|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBAWednesday night's NBA Playoffs games featured a half-return to normalcy after both the Lakers and the Bulls were upset in their respective Game One's against lower-seeded teams.
While the Bulls went on to even their series out against the Hawks, the Mavericks stunned the Lakers once more by taking a 2-0 lead in the series. Los Angeles fans have been concerned about their team's play all year, and last night there were audible boos for the Lakers throughout the game.
Let's start with the Chicago Bulls, though. Despite really terrible shooting all night, the Bulls pulled out an 86-73 victory over the Atlanta Hawks. Chicago had to rely on its suffocating defense to hold Atlanta to 33.8% shooting, as well as their superior rebounding ability. The Bulls pulled down 58 boards compared to the Hawks' 39. The Bulls also shot poorly at 39.3%, which they have struggled with all throughout the playoffs, and committed 14 turnovers – another source of worry.
The game between the Los Angeles Lakers and Dallas Mavericks was the truly shocking one. The Lakers came out completely flat, putting up one terrible three-point attempt after another, and going 2-for-20 beyond the arc. Dallas was much better at 8-for-25. And the Lakers could not put their free throws away, either, shooting a miserable 55% compared to the Mavs' 81%. In almost every other category, the Lakers competed with the Mavericks, but they were enough to give Dallas the 93-81 win.
Both series now move to the lower seeded team's home court for the next two games. The way the Bulls played last night, they should come back to Chicago at least tied in the series and possibly up 3-1. With their defense and rebounding strengths, the Bulls shut down offenses and get a lot of second chance looks at the basket. Although they do not shoot the ball well, and Derrick Rose's ankle is clearly bothering him more than he is letting on, Chicago should still win this series with ease.
The Lakers, on the other hand, have a much more formidable task in front of them. They are now down 0-2, and have to win at least one game in Dallas. But winning both games would make the series a little closer. Last night it looked like LA fans were clearly disgusted with the poor shot selection and terrible free-throw shooting of their defending NBA Champs. And the Lakers players themselves looked just beaten down and fatigued, signaling a potential early end to this modern Lakers dynasty.