NBA Post-Season Power Rankings
Okay, that was odd. Sure, some of the teams that were supposed to step it up, like the Los Angeles Lakers and Cleveland Cavaliers, were terrific, but other teams, like the Boston Celtics, failed miserably.
What the first game of the first round tells us is that the teams in the NBA are much closer than a lot of BetUS online sportsbook fans previously thought. That’s a big deal.
Let’s analyze the NBA Power Rankings going into this week.
NBA Power Rankings
- Los Angeles Lakers - - LA covered as 12 point favorites to beat the Utah Jazz by +1 in the sportsbook. They also dominated the first half when shooting 66% and racking up 62 points. L.A. showed that they are definitely the team to beat for the NBA Championship this season and should only get better. It’s too bad for Utah who really looked like they had a shot in the playoffs before finishing the regular season with the 8th seed in the Western Conference.
- Cleveland Cavaliers - - The Cavs grab the number two spot after their 18 point destruction of the Detroit Pistons in game one of their first round series. Cleveland was an 11 ½ point favorite but absolutely dominated the Pistons by putting up 102 to Detroit’s 84 points. Scoring that many against Detroit, and still playing tough defense, means that the Cavs are ready to march into the NBA Championship.
- Houston Rockets - - No Rafer Alston, who they shipped to Orlando during the regular season, and no Tracey McGrady, who’s just hurt, didn’t hinder the 4 ½ point underdog Houston Rockets from absolutely dominating the young Portland Trailblazers on the road. The fact of the matter is that Houston is just the better team and that as good as Portland was during the regular season, and there were moments where the Blazers looked like serious contenders, they can’t handle Houston’s defense or Yao Ming who had 27 points and 7 assists. Now, that’s how to play center in the NBA, Greg Oden!
- Dallas Mavericks - - The Mavericks went into San Antonio to face their rivals, the Spurs, and did what few expected them to do, win outright as 4 point underdogs in the sportsbook. The Mavs not only won, they won big by a score of 105 to 97. The key? Josh Howard had 25 points to go along with Dirk Nowtizki’s 19. When guard Jason Kidd can just sit back, dish and play defense, then Dallas is tough. That’s what happened.
- Atlanta Hawks - - I debated on whether the Hawks or the Nuggets deserved the 5th spots. Atlanta’s defense was sensational against the Miami Heat. They held Dwayne Wade to only 19 points and the Heat as a team to 25 in the second half and 64 for the game. By beating the Heat by 26, 90 to 64, Atlanta showed that they aren’t going to let the lack of playoff experience hurt them in this series and that their first round toughness against the Boston Celtics last year wasn’t an anomaly.
- Denver Nuggets - - Denver was fantastic against the Hornets in the first game of their series. Going into the game as 6 point favorites, the Nuggets went crazy in the second half and ended up beating New Orleans by a score of 113 to 84. It came down to adjustments as the Nuggets held an 8 point lead in the first half but then proceeded to outscore the Hornets 58 to 37 in the second half. Chauncey Billups had 36 points and 8 assists.
- Chicago Bulls - - The Bulls were brilliant this past Saturday when beating the Boston Celtics on the road as 8 ½ point underdogs. Chicago did give up a 9 point halftime lead and let the Celtics back into the game, but then they settled down and outhustled the Men in Green to a 105 to 103 beat down in overtime. Sure, the Celtics were without Kevin Garnett, but the Bulls went into the game with a young point guard. That young guard, Derrick Rose, had 36 points, 11 assists and 4 rebounds. Wow.
- Philadelphia 76’ers - - How did the Orlando Magic blow an 18 point lead to the Philadelphia 76’ers in the first game of their first round playoff series? By getting outscored 35 to 19 in the fourth quarter. It shouldn’t happen again, but seriously, the Magic’s absolute implosion is something that bettors might want to worry about in future rounds. Winning straight-up as 9 ½ point underdogs, the 76’ers showed why a lot of bettors considered them for a wager to win the Eastern Conference when the season started.