It’s been a wild run in the first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs. That’s putting it lightly. Wednesday night offered up the first time throughout the playoffs that a road team didn’t win, finally ending the chaos of home teams failing to come through in the clutch on their own court.
The San Antonio Spurs, Toronto Raptors and Houston Rockets all dug deep, taking 3-2 series leads with close wins on Wednesday night. In fact, the Rockets earned their first win at home in the entire playoffs on the backs of Jeremy Lin and Omer Asik.
Houston will look to stay alive in Portland on Friday, but for now we have a new slate of three games that could push our hearts to the test. Atlanta and Memphis have unlikely 3-2 series leads over the Indiana Pacers and Oklahoma City Thunder, respectively, while the Los Angeles Clippers look to finish their series off in Golden State with a game six win over the Warriors.
Let’s see who can advance in what figures to be another night of intense NBA action:
Indiana Pacers (1) @ Atlanta Hawks (8) – 7:00 PM ET
Indiana is such a mess that everyone would love the Hawks to steal this series at this point. The game is even in Atlanta, so it’s set up perfectly for the Hawks to pull off one of the few NBA first round upsets we have the luxury of seeing. However, a win tonight would also set Indiana up perfectly to exorcise their demons and close a seven game series out back at home.
Atlanta is a tough matchup for the Pacers because they space the floor out and unlike the Pacers, they fight and claw on every possession as a team. Expecting perfection is a bit much, though, so we’ll give the Pacers the nod.
Pick: Pacers 99, Hawks 93
Oklahoma City Thunder (2) @ Memphis Grizzlies (7) – 8:00 PM ET
Four straight overtime games. Need we say more? Memphis and OKC are engaged in a fiery series, one like we’ve never see before. Regardless of how this shakes out, NBA fans will be talking about this series for the remainder of the playoffs, while the epic clash of these two teams could go down in history as one of the best playoff series ever.
This series could easily be over already if the ball goes the other way a couple of times, while we could quite easily be headed for a fifth straight overtime contest. Memphis has the slight edge with the ability to close out the first round upset at home, but the Thunder won’t be denied of a game seven on their home floor.
Pick: Thunder 97, Grizzlies 94
Los Angeles Clippers (3) @ Golden State Warriors (6) – 10:30 PM ET
The Clips got out from under the dark cloud that is Donald Sterling and found a way to take back this series on Tuesday, stepping up with a 3-2 lead. It’s back in Golden State, though, where the pesky Warriors aren’t likely to go quietly. Los Angeles appears to be alive again, though, and will smell blood in game six, knowing they’re just one win away from round two.
Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan have been too much for Golden State to handle when they’re focused and on top of their game. Look for Griffin to take over in a big win to send L.A. to round two.
Pick: Clippers 108, Warriors 105