Game Six

What part of "close out" do the Clippers not understand? That was a tragedy! Were the Rockets just down 1-3 a little while back? Two chances to close out.. fail. Third chance? I do not know about you, but the last two games showed that the Rockets now deserve to win this series. Let's see. I'll get back on that pick for Game 7 in two days.

Meanwhile, the Cavaliers took care of business on the road to eliminate the Bulls from the playoffs. Can the Hawks and the Warriors do the same on Friday? It will be hard because it will be on the road. I can bet at least one of these will get extended too for Game 7.

DTTF Note: Game 7 will have a remix of teams. The Warriors series if it comes to a Game 7 will be paired with the Rockets series on Sunday. The Hawk's Game 7, if necessary, will be on Monday. These may affect the timing of your picks.

My pick for Saturday is John Wall. At 35%, he is the hottest pick, and at far second is Beal at 14%. It's a no-brainer for most. Ever since he was injured in Game 2, drivers of course stayed away from him. As everybody saw in Game 5, Wall is alive and well. He did not look like someone who had fractures in his wrist whatsoever.

However if you have Zach Randolph, Marc Gasol or Bradley Beal, you may want to use those instead. They've been consistent with their high PRAs.

Another of note is Tony Allen. He is listed as questionable for Game 6 with that hamstring injury, although he said he will play. The Warriors already figured out Allen by leaving him at the perimeter so they can double team the bigs. That makes Allen on the offensive end a liability. However, the absence of the defensive-minded Allen has opened up the Splash Brothers; that is where he is needed. I'm curious to see how the Grizzlies use Allen in Game 6.

May Friday's games be like Cavs' Game 6.

Close-out?

All series are 3-2 controlled by the high seed, except the Rockets.

The Clippers will be the favorite to win Game 6 at home even after a lopsided win by the Rockets in Game 5 at Houston. I recommend picking your best remaining Rocket. I pre-picked Josh Smith still remembering how he helped dismantled the Mavs in Round 1. However, he has struggled a bit in this series. So my Thursday pick goes to Trevor Ariza. Hope he makes it rain.

(However, if you still have Derrick Rose or Jimmy Butler, they're the better picks at an elimination game.)

The other Game 6s will be played at the turf of the teams at edge of elimination. While LeBron has talked of a close-out, look for the Bulls to give it their all. The same goes for the Wizards and the Grizzlies. They know they must force a Game 7. I actually think all three series will go 7 games; that's how competitive this round is. But for DTTF sake, I wish they all end at Game 6.

We don't need to be troubled by suddenly being worried about picking LeBron and Curry in Game 7. I won't pick them, but I will still get worried. Not good.

My Friday pick is John Wall. Locked and loaded.

Good luck!

Wizards vs Grizzlies

No, it's not a Finals matchup. Far from it. It's a contest of which team will not survive Game 5, at least from our DTTF perspective.

The Grizzlies are still in full force and have shown they can win in Golden State. I think they can win Game 5. Note that I used 'can' instead of 'will', because the Warriors are still favored to win that game and eventually the series. I only have Conley left so I'll look elsewhere. However, if you still have Gasol or Randolph, you may want to pick them now.

As for the Wizards, Pierce's winning shot in Game 3 and a misleading 2-1 lead pushed me to pick a Hawk in Game 4. But now that the Hawks have regained footing, coupled with Wall's injury, I am comfortable again picking a Wizard. 

I got Bradley Beal. He just came off a big game, but I'll take his second best on the road where he generally plays better.

Question: Will Wall play in Game 5?

UPdATE: With Tony Allen possibly out due to injury and John Wall possibly in, I am tempted to change pick from Beal to Conley. However, with 5 minutes left to deadline for picking in the first game, I wouldn't risk it. But Conley is a better 'timing' pick.

Three Game Sevens?

So every high seed did their job to even up the series on the road. Except for the Rockets. Down 1-3, you should have your best remaining Rocket for your Tuesday pick. That would be Dwight Howard for me. I hope he stays out of foul trouble this time around.

The Cavs-Bulls, Hawks-Wiz and Warriors-Grizzlies series are all 2-2. The Game 4 winners will be carrying their momentum into Game 5 at home and will try to get a 3-2 commanding lead. It's not a do-or-die situation yet, but they know how critical Game 5 will be. If they lose, then they'll be pressed to avoid elimination on the road. And they wouldn't want that.

DTTF-wise, we can only wish that the home teams win Game 5 (except Rockets of course). If not, then we will be switching back and forth between teams, and there won't be enough to run with next round.

My only hope is that the Cavs and the Warriors win Game 5 as I expect them to meet in the Finals. Countless times I've been left with scraps for the Finals in previous years. This year, I need full force in Finals to break that Top 100.

Fingers crossed.

Lower Seed Rulez

I don't think it has ever happened in the history of the NBA that all lower seeds in the Conference Semifinals are up 2-1. All four! Really amazing.

Now all of DTTF are shaking our collective heads and thinking, "What the heck are we going to do now?" We picked from the wrong teams (as per current standing), we face logjam on stars from the higher seeds, and if these lower seeds win, we don't have anyone left in the next round!

Well at least you can say you are not alone. Me, you and your mom (Happy Mothers Day!) have the same problem, so I'd say that's even footing. Unless you are a fan of these lower seeds and have been delaying picking from them, your plans are ruined. Just like the rest of us.

Here's when everyone will be separated from hereon. Which among these lower seeds will win Game 4 and push the opponent to brink of elimination? Which ones will lose Game 4 and thus quickly go back to being the underdog? Pick wrongly and you will watch the others widen the gap.

Definitely most of us will pick now from the higher seeds. Because we've been saving their players, we now can only consider two stars from each team because there may be only two games left. And because another series co-owns the same game days, we can really only pick the very best players. But which team?

Here's how I see Game 4 -- Cavs have the biggest chance to win, Warriors next, Hawks next, and Rockets least. Don't fret yet about the difference in our opinions; just stay with me with the underlying strategy. Modify the following picks based from your bets, but I suggest you pick the best player in your chosen team to lose Game 4.

So based on my guts, I'd pick from the Rockets on Sunday. That is why I am picking the best player they have -- James Harden.

And for Monday, tentatively it's Al Horford from the Hawks.

For Game 5, I am pretty sure there will be a team down 1-3, so that team's best available player gets picked.

May the odds be ever in your favor.