After Luka was held in check by the Warriors, can the Mavericks bounce back in Game 2? And will the Celtics take control as their series with the Heat heads back to Boston?
We’re dishing all the betting angles and latest updates for the NBA’s Eastern and Western Conference Finals, as well as an exciting NHL playoffs matchup between the Rangers and Hurricanes.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Golden State Warriors
Friday, May 20 | TV: TNT
No one has been able to crack the Warriors’ armor at home in these playoffs. That includes the Mavericks, who fell 112-87 in Game 1, while Golden State extended their postseason home record to 7-0. The Warriors continue to shoot the ball much better at home, with a 56% to 36% advantage over the Mavs in the first game of this series. Luka Doncic and Jalen Brunson combined to shoot 12-for-34 from the field (and 3-of-15 from beyond the arc), but none of their teammates fared much better, as the Warriors smothered Luka and the Mavs’ perimeter shooters with a variety of different looks on defense.
Following his rough Game 1, which included 7 turnovers, you have to imagine Cool Hand Luka steps it up for Game 2. There was a report from NBA announcer Kevin Harlan that Luka was feeling under the weather Wednesday night, so it’s possible that was a contributing factor to his lack of energy. The Mavs will need to shoot much better from three-point range, as their squad thrives on Luka’s ability to get into the paint and find the outside shooters. It also wouldn’t be a surprise if Dallas tries to create through Brunson more. The Warriors have more depth with their secondary scoring options, besting the Mavs in Game 1 with seven different players in double figures, but we could see Steph Curry and Klay Thompson get cooking after relatively quiet performances.
Miami Heat vs. Boston Celtics
Saturday, May 21 | TV: ABC
What a difference a game makes. Many were calling for the Heat to win this series convincingly after their Game 1 victory, but the Celtics dominated Game 2 with starters Marcus Smart and Al Horford back in the fold. Boston decided to go with a big frontcourt, playing Horford alongside Robert Williams, and moved Grant Williams back to the bench. That move paid dividends on the defensive end, as the big men combined for four blocks and two steals. Smart, however, was the real hero, nearly tallying a triple-double (24 points, 12 assists, nine rebounds) and posting a +31 when he was on the court. Miami’s offense was outmatched from the jump, and now Heat coach Erik Spoelstra will have to find a better game plan with this series tied up 1-1 heading into Boston.
Heat point guard Kyle Lowry continues to miss time in the playoffs with a left hamstring strain. He’s only gone through light shooting in practice, but the Heat badly need his veteran presence on both ends of the court. Without Lowry, the Heat have turned to backup point guard Gabe Vincent, who has shot the ball well from three-point range, but he leaves much to be desired from a playmaking ability. Jimmy Butler followed up his 41 points in Game 1 with a 29-point showing in Game 2. If Lowry can’t return, Butler might be asked to take on more of a shot creator role. He’ll need much more from his teammates, though, especially Bam Adebayo and Max Strus, who have been quiet through the first two games.
New York Rangers vs. Carolina Hurricanes
Friday, May 20 | TV: ESPN
For two 1/2 periods, it looked like the Rangers could pull off a road upset, but the Hurricanes rallied late and came away with the Game 1 win in overtime. The Rangers got some high-energy contributions from their young line of Alexis Lafreniere, Kaapo Kakko and Filip Chytil, but their top two lines only combined for 11 shots on goal. The Hurricanes, on the other hand, have received shining play from their defensemen like Jaccob Slavin, Tony DeAngelo and Ian Cole in the postseason. The Blueshirts will have to do much better at creating scoring opportunities in Game 2, as they can’t expect that Carolina will be limited to just one goal in regulation again.
During their head-to-head matchups with the Rangers in the regular season, the Hurricanes scored at least four goals in all but one game (a lone 2-0 defeat to the Rangers). In spite of the low-scoring Game 1, the Hurricanes will likely ride the offensive momentum back at home. The Rangers have proven to be resilient, but they’re still up against the ninth-best scoring unit in the league. The Hurricanes have averaged 3.6 goals in their last 10 games. Carolina center Sebastian Aho has been on a hot streak, with four goals and four assists over his last 10.