The first night of the NBA Playoffs did not disappoint, and Day 2 might be even more intriguing. The Boston Celtics face the Brooklyn Nets, and the winner of the series might be the presumptive favorite to represent the East in the NBA Finals. Of course, the defending champion Milwaukee Bucks are going to have a lot to say about that. And that doesn’t even count the fact that the No. 1 seeds in each conference are playing as the Miami Heat face the Atlanta Hawks and the Phoenix Suns take on the New Orleans Pelicans.
Atlanta Hawks (8) at Miami Heat (1)
When: 1 p.m. ET
Where: FTX Arena, Miami, Florida
Odds: Heat -6.5
Trae Young exploded to power the Hawks past the Cleveland Cavaliers in the play-in game. It’s clear that if you have an answer for Young, you are going to take care of business against the Hawks. But if you don’t have any answers for his explosive scoring, Atlanta can take down anyone. I’m going to assume Erik Spoelstra knows exactly what the Heat need to do to contain the damage wrought by Young. But Trae does love big moments.
Brooklyn Nets (7) at Boston Celtics (2)
When: 3:30 p.m. ET
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Massachusetts
Odds: Celtics -4
The Boston Celtics have been the most dangerous team for the past several months. Kevin Durant remains the most dangerous scorer in the NBA. And Kyrie Irving isn’t far behind when he has everything going his way. The Celtics will need to contain the Nets’ two superstars and force someone else to step up and contribute in a big way. Boston, meanwhile, can’t afford to fall way behind and need to be hitting on all cylinders pretty immediately.
Chicago Bulls (6) at Milwaukee Bucks (3)
When: 6:30 p.m. ET
Where: Fiserv Forum, Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Odds: Bucks -10.5
While they exploded out of the gate, regression and injury have turned the Bulls into a bit of a paper tiger in these playoffs. It doesn’t seem like the Bucks should have much difficulty with them at all. Guess they should have traded for Jerami Grant when they had the chance.
New Orleans Pelicans (8) at Phoenix Suns (1)
When: 9 p.m. ET
Where: Footprint Center, Phoenix, Arizona
Odds: Suns -10.5
Whereas the Bulls are fading, it’s clear that the Pelicans are ascending at just the right time. The Suns, meanwhile, have been steady all season and simply taken care of business whenever challenged. Do they have another gear as the postseason begins? Do they even need another gear to make it back to the NBA Finals?