In Game 1 of their respective conference semifinals, both #2 seeds have surrendered homecourt advantage to their lower ranked foes.
For the Cavs, the injury to Kevin Love and the suspension of J.R. Smith proved too costly. Missing two starters, the Cavs struggled to find the points and lost to the visiting Bulls. In the opposite conference, the Houston Rockets failed to take advantage of a five day break and the absence of Clippers star PG Chris Paul who didn't play because of a strained left hamstring.
Enter Game 2. The Cavs will still be without J.R. Smith for one more game because of suspension while the Clippers may have Chris Paul back. How will these two key situations affect tomorrow's games?
We'll help you answer that question by previewing Game 2 of the Cavs-Bulls and Rockets-Clippers series scheduled for tomorrow. We'll also be giving you the SportHold Super Prediction score to help you make your picks for Wednesday's double header challenge.
The SportHold Super Prediction score is based on the collated predictions of SportHold users. Our users enter their predictions in our challenges page and we come up with a set of picks based on those. Those picks become our voice- or the voice of the crowd. The more predictions we get, the stronger our voice is. Remember that there is strength in numbers. Here at SportHold though, we just don't come up with a voice, but our users compete with others in our leaderboard. We give out points to every prediction you make, depending on the accuracy. Users also get points when they test their Sports IQ at our mini-games and even get a chance to win cash prizes by predicting the exact scores of NBA games. To get you started, here is the Prediction Data for May 06 to help you out:
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With Kevin Love and J.R. Smith out in Game 1, the Cleveland Cavaliers turned to their King and savior to deliver the victory for them. Unfortunately, King James didn't deliver the big game that was expected of him.
LeBron James flirted with a triple double by posting a statline of 19 points, 15 rebounds and 9 assists but he did so with 6 turnovers and by shooting 9-22 from the field. Those were good numbers but James wasn't efficient enough to stop Chicago's raging Bulls.The Cavs had no answer for the Bulls' pick and roll game with Derrick Rose either creating his own shots or dishing off to Pau Gasol for the easy two points. Rose finished with 25 points and 5 assists, including 3-6 from three ball. On the other hand, Pau Gasol scored 21 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and issued 4 assists on top of 4 blocked shots.
Kyrie Irving led the Cavs with 30 points while Iman Shuumpert added 22 points as Smith's replacement in the starting unit but the closest the Cavs got to the Bulls was within two points midway in the fourth quarter before Rose's 20 footer quashed the rally.
Cleveland felt the absence of Love and Smith who were their top two three point shooters. The Cavs shot just 7-26 from dowtown while the Bulls went 10-18. Veteran shooter Mike Miller started in Love's absence but he scored just three points in 16 minutes and was a -20 on the floor for the Cavs.
Unfortunately for the Cavs, J.R. Smith is still suspended for one more game, meaning he won't be seeing action tomorrow and that makes LeBron's life more difficult. But remember that the Bulls' Game 1 win was only their fourth in 16 meetings against LeBron James in the postseason. And speaking of James (again), he's never started any playoff series 0-2 since 2008 against the Celtics so we expect a big bounce back game from the King.
The Bulls have been in this situation before against LeBron, winning the series opener against the King's Heat in 2011 and 2013. But during both occassions, they lost four games in a row
after winning Game 1 so that's something they should be thinking about.
The L.A. Clippers erased all doubts that their legs were gone after a gruelling seven game series with the San Antonio Spurs. Instead, they carried the momentum of their monumental Game 7 win to surprise a flat Houston Rockets' team and win even without superstar PG Chris Paul.
Paul, the hero of Game 7 who delivered the game winning basket with one second left, didn't see action in Game 1 because of a strained left hamstring. But the Clippers used a balanced attack that saw six players score in double digits to neutralize CP3s absence. Blake Griffin led the team with his second consecutive triple double of the playoffs by scoring 26 points, grabbing 14 boards and issuing 13 dimes. Jamal Crawford scored 21 points while Matt Barnes added 20. Guards J.J. Redick and backup Austin Rivers (who started in place of CP3) chipped in 17 points each for the Clippers.
The Clippers shot lights out from downtown in Game 1, hitting an NBA record 11 three pointers in the second half. But it was the energy that they played with in the second half which stunned the Rockets. Behind Griffin, the Clippers outscored the Rockets 71-51 in the game's final two quarters. With Paul possibly out in Game 2, the Clippers need that kind of energy and effort to duplicate that victory.
James Harden scored 20 points in Game 1 or seven below his average. But it was his 9 turnovers which really hurt the Rockets who as a team gave up 34 points off turnovers. Aside from turnovers, the Rockets need to play harder off the boards because they were outrebounded 35-42 in Game 1.
The Clippers have won three straight road games in the 2015 NBA playoffs and they're looking to take the first ever 2-0 2nd round series lead in franchise history tomorrow. They have never advanced past the second round of the playoffs but after dethroning the Spurs in Round 1, they are as confident as they'v ever been .
There's still time to make your picks. So what are you waiting for? Sign up at SportHold.com and tell us what the scores will be in our next challenge. If you’re correct, it’s prizes you’ll collect.