NBA picks: Heat vs. Bucks, Thunder vs. Rockets
A pair of captivating games make up the Wednesday NBA schedule with a critical Game 2 match between the Milwaukee Bucks and Miami Heat, followed by a Game 7 showdown between the Houston Rockets and the Oklahoma City Thunder. BetAmerica has the odds and the call for Wednesday’s big games.
The Heat are looking every bit of the nightmare many analysts thought they would be for the Bucks. As good as the Bucks are, the stunning departure of their stout pre-bubble defense is troublesome. Now, they're up against a team that gave them plenty of trouble in the regular season.
Milwaukee was out-rebounded 46-34 and shot a pathetic 53.8% from the free-throw line. That's simply not good enough when they let Jimmy Butler go off for 40 points and bully them at will. Their Game 1 loss echoed their opening game defeat against the Orlando Magic, but they’ll have a harder time bouncing back here.
It is critical that the Bucks find some way to slow Butler down and get someone to play some physical basketball aside from Giannis Antetokounmpo. The production they got from Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez kept the game close, but losing the rebounding battle is what cost the Bucks the game.
The Heat have found a way to exploit the one-dimensional aspects of this team, and it's now up to the Bucks to make the adjustments that cost them Game 1. Expect Miami to keep bullying the Bucks in the paint, capping off another close win and a commanding 2-0 series lead.
NBA pick: Heat moneyline
Wed, September 2 2020, 10:35 PM
Oklahoma City Thunder
When Russell Westbrook returned from injury, he was expected to be the missing piece that would put the Rockets over the top in this series. Instead, he made the critical mistake that puts them in a Game 7 they don’t want to be in.
Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari went off and kept the game close, and the Thunder's defense created the situation that led to Westbrook’s game sealing gaffe. Though the Rockets should have the edge, it’s clutch situations like these where the Thunder thrive.
Though the Rockets looked poised to close this series out, it’s not out of the question that they could get bounced out of the bubble by this upstart squad. The Thunder can’t seem to get a handle on Harden, but they’ve made it consistently difficult for everyone around him to get comfortable at times. That defensive effort combined with a rusty Westbrook and a supremely motivated Paul should be enough for the Thunder to steal the series.