Al Jefferson has been hobbled through the first two games of the Charlotte Bobcats’ first round series with the Miami Heat. Still, he’s found a way to be productive on offense in two close losses. With the series shifting back to Charlotte and the Bobcats in an 0-2 hole, however, the man known as “Big Al” will have to turn in his best performance of the playoffs to keep his team from dreading a sweep.

Jefferson and the Bobcats’ plight to earn their first victory of the playoffs is just one storyline, however. The East’s top-seeded Pacers aim to avoid a 3-1 hole in Atlanta, while the Dallas Mavericks look to shock the Spurs with a 2-1 lead and the Thunder look to even things up with the Grizzlies.

It’s an action packed four-game day of NBA basketball, and we’ve got you covered with previews and picks for all four contests:

Indiana Pacers (1) @ Atlanta Hawks (8) – 2:00 PM ET

The first game of the day comes early, and it’s arguably the most interesting one. Indiana has not been the dominant team that began the 2013-14 season, and if they lose game four they will suddenly be one game away from losing a first round series to the bottom seed.

Game four may beg for a change, as center Roy Hibbert has been flat out abysmal on offense. The Hawks stole game three and carry a 2-1 lead, and should play with little pressure at home. Atlanta could definitely come out and crush it if they play relaxed, but Indiana is too talented to fall into such a big hole. Despite it seemingly suddenly going against conventional wisdom, look for the Pacers to even things up at two games apiece.

Pick: Pacers 106, Hawks 95

San Antonio Spurs (1) @ Dallas Mavericks (8) – 4:30 PM ET

Saturday’s second game is another top seed and bottom seed clash, as the Spurs travel to Dallas to try to break a 1-1 tie. Dallas won a blowout in game two, breaking a long string of losses to the Spurs and suddenly gaining confidence that they just might be able to accomplish the impossible.

The Spurs are just as good on the road as they are at home, though, and they’re too well coached and too disciplined to come out and get roasted for a second game in a row. Dallas will likely give them all they can handle, but Coach of the Year Gregg Popovich should have the Spurs ready to take a 2-1 series lead.

Pick: Spurs 97, Mavericks 92

Miami Heat (2) @ Charlotte Bobcats (7) – 7:00 PM ET

LeBron James and company leave South Beach for Charlotte, where they’ll take on the Bobcats in an effort to take a commanding 3-0 series lead. The Bobcats have been pesky through the first two games, but it’s quickly become clear that they are going to have a difficult time winning unless their defense plays at an elite level for all four quarters.

Miami has started slow in two straight games, but as all elite teams do, have found a way to close both games strong. It won’t be easy on the road, but the Heat should be able to find a way to overcome the Bobcats, who just aren’t themselves with big man Al Jefferson at less than 100% (foot).

Pick: Heat 105, Bobcats 99

Oklahoma City Thunder (2) @ Memphis Grizzlies (7) – 9:30 PM ET

The final game of the night should be the most entertaining, as the Thunder and Grizzlies join together for their fourth battle of the 2014 NBA Playoffs. OKC stole game one at home, but have since dropped two straight overtime thriller, one at home and the other in Memphis in game three.

Game four is in Memphis, as well, where the gritty Grizzlies seem to be at their best. Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook will certainly look to bring their “A” game to what figures to be a must-win game. While a third straight overtime game certainly can’t be ruled out, it’s hard to imagine the Thunder not showing up enough to force a series tie.

Pick: Thunder 101, Grizzlies 98

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