The team with more rest (10 days) has an advantage over a team that played just two days ago...or not. Both the Lakers and the Magic won a deciding game 7 just two days ago on Sunday, while their opponents had taken care of business a week before, left waiting on ice for the opponent.
Both game 1's of the Conference Finals shared common trends. The well rested teams (Nuggets and Cavs) dominated the first quarter, but allowed the opposing team to hang around, leaving the door open for a comeback, eventually losing by a slim margin. The well rested teams struggled at the free throw line at crucial moments of the game, with Cavs shooting 70% and the Nuggets 65%. Both the Nuggets and the Cavs looked tired at the end of the game, thanks to an extended layoff without real game speed conditioning.
I still don't believe in Magic, despite the improbable game 1 upset. LeBron got off to such a hot start and made spectators out of his team mates, as he got little support from his usually sharp shooting back court. The Cavs could lose game 2 and I still favor them to win the series, they just need to rebuild their momentum lost from being idle last week.
I still think the Nuggets will find a way to win the series over the Lakers. If they do, JR Smith's scoring off the bench will be the reason. Coach Karl needs to play Smith with Carmello, so JR can hit open shots when 'Melo draws the double team.
The rest will pay off later for the Nuggets and Cavs.
-The Draft Lottey took place Tuesday and the Warriors drew the 7th overall pick in the 2009 draft on June 25th. The Pacific Division rival Clippers wound up with the first overall pick and are expected to select the much coveted Blake Griffin.
-Former Warrior's guard Mickael Pietrus has upped the level of his play during the post season. He contributed 13 points, going 2-5 from 3 point range, and had the unenviable task as the primary defender on LeBron James. Good to see Pietrus get playing time and have success.