Another Week Of NBA Playoff Action
That was a scintillating weekend of NBA action and once again, the NBA Playoffs do not fail to excite. Sometimes your Sunday can feel a bit flat or jaded but not this one with the Sunday afternoon game between the Bulls and the Cavs serving up more than enough to get excited about.
Big players turn up at the big times and everyone would agree that LeBron James is a big basketball player. His buzzer beating shot ensured that the Cleveland Cavaliers tied their series with the Chicago Bulls at 2-2, ensuring that this is a series that lives up to expectations. There is a great deal to be said for buzzer beating action and it follows on neatly from the Derrick Rose finale in Game 3 of the series.
It seems as though the coach had one idea for the final play of regular time but LeBron had a different idea, and he was the man that called the shots, and the man that made the shot. The 84-86 win was a tough one for the Bulls to take but this is a series that you cannot take your eyes off.
The other game saw the Clippers race into a 3-1 lead in their series with a 128-95 victory. It may have lacked the last second drama that the other game had, but it definitely had plenty of great basketball action. The Los Angeles side are now looking good for the Conference final but they have a bit to do to get over the line in this series.
Atlanta Hawks @ Washington Wizards
The Wizards are finding out a lot about themselves during this series and while the Paul Pierce buzzer beating shot at the climax of Game 3 was a brilliant thing for the team, the real joy may have come from the fact that they learned that they can without John Wall. There are rumours that Wall may not return this series, and if the Wizards progress, he could be out for longer. This gives the team a lot to think about so showing that they can dig out results has to be seen as a good thing, and the Washington side head into this one hoping to open up a commanding 3-1 lead over the team from Atlanta in this series.
Otto Porter has delivered 32 points in the last two games, and if every player chips in and adds something to their game, there is a chance that the Washington side will be able to minimise the loss of Wall. John Wall is clearly a massive player for the Wizards and any team would rue his absence but you have to deal with injuries and absences if you want to win, and there is hope that the Wizards may be able to keep on rolling even without a talismanic figure like Walls.
The Hawks had a tremendous season, winning 60 games, which was a franchise record and they also earned a top seed spot for the first time in 21 years. However, this all counts for nothing at the moment with the Hawks struggling to stay in the series. They may have had the best road record in the regular season but with 9 defeats in 12 games, the Atlanta side are desperate to recapture what made their regular season so special.
It was the reserves that made a better fist of things in Game 3, offering a 17-0 run late on in the game that brought them back into and it was Mike Muscala that shot with less than 15 seconds on the clock to draw the Hawks level. When you take on board the fact that the starters only grabbed 51 points, they really need to up their game or get out of the way and let the reserves show what they are capable of.
The Hawks come into this game with a 65-26 record and this includes a 26-19 record on the road and a 5-5 record in their 10 most recent games. The Wizards are currently 52-37 for the season and this includes a 32-12 record at home and a 7-2 record in their 10 most recent games. For average points scored, the Hawks lead 102.5 to 99.1 and for average points against, the Hawks lead 97.1 to 97.9.
The Hawks will be desperate to bounce back in this game and taking them at -4.5, with odds of 1.90, may be a decent bet for Monday in the NBA. Bet Now!
Golden State Warriors @ Memphis Grizzlies
For so long the Warriors looked the top team in the NBA but they now stand on the brink of falling 3-1 behind to the Memphis Grizzlies. The Warriors will be looking to avoid their biggest losing streak in a year and a half in this game after dropping the last two games to the Grizzlies. There is clearly a long way to go and there is no reason to think that panic is setting into the Warriors campaign just yet but if this game results in another home win, it may be that the Warriors are at tipping point for the season.
With 67 wins in the regular season and then five wins in a row in the Playoffs, the Warriors were looking great but now they have dipped into a loss of form that very few people saw coming. As Klay Thompson says, this game may not be a must-win but it comes perilously close to be being a must-win game. The Grizzlies have defended superbly, limiting Stephen Curry and hustling their opponents all over the court. The Grizzlies have a strong record in taking out the number one seeds, they will be looking to achieve this for the third time in 5 years this season. They are also looking to reach their second conference final in the space of three years, which would be a tremendous achievement. The Grizzlies also know that when Mike Conley plays, they have a great chance of winning as they are 5-0 for the post-season with him involved and 4-0 at home. These are the sort of stats that fans cling to, and it may be that Conley will be the key figure in this game.
The Warriors are 72-17 with a 30-14 record on the road and an 8-2 record in their 10 most recent games. The Grizzlies are 61-29 for the campaign with a 35-10 record at home and a 7-3 record in their 10 most recent games. For average points scored, the Warriors lead 109.3 to 98.3 and for average points against, the Grizzlies lead 94.9 to 99.7.
However, you have to think that Warriors are not going to accept defeat easily in this one. It would be a tremendous shame if a team who had such a formidable season was to lay down and roll over, so taking the Golden State Warriors with a -5 handicap, at odds of 1.90, is likely to be a very strong bet for this game. Bet Now!