What can Steph Curry do for an encore?
On Sunday, Curry turned in a heroic 50-point effort in the Golden State Warriors’ Game 7 victory over the Sacramento Kings, setting up a Western Conference semifinals matchup with the Los Angeles Lakers.
The 50 points was a playoff career-high for Curry. It was a performance that capped off a big-time comeback for the Warriors, who fell behind 0-2 to the Kings but rallied to take the series in seven games.
Now in Round 2, it’s a quick turnaround for the Warriors entering Game 1 at home vs. the Lakers on Tuesday night.
The Lakers took care of the Memphis Grizzlies in six games and clinched the series with a 40-point blowout on Friday. With a few days’ rest advantage, LeBron James and the Lakers will head to Oakland for Game 1.
The Lakers are 4.5-point underdogs at BetMGM with the total listed at 227.5. For the series, the Warriors are -160 favorites while the Lakers are +130 underdogs.
Entering the series, the defending champion Warriors have the third-best odds to win the title at +500. The Lakers are down at +800.
Can the Knicks bounce back in Game 2?
Over in the East, the New York Knicks are looking to avoid falling into an 0-2 hole in their semifinal series with the Miami Heat.
In Game 1 at Madison Square Garden, the Knicks led for nearly the entire first half before the Heat surged back and took the lead in the third quarter. The Heat have a significant edge in postseason experience, and it showed in the second half. With Jimmy Butler leading the way, the Heat made the tough shots necessary to register a 108-101 upset victory.
The Knicks were a four-point favorite in Game 1. For Game 2, the Knicks are favored by 6.5 points at BetMGM, but there’s a good chance that number could move depending on the injury situations for several key players.
Butler has been stellar throughout the postseason, but is questionable for Game 2 after suffering a sprained ankle late in Game 1. On the Knicks side, Julius Randle and Jalen Brunson are also listed as questionable. Randle missed Game 1. Brunson had 25 points, but was an uncharacteristic 0-of-7 from 3 with five turnovers in the loss.
NHL 2nd round begins
The second round of the NHL playoffs begins on Tuesday night.
In the Eastern Conference, the Toronto Maple Leafs will host the Florida Panthers, who are fresh off a massive upset Game 7 over the top-seeded Boston Bruins. For Game 1, the Leafs are -160 favorites with the Panthers at +135. For the series, the Leafs are -165 and the Panthers are +140.
In the West, the Dallas Stars are -175 favorites at home vs. the Seattle Kraken (+145). Seattle is coming off a Game 7 road upset over the Colorado Avalanche while the Stars took care of the Minnesota Wild in six games. For the series, the Stars are -200 favorites with the Kraken set as +160 underdogs.
Bryce Harper’s return headlines busy day in MLB
There are 15 games on the schedule for Tuesday in Major League Baseball. The most intriguing game of the day comes in the nightcap in Los Angeles with the Dodgers hosting the Philadelphia Phillies.
For the Phillies, two-time MVP Bryce Harper is set to return to the lineup after offseason Tommy John surgery. Harper led the Phillies to an NL pennant last year, and is hoping to lead the Phillies to greater heights this season.
Harper will be in the lineup as the designated hitter on Tuesday night, but the Dodgers are the home favorites (-165) at BetMGM. Julio Urias is on the mound for Los Angeles while Matt Strahm will get the start for Philly (+140).
What’s the best bet?
I like the spot for the Lakers here with the added rest advantage and the Warriors coming off such a hard-fought series. Curry almost single-handedly propelled Golden State to that Game 7 win as none of his teammates had more than 17 points.
Led by LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers are a team that fits well together and is peaking at the right time. I'll take the Lakers +4.5.