DAY SEVEN - The Heat try to get their first win of the series against Chicago at home, the Mavericks try to take control of their series on the road in Oakland, and the Nets come home to Jersey to face the Raptors in tied series.
Raptors at Nets, 7:00 PM, ESPN2
Thoughts: As I expected it would be this has been a close series thus far, tied 1-1 with no real favorite really emerging. I have, however, picked the Nets to win this series and returning to their home floor I see no reason why they wouldn't get a win tonight. They lost game two against a fine effort from the Raptors, but that was on an off night for Richard Jefferson. Vince Carter has yet to have a break out game in this series, and tonight is as good a night as any. Nets win.
Bulls at Heat, 8:00 PM, ESPN
Thoughts: Down 0-2 in the Finals last year, heading back to their home floor, the Heat showed they still had some fight left in them. The initial reaction to a statement like that now is, "the Heat aren't the same team from last year." To which I reply, they don't have to be - they aren't playing the Mavs. I know this is the playoffs, so we can anoint teams champions of the universe after two games, but the Bulls are still a young team and anyone paying attention long enough knows they have hot streaks followed by cold streaks. Luol Deng and Ben Gordon will have bad games eventually, because that's what they do. And Dwyane Wade will get off and dominate a game eventually because that's what he does. Heat get off to a quick start, Chicago gets rattled and never recovers, Heat win.
Mavericks at Warriors, 10:30 PM, ESPN
Thoughts: The Warriors lost all composure and any semblence of a competent basketball team in Wednesday's game against the Mavs. That being said, Golden State still had a chance to win the game before they lost their cool. I think the reaction right now is that Golden State has lost whatever magical edge it held over Dallas and the series is over. If only basketball worked that way. The Warriors beat the Mavericks in the regular season and in game by playing some defense, guarding Nowitzki particularly well, getting out on the break, and getting up a high volume of shots. If they can do that tonight on their home floor, they take the lead in this series. Warriors win.
* all times Eastern
Jordan's Playoff Picks so far:
14/19 - 74%
Pistons at Magic
Cavaliers at Wizards
Spurs at Nuggets
Rockets at Jazz