NBA Playoff Picks and Predictions for Tuesday April 21

NBA Playoff Picks and Predictions for Tuesday April 21

NBA Playoff Picks and Predictions for Tuesday April 21

Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their NBA picks and predictions for Tuesday, April 21.

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Detroit Pistons at Cleveland Cavaliers, 8:05PM ET

Detroit coach Michael Curry got home Saturday night after his team's playoff loss and stayed up late watching a movie.

It was like one of those slasher genre films: predictable plot, unstoppable villain, sequel-spawning finish. No blood or gratuitous gore in this one, though, just bodies everywhere.

Pistons splayed all over the floor.

LeBron James was a hardwood horror for Detroit in Game 1.

James, in get-out-of-my-way overdrive from the outset, scored 38 points - mostly on shots from near range - and got all his teammates involved as the Cavaliers, and their highly evolved offense, rolled to a 102-84 win over the Pistons, who went back to the drawing board to devise a new plan for James in Game 2 on Tuesday night.

NBA Free Pick: Cleveland | Best Line: -11.5 Sports Interaction

Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers, 10:05PM ET

Considering Yao Ming's flawless shooting in Houston's playoff-opening victory over Portland, the Trail Blazers are rethinking their strategy for the Rockets' towering center.

``We tried to play behind him. So we'll make adjustments for the next game,'' Blazers center Joel Przybilla said. ``He hit every shot he took so we gotta do something.''

Yao hit all nine of his shots and all six of his free throw attempts, and the Rockets went on to defeat the Blazers 108-81 Saturday night in the first game of the best-of-seven playoff series between the two teams. They meet again Tuesday night at Portland's Rose Garden.

All of Yao's 24 points came in the first half, as he got Houston off to a fast start after scoring nine of the team's first 11 points. He also had nine rebounds in the game.

He said afterward he had taken inspiration from teammate Brent Barry, a 14-season veteran in the NBA.

NBA Free Pick: Houston | Best Line: +5.5 Sports Interaction

Utah Jazz at Los Angeles Lakers, 10:35PM ET

Phil Jackson wants a better sustained effort from the Lakers against the Utah Jazz. Not a repeat of the second half when Utah camped out at the free-throw line, scored inside and mucked up the flow.

Sure, the Lakers won Sunday's series opener by 13 points, but they got outscored in the second half after leading by 22 at the break.

Jackson was so displeased with the final 24 minutes that he wrote a message afterward in the locker room: ``15? Not like that.'' He was referring to the team needing 15 more victories to win its first NBA championship since 2002.

``We're not going to win 15 games if we play like that,'' Jackson said Monday. ``This is a time of the season where you look for improvement.''

The Jazz will be looking to end its 10-game losing skid at Staples Center in Game 2 Tuesday night. Utah coach Jerry Sloan questioned his team's nastiness after their loss, and he was still prodding them Monday.

NBA Free Pick: LA Lakers | Best Line: -11.5 Sports Interaction

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