|Written by Michael|
Bet on the NBAThe NBA Playoffs are playing out pretty much as expected, with the top teams winning games that they should, and the No. 4-No. 5 series being a little closer.
On Thursday night, the Bulls and Heat cameout on top on the road, while the Trail Blazers upset the Mavericks in Portland. But while these outcomes were pretty much expected, what can we learn from last night's games?
First of all, the Chicago Bulls are going to have to play a little bit more offense to keep up with the better teams in the Eastern Conference. In all three games of their series against the Indiana Pacers, the Bulls have struggled to win decisively against the No. 8 seed. While Chicago's defense is second to none, they are still looking for a backup scorer to help out Derrick Rose, who has carried the team to three victories so far in the series.
The Miami Heat, on the other hand, are having an easier time against the No. 7 seed Philadelphia 76ers. The main problem with Miami is that they can have good and bad quarters, being outscored by 8 in the first quarter last night before making up some ground by the end of the first half. With Dwyane Wade playing healthy again, the team is going to be more deadly, but they really only have one weapon – drive inside and hope for a layup, dunk, foul, or combination of the three.
The Portland Trail Blazers were slightly favored to win their playoff series against the Dallas Mavericks, but then dropped the first two games of the series. They were able to bounce back and win last night 97-92, mostly on the back of Maverick turnovers. The Mavericks have won games by limiting their turnover rate, but they were back to their usual selves Thursday, turning the ball over 16 times. They will need to keep better hold of the ball to fend of Portland for the rest of the series.
While Miami and Dallas are playing pretty much as anticipated, the Bulls are another story. Sure, they're winning games right now, but they are battling hard to pull out slight margins of victory against an eighth seed. They need to get a consistent second scoring threat in order to compete with the more elite teams, and their shooting has been off since the playoffs began.