The 2016 NBA playoffs rage on tonight, as three more games hit the hardwood as we inch closer to round two. Stephen Curry got hurt again and the Cavs and Spurs both advanced, but we still have a lot to worry about in round one. Tonight the Thunder can join the Spurs and Thunder in round two, while both Miami and Los Angeles have a shot at taking commanding 3-1 leads in their respective first round series.

The question, of course, is will they? Let’s take a look at each of tonight’s NBA playoff matchups to find out:

Clippers (4) @ Blazers (5)

Line: Clippers -3.5 Total: 205.5

Portland looked like a different team at home in game three, while we can’t dismiss the fact that Blake Griffin went from dominant to dormant in this series. It will likely take an awakening to have L.A. hold onto control of this series, and Griffin has to know that. The Blazers aren’t even favorites at home after stealing game three, and the big reason why is the Clippers are the better team. More importantly, it’s hard to say Griffin being grounded for the third straight game.

Portland has countered Griffin’s strength and explosiveness with the quicker Mo Harkless, but that matchup can’t prove effective forever. Mason Plumlee has also held his own down low the past two games, but he isn’t the defender or scorer the Blazers need him to be for an entire series. Portland has hung tight and very well could steal another game, but if the Clippers want to avoid a disaster, they know putting away tonight’s game in Portland is crucial.

Pick: Clippers 107, Blazers 102

Heat (3) @ Hornets (6)

Line: Hornets -2 Total: 195.5

Charlotte surprised many by claiming game three despite Nicolas Batum being on the shelf, and a big reason why was a spirited performance from Jeremy Lin and both Frank Kaminsky and Al Jefferson getting starting nods. That size advantage was key, as was a very focused and effective Lin. The Hornets are great at home, but they looked over-matched through the first two games and them winning two straight without Batum feels like a reach. They’ll need another big game out of Lin or Kemba Walker to go nuts, but against a strong Miami defense, neither are locks.

The one caveat for Miami here is the potential absence of center Hassan Whiteside. He’s iffy with a thigh injury and if he sits, Charlotte would suddenly have a huge size advantage, as well as less resistance around the rim. Whiteside is likely to play and has dominated in the first three games, however, so it’s unlikely an edge the Hornets get to try to exploit.

Pick: Heat 101, Hornets 97

Mavericks (6) @ Thunder (3)

Line: Thunder -14.5 Total: 205.5

Dallas is severely banged up and truth be told, they did all they could to steal game two in this series. This should have been a sweep, if not for a late tip-in and some solid effort from Dirk Nowitzki. The Mavs need to re-tool for next year and it was nice to avoid the broom, but this one ends tonight.

Pick: Thunder 111, Mavs 92

Related Articles
Leave Your Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *