots from deep and shows desperation in their intensity this one could be close, but in the end…I don’t know how they stop the most amazing athlete on the planet…Cavs by 2-6 points
CLEVELAND LEBRONERS (teased +9) @ WASHINGTON WIZ
Did I mention I like the Cavs to win straight-up tonight? If I like that, what do you think about taking King James and 9 points tonight?...Cavs by 2-6 points
HOUSTON ROCKETS @ UTAH JAZZ (teased -5)
T-Mac is already complaining about how tired his legs are and what a huge burden it was for him once Yao went down. While I don’t doubt the truth behind his claim, my guess is that’s not the answer you want to hear coming from your superstar. With the Jazz looking stronger and deeper with each game, not to mention demoralizing the Rockets at home, I can’t see how Ricky “Bring back the Porn-Stache” Adelman has the weapons in his arsenal to keep pace in one of the toughest places to play in the Association. Especially at the point where the undersized Bobby “No-D” J and a banged up Skip-to-my-Lou will be tangling with the RB known as D-Will, I expect the Jazz to get their pick-n-roll swerve rolling early tonight. This one should be a double-digit victory, but just incase the Rockets bench throws in some 3s late, no reason not to tease it with King James and his 9 points…Jazz by 10-14 points