The first weekend of the 2015 NBA playoffs went mostly as expected, with the only lower seeds that emerged victorious coming in the No.4 vs. No.5 matchups. Both the Golden State Warriors and Chicago Bulls had relatively easy wins in their first-round series openers, and the home teams are looking to do the same in Game 2 on Monday night.
Golden State entered the postseason with just two losses at home, and they were barely in any trouble of losing Game 1 against the New Orleans Pelicans. The Milwaukee Bucks struggled in the final two months of the season, and they didn’t test the Bulls much in the second half of their Game 1 loss to Chicago.
Both Golden State and New Orleans rank in the top nine in offensive efficiency, and Game 2 of their first-round matchup is expected to produce significantly more points than Monday’s contest between Chicago and Milwaukee. While the Bulls had the bigger margin of victory on Saturday, the Warriors have been made bigger favorites, according to Las Vegas betting odds.
Chicago vs. Milwaukee will start NBA playoff action on Monday night, followed by Golden State vs. New Orleans. Both games will be broadcast nationally on TNT, but only one can be seen online via TNT Overtime.
Below is a closer look at Game 2 of both first-round playoff series.
Milwaukee Bucks vs. Chicago Bulls
The Cleveland Cavaliers are favored to win the East, and many consider the No.3-seeded Bulls to be the toughest potential opponent for LeBron James and Co. If Derrick Rose continues to perform like he did in Game 1, Chicago might have a real chance to defeat the Cavs in the next round.
Rose missed 31 games in the regular season, including all of March and three games in April. He averaged 17.7 points and 4.9 assists, while shooting 40.5 percent from the field. After showing just flashes of playing like his old self in the regular season, the point guard looked like the player that won the 2011 MVP award on Saturday, posting 23 points and seven assists in just 27 minutes.
Milwaukee only scored 91 points, and their top offensive players weren’t very productive. Michael Carter-Williams totaled just nine points on 13 shot attempts, and Giannis Antetokounmpo missed nine of his 13 field-goal attempts.
The Bucks will look to slow down Rose in Game 2, having been the conference’s best defensive team through 82 games. They also allowed Jimmy Butler to lead all scorers on Saturday with 25 points.
Start Time: 8 p.m. ET
Point Spread: Bulls by 8 points
Over/Under: 186.5 points
TV Channel: TNT
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Golden State Warriors
After dominating the NBA like no other team in the regular season, Golden State continued that success in Game 1. They held off New Orleans, 106-99, leading by double-digits for most of the way.
The Warriors took a 28-13 lead into the second quarter, and they led by as much as 25 points with less than a minute to go in the third quarter. Stephen Curry played every bit like the MVP favorite that he is, scoring 34 points on over 50 percent shooting from the field. Every Golden State starter scored at least 12 points.
Even though they were dominated for much of the game, the Pelicans can take a few positives away from their loss. After falling behind 84-59, New Orleans went on a 40-19 run, spearheaded by MVP candidate Anthony Davis. Davis scored 20 of his 35 points in the final quarter, and New Orleans is hoping they can build off of their late run.
Golden State will be without one of their big men, once again. David Lee missed the regular season finale and Game 1 with a lower back injury. He averaged 7.9 points and 5.2 rebounds in 49 regular season games, down from 18.2 points and 8.3 boards per contest in the previous season.
Start Time: 10:30 p.m. ET
Point Spread: Warriors by 12.5 points
Over/Under: 205.5 points
TV Channel: TNT
Online Stream: TNT Overtime