Home & Away

The masked Conley-led Grizzlies "seem" to have the upperhand with two straight home games after tying the series 1-1. However, it is not so farfetched to reckon that the Warriors can still steal one in Memphis. So, I don't have any urgency at all to pick from this series for Saturday.

I have Conley left to pick from the Grizzlies, and I have him planned for Game 4. However if they win Game 3, I'll pick one from Curry or Green from the Warriors for Monday (even hearing myself say this sounds like I am fooling myself).

As for the Wizards, I really cannot imagine them winning without the injured Wall against the Hawks. Between this and the other series for Saturday, this is where I have more certainty so I'll get my pick from the Wizards.

I already pre-picked Beal, but his 39% ownership for Saturday is just too hot for my liking. Gortat is cold at 6%. I know that at this point in the playoffs it's a very shallow reason to have a cold pick. And so like many of us trying to do an unorthodox decision, I searched for other reasons to do it...

Home and away records.

* Bradley Beal. Playoffs average PRAs: Away 33, Home 27

* Marcin Gortat. Playoffs average PRAs: Away 22, Home 39

I'm quite happy to pick Gortat at home, even if he gets high 20s PRA. Here is my pick plan...

Saturday: Gortat
Monday: Conley (if Griz loses G3)
Wednesday: Beal (if Wiz loses G3)

If you have news regarding whether Wall plays or not, feel free to blast the comments. If he plays, I'll change back to Beal for Saturday.

Everyone One-One

For those teams who lost Game 1 at home, winning Game 2 was the right way to balance the ship. That is why it is never a good thing to panic in DTTF just after one game.

LeBron James (headband version) and the Cavs showed in Game 2 that they can dominate the Bulls even without Kevin Love, J.R. Smith and Iman Shumpert (for part of the game). For me, that rightly corrects the ship. If it was a near-win and not a trashing, then I'd start worrying about the Cavs. Now they only need to steal Game 3 to control this series, or at least Game 4 to keep their chances high. If not, it's a Game 5 sudden mass-picking for The King.

The Rockets just barely took the win from the Clippers in Game 2. While the 4th quarter was a convincing win for the Rockets, it was not without the stains of the 2nd and 3rd quarters when it looked like they'd lose again against a CP3-less Clippers. This is still a series shrouded in mystery. Most of DTTF would want the Clippers to lose because we've lost their major player(s) from Round 1. If they advance, it will be disastrous for the Conference Finals and The Finals in terms of starting to pick from the winners earlier than planned.

And then there's the Wizards without John Wall. That's a big worry. If he continues to sit through games injured, the Hawks will take this series earlier than the expected 7 games.

Meanwhile, the return of Mike Conley has given life to the Grizzlies, especially to the PRA of his buddy Zach Randolph. Truly the absence/presence of a key player makes all the difference. They are still expected to lose this series, but heck they will not go down without striking a nerve down the Warriors' spine.

Tentative picks for Game 3:
Friday: Jimmy Butler, vs D-less JR Smith
Saturday: Bradley Beal, while Wall is out

You may change my mind.

Road Wins Galore

Grizzlies won? Another road win? Sure why not? Every series now is in flux. Loving that the playoffs are getting more interesting, and the NBA's slogan of "most unpredictable playoffs" in history is coming true.

The Rockets lost Game 1 to a Paul-less Clippers. I can understand that people sees that as strong sign that the Clips have this. However, Rockets just need to stop one Blake Griffin to control this series. Of course, when Paul comes back, Rockets will have more to handle. I honestly do not know how this will go. I'm staying away from this series until a team wins two.

As for the Cavs, they are still favored by the media to win this series. There are two changes in Game 2 that bodes that. First, LeBron said he'll do less of feeling and more of attacking. Second, Tristan replaces Miller on starting lineup, which gives Cavs a better chance on the defensive end. We'll see.

I am making a gamble (doesn't everybody lately?) ; I am picking Pau Gasol.

If Cavs and Rockets lose Game 2, get ready to slap your forehead.

Four Game 1s, Three Upsets

Title says it all. It seems this round of the playoffs will make us play on our toes. This will cause a lot of fragmentation among us 'drivers', which I think is healthy for DTTF. Everything depends now on how each one of us make our picks. Luck will factor-in more now. Choose wrongly and you'll find yourself scraping the bench for picks in the succeeding rounds.

Fortunately there is still the Memphis Grizzlies to pick from. At least that will give us one more day before we decide on some gambles.

For Tuesday, I pick Marc Gasol.

Can the lower seeds sustain the stolen advantage? Or will they crumble and allow the higher seeds to grab wins on their turf? Let the debates begin!

No Griffin, No Nothin'

Without Griffin (and Paul in my case), we'd wish their series and Bulls' be done with as soon as possible. It's unlikely, but sweeps on these series will mean we don't have to labor much on picking aside from DeAndre Jordan and the Bulls' Three:

Gasol is the clear choice, especially that he doesn't have to work hard on defense with Kevin Love inactive. I just think Love will not return anytime during this series, that we can wait to pick Gasol at home.

Butler is having a career year and is highly dependable. His counterpart J.R. Smith is suspended for Games 1 & 2, but I think that benefits the Cavs more because now the defensive-minded Iman Shumpert will be guarding Butler. We can wait to pick him later for when he faces Smith who is a one-dimensional player.

Rose has the lowest PRA of the three but can explode in any game. He is also highly prone to injury. Noone wants anybody to get hurt, but I am picking him now for insurance's sake.

If you still have Griffin, and Paul remains hobbled by injury, pick him now because he will have to shoulder much of the scoring. Expect more of those back-to-the basket plays.

Good luck with your picks!

Round 2, Fight!

That was an entertaining Round 1, wouldn't you say? Too bad the Spurs had to face the Clippers early, but without that series, Round 1 would have been a bore. Now that that's behind us, let's get to the next round...

Conference Semis Winners?

The Conference Semifinal showdown kicks off with the Hawks hosting the Wizards. While I personally will bet on the Hawks to win this series, many in the DTTF are hedging otherwise. 20% are picking a Wizard and 15% are picking a Grizzly. I choose not to pick from this series yet and look at the first two games. However, if you are pressed to pick, here are your choices:
  • John Wall (WAS - 33 PRA)
  • Marcin Gortat (WAS - 30 PRA)
  • Bradley Beal (WAS - 30 PRA)
  • Paul Millsap (ATL - 28 PRA)
  • Al Horford (ATL - 28 PRA)
  • DeMarre Carroll (ATL - 27 PRA)
  • Kyle Korver (ATL - 24 PRA)
  • Jeff Teague (ATL - 24 PRA)
As you can see the Hawks are jam-packed, and if you think they are going to lose this series, better start picking them off in Game 1 to take advantage of these PRAs. Remember that unlike Round 1 where 30+ PRA is the norm, it is perfectly normal to average high 20s later this round. Prediction: Hawks in 5.

The second game features the heavy fave Warriors hosting the Grizzlies. These are both Top 5 Defensive teams, and we should expect less and longer possessions, thus slightly lower PRAs. Here are your options for this game:
  • Marc Gasol (MEM - 34 PRA) 38%
  • Zach Randolph (MEM - 24 PRA) 16%
And that's about it. The Grizzlies main game is 'feed the bigs', and I wonder how Andrew Bogut can last this series uninjured. The loss of Mike Conley was not so obvious against the more-injured Blazers, but I think that loss will make a big effect in this series. Just watch the Splash Brothers have their day out in this series. Prediction: Warriors in 5.

My pick: Zach Randolph
Primary reason: the cold pick strategy
Secondary reason: Gasol plays better against the Rockets or Clippers, just in case they advance

Play PLANET 123 for FREE