NBA Playoffs Betting: May 14

NBA Playoffs Betting: May 14

A pair of Game 6 showdowns highlight the Thursday night schedule in the NBA Playoffs. Fresh off their Game 5 victory (and near collapse), the Cavs look to close out the pesky Bulls at the United Center. LeBron James was a one-man wrecking crew in the win, totaling 38 points, 12 rebounds, and 6 assists. Chicago got an inspired effort from Jimmy Butler, and the streaky Mike Dunleavy dropped 19. Those two, along with Derrick Rose, must deliver in the clutch to avoid elimination. Out West, Houston actually looked like an NBA team on Tuesday, hammering the Clippers by 21 to extend their season. Only one of the five games in the series has been decided by less than 16 points, so expecting a nip-and-tuck contest is risky. Good news for the Clippers: Chris Paul will be no longer have his minutes restricted. That and home court advantage will definitely play a factor. Here’s a preview of the action.

CLEVELAND AT CHICAGO -2

Pau Gasol says he’s going to try to give it a go after missing the previous two games with a strained hamstring. He knows it’s must-win time for Chicago, so it’s likely he’ll be on the floor if at all possible. With LeBron smelling blood, Gasol is keenly aware it will take maximum effort to push the series to Game 7, although there’s no guarantee his hammy will respond favorably in warmups. The Bulls are prone to ugly scoring droughts, which is why they trailed by 17 with six minutes left in Game 5. However, a late surge brought them to within 2, so don’t expect them to go down easily. As for Cleveland, it’s all about James and Irving taking control and using their playmaking prowess. Keeping their composure with the pressure turned up a notch is also key. Meaning, no senseless retaliation for Taj Gibson’s “kick” in Game 5. Chicago is 5-1 ATS in its last six overall. Cleveland is 5-16 ATS in the last 21 meetings.

Bet Cleveland +2

HOUSTON AT LA CLIPPERS -8

Will the real Rockets please stand up? They looked done and done after blowout defeats in Games 3 and 4. Then Dwight Howard finally decided to ball like a Top 10 player, and Trevor Ariza and Corey Brewer combined to score 37. James Harden has yet to really explode offensively, but his 26 points, 11 rebounds, and 10 assists was one of the best playoff performances of his career. Can he deliver a repeat effort? Blake Griffin and Chris Paul were fantastic in Game 5, racking 52 points, 18 rebounds, and 12 assists. However, the normally solid bench duo of Jamal Crawford and Austin Rivers shot a lousy 5-21 from the field; when they are clicking, the Clippers are difficult to contain. Houston owned the glass and shot at a torrid pace on Tuesday, which probably won’t happen again. Maybe Josh Smith will look competent? Maybe not. LA is 3-8 ATS in its last eleven home tilts. Houston is 1-5 ATS in its last six road trips. Trusting the Rockets to show up is bold, but they should keep the margin within reach.

Bet Houston +8