Change the record. It seems this year’s edition of the NBA Playoffs are having every game go down to the wire, if not take it one step further with a run into overtime. That’s exactly what happened yet again on Saturday, as the first game of the day between the Indiana Pacers and Atlanta Hawks came down to the final shot and game two between the Dallas Mavericks and San Antonio Spurs ended with a buzzer beater from Vince Carter.
The Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies one-upped everyone in the final game of the night, though, as they entered their third straight overtime game, ending with a Thunder victory and a 2-2 series tie.
Sunday’s games have their work cut out for them. While it will be hard to match the previous days intensity, the way the playoffs have been going, it’s not smart to be against it happening.
However, there is a full four-game slate of NBA games for the second day in a row. Let’s break all four games down and hand out our picks:
Chicago Bulls (4) @ Washington Wizards (5) – 1:00 PM ET
The Chicago Bulls shockingly dropped the first two games of this series on their own floor, but somehow stole game three in Washington. Suddenly they’re one win away from evening a series many had felt they already lost, and could return to Chicago with a ton of momentum.
The Bulls’ chances of doing so get better in game three, as Wizards big man Nene Hilario will miss the game due to suspension for attacking Chicago guard, Jimmy Butler. Down a man, Washington will be facing an uphill battle trying to take a 3-1 series lead over a hungry Bulls squad.
Pick: Bulls 91, Wizards 88
Los Angeles Clippers (3) @ Golden State Warriors – 3:30 PM ET
Golden State squeaked by with a win in game one, but have since been blown out and edged out in the last two games. The Clippers’ size has clearly been overpowering, while their perimeter defense continues to make things difficult for star point guard, Stephen Curry.
Curry could easily erupt in a huge game four at home, and that’s exactly what he’ll need to do for the Warriors to battle back and even the series at two games apiece.
Pick: Warriors 107, Clippers 103
Toronto Raptors (3) @ Brooklyn Nets (6) – 7:00 PM ET
This series has been very back and forth, with all three games coming down to the wire and the Nets holding a narrow 2-1 advantage. Toronto will have to find a way to beat the Nets at their own game in Brooklyn on Sunday evening, as the Nets have routinely made the smart play at the right time.
DeMar DeRozan has dropped two straight 30 point games in a row, but he’ll need extra help for the Raptors to get this series locked up at 2-2. Look for point guard Kyle Lowry to get things going in game four as Toronto earns a close win.
Pick: Raptors 98, Nets 95
Houston Rockets (4) @ Portland Trail Blazers (5) – 9:30 PM ET
The final game of the night comes from probably the most entertaining series of the playoffs, as the Rockets and Blazers put up loads of points and seem to play every game down to the wire. Houston barely stayed alive in Portland in game three, winning a close battle in overtime to get their first win of the series.
LaMarcus Aldridge also failed to top 40 points for the first game of the series, making it seems like if he doesn’t, the Blazers might find it difficult to win. With the Rockets adjusting and putting the defensive-minded Omer Asik on Aldridge, that theory could very well be tested once again in game four.
The Blazers are at home and could absolutely crush the Rocket’s spirits with another tight win to go up 3-1 in the series, but Houston is still waiting on a truly efficient game from star guard, James Harden. Tonight would be a good night for that to pop up.
Pick: Rockets 111, Blazers 108