Indiana Pacers at Toronto Raptors (-7, 193.5)
Pacers lead series 1-0
All-Star forward Paul George and the Indiana Pacers delivered the opening salvo and look to make it two consecutive road victories when they face the Toronto Raptors on Monday. George poured in 33 points in Saturday’s 100-90 victory and Indiana attempts to continue the playoff woes of the Raptors.
Second-seeded Toronto hasn’t won a playoff series since 2001 and has dropped its last seven postseason games, which includes last season’s four losses to the Washington Wizards. “As a team, as a whole, I thought we were tight,” Raptors coach Dwane Casey told reporters. “I know our team did not play to our identity, but I know we’ll come back Monday night and play to our identity.” The seventh-seeded Pacers plan to ride the coattails of George in this series and he is intent on making a mark in his first postseason appearances since badly breaking his right leg in the summer of 2014. “Paul’s shot-making at the end of the game was spectacular,” Indiana coach Frank Vogel told reporters in reference to George’s 27 second-half points. “It’s been a long road for him in terms of actually getting back to the court but before his injury, we were in the conference finals.”
TV: 7 p.m. ET, NBATV, FSN Indiana, Sportsnet (Toronto)
LINE HISTORY: The Raptors opened as seven-point favorites at home and the spread has yet to move off the opening number. The total opened at 193 and was adjusted slightly to 193.5. View complete line history here.
ABOUT THE PACERS (46-37, 42-40-1 ATS, 37-46 O/U): George said after the Game 1 victory that he is still working on getting to be as strong physically as he was prior to the devastating injury that required an arduous recovery. “Some days I felt great, felt like I could have started that night,” George told reporters. “Some days I wanted to throw it all in, let Mother Nature heal it without doing any work. It was a little bit of both.” George (4-of-5) and shooting guard Monta Ellis (3-of-4) were strong from 3-point range in the opener and Indiana was 11-of-21 overall.
ABOUT THE RAPTORS (56-27, 45-38 ATS, 42-40-1 O/U): Game 1 was filled with offensive inefficiency as Toronto shot 38 percent from the field and committed 20 turnovers that led to 25 Indiana points. “We just missed some shots and turned the ball over,” All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry told reporters. “Now there’s a series of adjustments we have to do in one day. It’s one game. This is not last year. We’re very positive, we’re very confident.” Lowry was just 3-of-13 shooting, All-Star shooting guard DeMar DeRozan was only 5-of-19 and center Jonas Valanciunas – who set a franchise playoff record with 19 rebounds – was just 4-of-14.
* Pacers are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 vs. Eastern Conference.
* Raptors are 4-0 ATS in their last 4 games following a straight up loss.
* Under is 6-1 in Pacers last 7 Conference Quarterfinals games.
* Over is 6-1 in Raptors last 7 games following a double-digit loss at home.
* Pacers are 2-10 ATS in the last 12 meetings.
Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder (-13.5, 200)
Thunder lead series 1-0
The Oklahoma City Thunder put together an immaculate performance in the series opener and look to outclass Dallas again when they host the visiting Mavericks on Monday. The Thunder rolled to a 108-70 annihilation of Dallas on Saturday in what was the franchise’s largest margin of victory in a playoff game since relocating from Seattle to Oklahoma City prior to the 2008-09 campaign.
The third-seeded Thunder missed the playoffs last season and came out with a vengeance against the Mavericks as if they had a point to make. “We just wanted to come out and impose our will early,” All-Star forward Kevin Durant told reporters. “We didn’t want to ease into the game. We wanted to be the aggressor. We came out and did a good job.” Sixth-seeded Dallas set dubious franchise playoff records for fewest points scored and worst field-goal percentage (29.8 percent) in a truly woeful showing. “I guess the only positive I take out if this – it’s only one game,” power forward Dirk Nowitzki told reporters. “If you lose by two or by 50, in the playoffs, it’s only one game. We’ve got another crack to steal one on Monday night. We’ve got to play harder, we’ve got to play better. It’s as simple as that.”
TV: 8 p.m. ET, TNT, FSN Oklahoma
LINE HISTORY: Oklahoma City opened as 13-point favorites but that line was quickly bet up to -13.5. The total opened at 202 and the public jumped all over the under, forcing the books to drop the number a full two points to 200. View complete line history here.
ABOUT THE MAVERICKS (42-41, 45-37-1 ATS, 39-43-1 O/U): Point guard J.J. Barea has been one of the team’s better players this month but his availability is in jeopardy after he aggravated a groin injury during the second half of Game 1. “I’m very, very concerned,” Dallas coach Rick Carlisle told reporters. “I think something happened. I don’t think it’s just tight.” Nowitzki scored 18 points on Saturday and the rest of the starting lineup combined for just 12 points on 5-of-25 shooting as guards Deron Williams (1-of-9), Wesley Matthews (3-of-10) and Barea (1-of-6) were unable to get untracked.
ABOUT THE THUNDER (56-27, 38-44-1 ATS, 39-44 O/U): Point guard Russell Westbrook (24 points and 11 assists in 29 minutes) and Durant (23 points in 26 minutes) were productive as usual but Oklahoma City also received a strong performance from power forward Serge Ibaka, who had 17 points on 7-of-8 shooting to go with nine rebounds and three blocked shots. Ibaka has struggled recently and went 1-of-12 from the field in his final regular-season appearance but was a much different player in the assault of the Mavericks. “When he’s knocking (down shots), it opens it up for us on the offensive end,” Durant told reporters. “Then guarding Dirk is tough. He made it tough on him all night. He was helping off, protecting the rim, spreading the floor. He was good, but we need him to be better next game.”
* Mavericks are 1-6 ATS in their last 7 Conference Quarterfinals games.
* Thunder are 9-2 ATS in their last 11 games vs. a team with a winning straight up record.
* Under is 6-1 in Mavericks last 7 road games vs. a team with a home winning % of greater than .600.
* Under is 5-1 in Thunder last 6 vs. NBA Southwest.
* Under is 6-2 in the last 8 meetings in Oklahoma City.
Houston Rockets at Golden State Warriors (-13, 218)
Warriors lead series 1-0
The Golden State Warriors looked every bit like the best team in the NBA in Game 1 of their first-round series but did not come out of the 26-point victory with all positives. The Warriors hope to have star guard Stephen Curry (ankle) available when they host the eighth-seeded Houston Rockets in Game 2 on Monday.
Curry scored 24 points in 19 minutes in Game 1 but rolled his right ankle and barely played in the second half as the Warriors cruised to a 104-78 win. Coach Steve Kerr called him “questionable” for Game 2, but Curry disagreed. “Right now, don’t see a scenario where I’ll be out,” Curry told reporters. “Obviously, if it’s not right and I’m at risk of further injury or whatnot, that’s the only thing that we’ll have to worry about. Pain tolerance and all that stuff, I kind of know what I can deal with on the court. But you don’t want anything more serious to happen, favoring an ankle or whatnot. So that’s what we’ll kind of pay attention to the next two days.” The Rockets will spend their off day trying to figure out how to coax more offense out of a team that shot 35.7 percent from the field, including 6-of-22 from 3-point range, in the opener.
TV: 10:30 p.m. ET, TNT, ROOT (Houston), CSN Bay Area (Golden State)
LINE HISTORY: The Warriors opened as 12.5-point favorites for Game 2 and that line was adjusted up slightly to -13. The total opened at 220 but the betting public decided that number was too high and the books adjusted the number to 218. View complete line history here.
ABOUT THE ROCKETS (41-42, 37-46 ATS, 47-36 O/U): Houston went with a smaller lineup to try to counter Golden State, inserting Corey Brewer into the starting lineup in place of power forward Donatas Motiejunas to give the defense more athleticism. “Defensively, we thought it gave us more versatility to switch things,” Rockets interim coach J.B. Bickerstaff told reporters. “Games we’ve watched, the way we’ve studied it, the teams that have had success versus them defensively weren’t chasing them all over the floor. They just check in front of them. So we went that way.” The defensive changes backfired and the offense stalled as star James Harden went 7-of-19 from the floor and did not attempt a free throw for the first time in 148 games.
ABOUT THE WARRIORS (74-9, 46-35-2 ATS, 45-37-1 O/U): Golden State was plus-28 with Curry on the floor in Game 1 and doesn’t want to play without its star, but is prepared if necessary. “If you lose the MVP, it’s going to change your team,” Warriors forward Draymond Green told reporters. “I think he’ll be fine at some point. One man is not going to come out and be Steph Curry. We have to do it collectively. But we have the blueprint (for winning without Curry). We know we can do it, if we have to.” Fellow All-Star guard Klay Thompson struggled from the field (4-of-14) but Green collected 12 points and 10 rebounds and Golden State scored 33 points off Houston’s 24 turnovers in Game 1.
* Rockets are 8-2 ATS in their last 10 Conference Quarterfinals games.
* Warriors are 4-1 ATS in their last 5 vs. NBA Southwest.
* Under is 6-0 in Rockets last 6 road games vs. a team with a winning home record.
* Under is 4-1 in the last 5 meetings in Golden State.
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