Spurs vs. Pacers vs. Heat

Will Tim Duncan get his 5th ring?

Will Tim Duncan get his 5th ring?

Who would have thought that the San Antonio Spurs would sweep the series against the Grizzlies and that the Pacers would be tied 3-3 with the Miami Heat. While San Antonio rests, heals, and awaits to find out who they will be playing for their 4th NBA Championship in the last decade, the Heat and Pacers will meet again Monday night. Here’s a quick glance at the advantages each team has over the others and who the Spurs would rather play for the NBA Championship.

The Big Men:
After the Spurs seemingly manhandled one of the best duos down low in the NBA, you would be hard pressed to give any team the big man advantage over the Spurs. Roy Hibbert has been getting a lot of love for his performance against Miami. And is getting even more attention for throwing around gay slurs and calling the media motherf—–s in his post game conference. However, if you were going to ask me whether I’d have a duo of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph or Roy Hibbert and David West, I’ll take Gasol and Randolph any day of the week.  If San Antonio can deal with Z-bo and Gasol, they can handle Hibbert and West. Hibbert averaged 11.9 PPG and  8.3RPG during the season. Against Miami, he’s bumped that up to 22.8PPG and 10.8RPG. So how has Hibbert suddenly found himself and become an unstoppable threat down low? I’m going to say no.
Miami’s presence down low is abysmal. Chris Bosh has already been having a career low in rebounding, and against the Pacers is getting a whopping 3.7RPG. 3.7! That’s completely ridiculous for a 6’11 All-Star player. Look at Bosh’s RPG this season against teams with reputable centers or power forwards in the league. Against Brooklyn-3.3RPG, Indiana-3.3RPG, Utah-1.0RPG, Philadephia-3.3RPG. Chris Bosh doesn’t shut down opposing big men, he gets shut down and dominated. Possession control wins in the post season. Hibbert’s excellence right now is more a byproduct of Miami’s atrociousness at handling big men. Hell, if the Pacers leave Hibbert in game 1, James probably doesn’t get the game winning lay up at the buzzer and maybe there isn’t even a game 7. I don’t expect Hibbert to keep up this level of play against a team such as San Antonio. He’s a good center, but his regular season numbers speak volumes. As far as Miami goes, it’s not the big men that win games, its LeBron James.

Advantage: San Antonio Spurs
Whether it’s the Pacers or the Heat, San Antonio will have the advantage in the big man category. Obviously they would prefer to deal with Miami down low rather than the Pacers, but when you have the best power forward of all time playing alongside one of the leagues best coaches, you have the advantage. The Big Fundamental and a fundamentals coach made their statement against the Grizzlies. They can play down low against anyone in the league. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, its all about Timmy D, and he’s going to get his.

Small-Forward:
Kawhi Leonard is an ever-growing asset to the San Antonio franchise and seems to just be getting better and better. Paul George emerged this year as an All-Star and one of the best all around players in the league. But NOONE can argue that Miami does not have the advantage in the small forward position. LeBron James is the greatest basketball player on Earth. Both the Pacers and the Heat have the advantage against San Antonio in the Small Forward position, but the Spurs would rather face Paul George than LeBron James against them on the court.

Advantage: Miami Heat
You never want to play against LeBron James. Plain and Simple.

Shooting Guard:
It appears that the NBA gods decided to plague the shooting guards left in the playoffs. Dwayne Wade’s stats this post season are 13.6PPG, 4.6RPG, 5.1APG, Manu’s 11.5PPG, 4.5RPG, and 5.4APG, and Lance Stephenson 9.4PPG, 7.7RPG, and 3.2APG. Look at that again, Lance Stevenson is performing at nearly the same level of Manu Ginobili and Dwayne Wade. Throw that in with the injury worries of Ginobili and Wade, and Stevenson may be the one to fear. He has that NBA Live ‘He’s on Fire’ ability that gets the Indiana crowd going wild when playing t home. While he’s playing well right now, theres no way I’m going to put him above Wade and Ginobili. Both are perrenial All-Stars for a reason. Despite Wade’s abysmal performance these past few games and his knees that seem to aged 30 years, everyone remembers his Finals performance against Dallas that gave Miami their championship pre-LeBron. And Ginobili can go from having a horrible shooting performance, to nailing the game winning shot with no time left.

Advantage: No Team
If Dwayne Wade and Ginobili continue their sub par performances, they are nearly comparable to Lance Stephenson. I never thought he’d be in the conversation for advantage at shooting guard but he’s there. Not because he’s playing at an all star level, but because the other two have fallen. I’m not basing this on the potential or sheer talent of the players, but the way their performing this post season.

Point Guard:

Tony Parker is one of the most underrated point guards in the league. Without Tony Parker, there is no way that the Spurs are in the Finals. The Spurs offense begins and ends with him and he runs the pick-and-roll to near perfection. Parker’s averaging 23.0PPG, 3.9RPG, and 7.2APG, but his team role goes beyond the numbers. He facilitates the Spurs game plan and conducts the team perfectly. He’s carried his team to a championship and won Finals MVP and I won’t be surprised the least if he does it again.
Who would have thought that George Hill could potentially get to the NBA Finals the same year as a Pacer as he could have as a Spur. Popovich may be going against one of the players he mentored, and while he’s a good point guard and can run the offense, he’s no Tony Parker. He’s an efficient player and can do his job, but it won’t be at an All Star level.
We all remember Dwayne Wade yelling “Mario F—ing Chalmers” after his stellar performance against the Thunder last year. If it wasn’t for his potential to randomly go off for 20+ points, hit those game winning shots he’s been doing since he left Kansas, or for his ridiculous outfit in Miami’s Harlem Shake video, I wouldn’t even talk about him. Like Hill, Chalmers does his job and can randomly have scoring outbursts. Neither player though will take the game over and be the reason his team succeeds.

Advantage: San Antonio Spurs
Tony Parker is one of the best point guards in the league while the others aren’t even in the conversation. As far as a game manager goes, it doesn’t get much better than Tony Parker.

Coaching:
Advantage: San Antonio Spurs
I’m not even going to give this one an elaborate explanation. I commend Frank Vogel and Erik Spoelstra for leading their teams to the Eastern Conference Finals but I’m not going to say they are better than Popovich. Popovich is that coach that never seems to panic and always gets the best out of his players. He commands respect from his players and his authority is never questioned. He is one of the main reasons that the Spurs have been one of the most dominant teams throughout the past decade. He’s one of the greatest coaches the NBA has seen and his coaching acumen cannot be questioned. The fact that every player seems to develop and improve under his coaching is testimony to his coaching skill.

Who would the Spurs rather face?
The Indiana Pacers

I don’t think that it’s the question that the Spurs would rather play the Indiana Pacers. Their make up is not much different than that of the Grizzlies. They operate an inside-out game plan with athletic wing players. Paul George may be able to give them some trouble but Kawahi Leonard is a fantastic on ball defender and could potentially contain him. If I hadn’t seen the Spurs perform so well against the Grizzlies and be able to grind out and win those close games, I may underestimate their ability to contain Indiana’s big men. A series sweep against one of the best teams in the West though speaks volumes. Throw that in with Popovich’s time to analyze the Pacer’s game tape the past week along with the Spurs’ players getting rest, and you have a team that can handle anyone in the Finals.
While many would argue that the Spurs may do better playing against the Heat in the Finals, they have the ultimate X-factor. I don’t think that any team wants to match up against the best player in the world. There is just too much that can go wrong. Also, the funk that Bosh and Wade are in can’t continue forever. If those two can turn it on and LeBron plays to his usual level, the Heat rattle off the wins. One of the most important factors though is that these two teams didn’t play against eachother in the season. The Spurs infamously sat Duncan, Parker, and Ginobili right before their away game against Miami, and Miami sat Wade and James away against the Spurs. Both games were close despite the missing All-Stars. While the Spurs would probably rather match up against the Pacers, a Spurs-Heat Finals is the one I’m hoping for.
I want to see the ultimate team ball against the star studded cast of the Miami Heat. A team that announced themselves with a rock concert versus the quiet reserved players of the Spurs. One of the most dominant teams for the past decade going against the team that plans to rattle off “not one, not two, not three, not four, not five, not six, not seven” championships. The series could signal the closing of a dynasty or the beginning of a new one, and something all basketball fans should want to see.

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Tye Masters
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The Betting Corner: NBA Playoffs May 16, 2013

Indiana @ New York 8PM (ET) TNT

(Pacers 3-1 Knicks Series)

Carmelo Knicks Pacers Game 3

Well the last two days I went against my gut and chose the team where I felt had to win or cover to stay competitive in the series. In all cases, I was turning a blind eye to the age old notion of “Defense wins Championships”. In this series the Pacers have proven to be that team. With Hibbert stout d down low, the pacers have the momentum and the fire power to can the Knicks. With the Knicks shooting less than 28% from 3 point range and the team imploding before our eyes, I have no faith in there play in this game.
Play:
Pacers +5
——————

San Antonio vs Golden State 10.30PM (ET) ESPN

(Spurs 3-2 Warriors Series)

10T9dYO

The Spurs has made all the right adjustments in this series and has for the most part bottled up Curry in this series holding him to just 34.8% shooting in his last 4 games. This has proven to be the X-Factor in this series. San Antonio is the better team here on both sides of the ball and look to end it in enemy territory tonight.
Play:
Spurs -2
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Alex Plumb
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The Cover 4 Introduces “Would You Rather….”

Welcome to the new Cover 4.com

We are rolling out a new series called “Would You Rather…”. The new video debates will consist of The Cover 4 team debating hot topics and key issues in today’s sports headlines. They might be serious, funny, or even awkward, but our content will be refreshing to our views.

 

Please let us know what you think and thanks for following along!

 

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Round 2-NBA Playoffs-Western Conference

NBA-Western-Conference

Two epic matchups in the Western Conference featuring the San Antonio Spurs versus the Golden State Warriors and the Memphis Grizzlies versus the Oklahoma City Thunder.

Memphis Grizzlies vs. Oklahoma City Thunder

130505004443-ibaka-randolph-single-image-cut

  • Game 1- May 5 Memphis @ Oklahoma City 93-91
  • Game 2-May 7 Memphis @ Oklahoma City 9:30 p.m. (EST) TNT
  • Game 3-May 11 Oklahoma City @ Memphis 5 p.m. (EST) ESPN
  • Game 4-May 13 Oklahoma City @ Memphis 9:30 p.m. (EST) TNT
  • Game 5- May 15 Memphis @ Oklahoma City TBA TNT
  • Game 6- May 17 Oklahoma City @ Memphis TBA ESPN
  • Game 7- May 19 Memphis @ Oklahoma City TBA 

2013 Regular Season Match-up

  • November 14 Memphis @ Oklahoma City 107-97
  • January 3 Memphis @ Oklahoma City 89-106
  • March 20 Oklahoma City @ Memphis 89-90 OT

Memphis Grizzlies’ Locker Room

This Memphis team seemed to have overcome the departure of ex-star Rudy Gay, but with the arrival of Ed Davis and Tayshaun Prince they have improved their defensive mentality. They lost by a mere two points in Oklahoma City where the Thunder have thrived all season.  Kevin Martin is a good sixth man but he doesn’t have the takeover mentality that James Harden has and the Thunder are missing it big time. The Grizzlies are first in points allowed at 89.3 points per game during the regular season and having beat the LA Clippers in six has given them great momentum coming into this series. They ran into a bit of emotion in game one against the Thunder. But look for the Grizzlies to lock in their defense and maybe surprise the Thunder.

Oklahoma City Thunder Locker Room

Take one game at a time, this Thunder team just isn’t dominating as they use to be anymore. Losing James Harden to Houston and now losing Russell Westbrook to injury, they miss a potential 50 points and 15 assists per game. The Thunder ESCAPED Sunday by a mere two points against the Grizzlies. Without Westbrook to pressure Mike Conley, Conley is able to distribute the ball equally and create plays off the ball.  This Thunder team averages 105.7 points per game this season and are 34-7 at home. To make this series in their favor, they need to win all their home games. If the Grizzlies manage to steal one in OKC, Kevin Durant will have an early exit this season.

Final Predictions

I think this Memphis Grizzlies defense is better than people give them credit for. Defense wins playoff games in the NBA

Memphis Grizzlies in 6

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Golden State Warriors Vs San Antonio Spurs

130504165018-san-antonio-spurs-golden-state-warriors-nba-playoffs-2013-preview-single-image-cut

  • Game 1- May 6 Golden State @ San Antonio 129-127 OT
  • Game 2- May 8 Golden State @ San Antonio 9.30PM (ET) TNT
  • Game 3- May 10 San Antonio @ Golden State 10.30PM (ET) ESPN
  • Game 4- May 12 San Antonio @ Golden State 3.30PM (ET) ABC
  • Game 5- May 14 Golden State @ San Antonio 9.30PM (ET) TNT
  • Game 6- May 16 San Antonio @ Golden State TBA ESPN
  • Game 7- May 19 Golden State @ San Antonio TBA

2013 Regular Season Match-up

  • January 18 Golden State @ San Antonio88-95
  • February 22  San Antonio @ Golden State 101-107OT
  • March 20 Golden State @ San Antonio 93-104
  • April 15  San Antonio @ Golden State 106-116

Golden State Warriors’ Locker Room

Epic game in the opener as the Warriors blew a huge lead in the final four minutes when the Spurs went on 18-2 run and took the Spurs to double overtime. Manu Ginobili hit a trey to seal the game with 1.4 seconds left. The Warriors rank third in the NBA with 45 rebounds per game during the regular season and without David Lee they still out-rebounded the front court of Matt Bonner, Tim Duncan, Tiago Splitter and Boris Diaw. But during the final moments in game one, experience showed to be the difference when the Spurs locked down on defense and shut down the Warriors, causing them to turn the ball over. If the Warriors want to have a shot in winning, they need to play defense because the Spurs are not going to come out in game two like they did in game one.

San Antonio Spurs’ Locker Room

GINOBILI!!!!!! The  former sixth man of the year hit a game winning 3 with 1.4 seconds left allowing the Spurs to take game one at home. Averaging 25.1 assists per game ranking, which topped the NBA during the regular season, the Spurs showed why experience and teamwork plays a great part in winning playoff games. The big three in Ginobili, Duncan and Parker all showed up to play. Don’t expect any more game one come-from-behind wins from the Spurs, they were helped by Warriors inexperience.  The Spurs are 35-6 at home this season and so far are undefeated in the playoffs, they are going to have to shut down the dynamic backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson who combined for 63 points. Defense is the key.

Final Predictions

I see the Warriors stealing a game or two in San Antonio but the Spurs are just as good enough to steal a couple on the road.  Look for every game to be exciting, and it’s going to be a great series.

Spurs in 7

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How Westbrook Broke the West

It had been talked about too much amongst  NBA announcers and your friends. Whenever people keep bringing something up, things always seemed to get jinxed. But this streak wouldn’t end. With 394 straight regular season games played, 45 playoff games, and inhuman athleticism, Russell Westbrook’s streak seemed it could go on forever. The guy hasn’t missed a game since high school but will sit out indefinitely, 2 games up on the Rockets, in the first round of the 2013 Playoffs. After losing to the Heat in last year’s Finals, Westbrook will not be lining up against them again this season.  I’d be willing to bet everything that Westbrook would rather have lost his streak months ago then  have it taken away from him now.

The news that Russell Westbrook will undergo surgery to have his meniscus repaired is as bad for the NBA and Thunder as Westbrook’s fashion. Westbrook is a top 10 player in the NBA and arguably the best point guard. Westbrook’s speed, athleticism, and skill set force opposing to teams to focus on him and attempt to contain him. Patrick Beverly hit the superhuman point guard with some kryptonite in Game 2 of the series tearing his lateral meniscus. The injury leaves Thunder fans wishing that Westbrook’s punch on the scorer’s table after the injury had gone into Beverly’s face, and hoping that the Thunder can somehow persevere.

Westbrook averaged 7.4 assists, 23.2 points, 1.8 steals, and 5.2 rebounds per game. The Thunder will miss every single one of those statistics. There’s no James Harden to take over the point anymore, Eric Maynor was traded to save a few dollars, so Reggie Jackson will now be lining up in Westbrook’s slot. And if you’re saying the Thunder are stupid for making those moves months ago- shut up now. Shoulda, woulda, and coulda don’t win championships and the Thunder secured the number 1 seed in the West just fine. Bad luck got them in this situation, not bad management. Let’s not kid ourselves though, the team won’t rely on Reggie Jackson or need him to play at Westbrook’s level. We have no idea how the Thunder will play without Russell Westbrook because it hasn’t happened in 5 seasons. We do know that Kevin Durant will have to raise his game to a new level to keep his team alive. The scariest thing is that he’s entirely capable.

If you doubt that the Thunder can make it back to the NBA Finals, you are seriously underestimating Kevin Durant. While Durant may not be the best player in the NBA, he’s the second best basketball player on the planet. In case you forgot, Durant just became the youngest player to join the 50-40-90 Fraternity. He shot 51% from the field, 41% from three and 90% from the free throw line. I don’t know of a much harder pledge process than needing those numbers. A pregnant Kim Kardashian has a better chance of getting in her old jeans than someone does of getting into the 50-40-90 club. So, if you give Durant 10-12 more shots a game at his scary efficiency, its not unlikely for him to average 40 points a game. Durant’s 4.6 assists per game alongside only 3.5 turnovers per game prove he knows how to handle the ball. The team will miss Westbrook, but Durant and company can still get to the Finals. If the Durant and D-Wade Gatorade commercial is true, Durant’s going to give everything he has to get back into the Finals. It won’t be easy for them, but it’s not impossible. The Thunder may be down right now, but they aren’t out.

While the Thunder took a major hit in the defense of their western conference crown, the rest of the Western teams chances to make it to the Finals greatly improved. The Thunder entered the playoffs as the favorites to come out of the west, but Westbrook’s injury has evened up the race. The San Antonio Spurs are rolling over the Lakers behind a Tim Duncan who’s proving himself as the best power forward of all time. If anyone can be considered the new favorites it has to be them. The Warriors and Nuggets are lighting the scoreboard, despite both teams having suffered massive injuries themselves (Danillo Gallinari and David Lee).  The winner of the Clippers-Grizzlies series (who would play the Thunder if they go on to win next round) suddenly seems like a contender to take the west. Everything is up the air and an argument can be made for every team- besides the Lakers and Rockets. At the beginning of the NBA season it seemed destined to end with the Lakers, Thunder, or Heat as champions. The Lakers are all but done, the Thunder have fallen into the pack, and only the Heat remain the favorites. If Westbrook’s injury has shown us anything, don’t count your chips before their cashed. Everything can change on any given play.

The Betting Corner: Round , Day 2

 

Bracket

1 p.m EST on TNT

Atlanta Hawks @ Indiana Pacers

Series 0-0

 

5:30 p.m. EST on ABC

Los Angeles Lakers @ San Antonio Spurs

Series 0-0

 

7 p.m. EST on TNT

Milwaukee Bucks @ Miami Heat

Series 0-0

 

9:30 p.m. EST on TNT

Houston Rockets @ Oklahoma City Thunder

Series 0-0

 

Pacers/Hawks

At 1p.m. EsT we have the sixth-seeded Atlanta Hawks featuring Josh Smith and Jeff Teague visiting the  third-seeded Indiana Pacers with Paul George and David West. Indiana is trying to build on its great season despite missing star Danny Granger. The Pacers are 30-11 at home while the Hawks are 19-22  on the road.

 

11/7/12 Indiana @ Atlanta 86-89

12/29/12 Indiana @ Atlanta 100-109

2/5/13 Atlanta @ Indiana 103-114

3/25/13 Atlanta @ Indiana 94-100

 

As you can see the matchups these two teams have had in the regular season, home court advantage is HUGE and can determine the momentum of the series. I don’t want to sound like a broken record but the NBA playoffs are all about defense and limiting turnovers is a huge key to winning games. The Pacers and Hawks are similar in that category, with the Pacers committing 1227 turnovers while the Hawks committed 1219 for the whole season. While the Hawks are not known for their three-point prowess they rank 7th in the league in three-point percentage at 37.1 percent while the Pacers converted 34.7 of their three-point attempts. Whichever team can take care of the ball and limiting 3’s from the opposing team will win the game. But I do see this game going over the total 185.5

 

Key(s) to winning:Limiting turnovers and three-point percentage

 

1 Unit (Total over 185.5)

 

Lakers/Spurs

At 3:30PM EST comes one of the most exciting matchups we have in the West. The seventh-seeded Mamba-less Los Angeles Lakers visit the playoff experienced second-seeded San Antonio Spurs. The Spurs are 35-6 at home while the Lakers are an ugly 16-25 away from Staples Center.

 

11/13/12 San Antonio @ Los Angeles 84-82

1/9/13 Los Angeles @ San Antonio 105-108

4/14/13 San Antonio @ Los Angeles 86-91

 

With and without Kobe Bryant, the Lakers have managed to keep all three regular season meetings close. Both teams know each other very well and without a doubt the key players for this game will be Pau Gasol and Dwight Howard versus Tony Parker and Tim Duncan., Ever since the All-Star break and the passing of Lakers’ owner Jerry Buss, the Lakers have found a sense of urgency and have clawed themselves back into the playoff picture. The Spurs however have been well… the Spurs, despite several injuries throughout the season, with the  managed playing times of his star players, Gregg Popovich has a full squad ready for another championship run. It will be a close game and even though the final score will not show, free-throw percentage will determine the outcome of the game as the Spurs shoot .791 while the Lakers shoot a disastrous .692 from the charity stripe.

 

Key(s) to winning- Free-throw percentage along with  the Gasol/Howard versus Parker/Duncan matchup

 

1 Unit (Lakers +9)

 

 

Heat Bucks

 

Interesting matchup coming in at 7 p.m. EST, the top-seeded defending champions Miami Heat host the eighth-seeded Milwaukee Bucks. The Heat are 37-4 at home and the Bucks are 17-24 away from home.

 

11/21/12 Milwaukee @ Miami 106-113 OT

12/29/12 Miami @ Milwaukee 85-104

3/15/13 Miami @ Milwaukee 107-94

4/9/13 Milwaukee @ Miami 83-94

 

First questions that comes into mind, how many eightseeds have upset the No. 1 seed to move on to the second round? The answer is five.

 

  • The Denver Nuggets defeated the Seattle Supersonics 3-2 in 1994.
  • The New York Knicks defeated the Miami Heat in 1999, 3-2.
  • The Golden State Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks in 2007, 4-2.
  • The Memphis Grizzlies defeated the San Antonio Spurs in 2011, 4-2.
  • The Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Chicago Bulls in 2012, 4-2

 

Both teams will be healthy to start their playoff run, and as I’ve highlighted in red above, we have had upsets in the past twp years in a row where an eight seed knocked off a oneseed. Will Miami share the same fate or will it be the Thunder that will be a part of history? Opening games are always hard to predict even more so for this matchup, but 13 is just too much in a playoff game to be favorite by even when you’re the Heat.

 

Key(s) to winning- Big 3 of Miami Heat versus the entire Milwaukee Bucks

 

1 Unit (Milwaukee +13)

 

Thunder/Rockets

No hard feelings?  At 9:30PM EST we have another great matchup between the eighth-seeded Houston Rockets visiting the top-seeded Oklahoma City Thunder. The Thunder are 34-7 at home while the Rockets are 16-25 away from Toyota Center.

 

 

11/28/12 Houston @ OKC 98-120

12/29/12 OKC @ Houston 124-94

2/20/13 OKC @ Houston 119-122

 

If you’re looking for an up-tempo/transition type of game and you absolute HATE defense, look no further, we bring you Houston at Oklahoma City. Why no defense? The Houston Rockets are an atrocious 28th in the league at holding their opponents to 102.5 points per game while the Thunder sit 9th at 96.5 points per game allowed. Knowing that the Rockets can’t play defense, offense will be key to winning this game as the Rockets rank second in the league with 106 points per game and the Thunder just slightly behind at third with 105.7 points per game. Will The Thunder feel the effects of missing James Harden in the playoffs and be the sixth team to lose to an eighth seed? Or will  Harden finally get his revenge on his former team?

 

Key(s) to winning- First team to 100 wins.

 

1 Unit (Total over 213)

 

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Chin Tan
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