Here’s what we know regarding the National Basketball Association Playoffs heading into more action tonight. We have a tremendous series underway between the Warriors and Nuggets. The Lakers are as good as gone and the Knicks are a win away from a sweep over the rival Celtics.
Golden State survived Steph Curry being on a gimpy ankle to beat Denver 110-108 in California last night. The win gives the Warriors a 2-1 lead into an extremely important game four. The way things are going for the Nuggets right now, they cannot afford to return home down 3-1.
With their season hanging in the balance, the Los Angeles Lakers were bludgeoned at home in the Staples Center 120-89 by San Antonio who now has a commanding 3-0 lead in that series. Tim Duncan bested Dwight Howard’s 25 points with 26 of his own and Metta World Peace is more than likely out for game four with knee issues.
In Boston last night, the Knicks moved a step closer to a sweep with a 90-76 win over the Celtics. Carmelo Anthony scored 26 points and Raymod Felton had a big game distributing the ball with 10 assists. If New York gets the sweep they might have to do it without J.R. Smith who elbowed Jason Terry in the face in the 4th quarter and was ejected.
On Tap for Tonight
Brooklyn at Chicago (Bulls lead series 2-1) – The Nets enter tonight’s contest as three point underdogs in the Windy City. The Bulls are very good at home and since game one, they seem to have made the necessary adjustments on the defensive end and that’s why I like the Bulls tonight. Their aggressiveness in the paint has clearly bothered Brook Lopez whose game relies on more finesse. Take the Bulls to win by five tonight in a pivotal game for the Nets.
Indiana at Atlanta (Pacers lead series 2-0) – The Hawks are favored by 2.5 points tonight in a game they must have. Right now, Atlanta just has no answer for Paul George who has dominated the series. This was expected to be a fairly defensive series but to this point Indiana has not had any problems scoring and I don’t see much changing in Atlanta today. Look for a closer game but I like Indiana to win by five or more tonight.
LA Clippers at Memphis (Clips lead series 2-1) – The Grizzlies returned to their defensive ways in closing the series to two games to one against the Clippers. They seemed to be able frustrate game two hero Chris Paul to the point where he seemed out of sorts at times but I don’t expect that to happen again. I full expect Clippers’ Head Coach Vinny Del Negro to limit Zach Randolph from crushing his team inside like he did in game three. The Griz are favored tonight by three and half games but I’m going with the LAC tonight to go home with a 3-1 lead.
Oklahoma City at Houston (Thunder lead series 2-0) – The obvious storyline coming out of this series is the loss of Russell Westbrook for Oklahoma City. He was scheduled for surgery and is out indefinitely for the time being. Once the surgery is complete, a more specific timeline on his potential return will be available.
Westbrook’s injury completely changes the landscape of the playoffs in the Western Conference. While I expect OKC to get past the Rockets in this series, I can’t say as much for the next round regardless of who they play. Westbrook is incredibly important to what the Thunder do on both ends of the court and he is the perfect compliment to Kevin Durant. With his scoring and play-making gone, the onus shifts to Durant to save the day but he can’t do it alone.
Look for Houston to win tonight as OKC deals with the loss of their catalyst.