Sunday night was the first unkind night of the 2015 NBA playoffs, as we went just 1-2 with our daily NBA picks. We published our daily column too late to include our Cavs over the Celtics pick, and could have been a respectable 2-2 on the day. The Rockets and Clippers both ruined it for us, as Houston couldn’t pull off the sweep in Dallas and the Clippers rebounded from a horrendous game three performance to steal back the momentum from the Spurs. That drops us to 23-5, but we can make up for it with three more games hitting the schedule tonight.
Two more series can come to a close as we get the week started, as the Bulls can take out the Bucks in Chicago in game five and the Grizzlies can sweep the Blazers in Portland. Both may be easier said than done, while it will also be interesting to see if the Nets can tie up their series with the East’s top-seeded Hawks. Overall, tonight might be one of the toughest slates to call in these young playoffs. Let’s get to it:
Atlanta Hawks (1) @ Brooklyn Nets (8)
Brooklyn stole game three once this series shifted to the Barclays Center. Their ability to play their best ball on their home floor absolutely gives them a fighter’s chance in this series, but in order to be a real threat they’ll have to capitalize tonight with a win. Deron Williams is banged up and really has been terrible through the first three games. Brook Lopez will be the main force on offense once again, but if Al Horford can do a better job on him in game four the Nets could be in trouble on offense. Overall, Atlanta is the better team and they have to know they can’t afford to let this series get tied up. Look for them to get closer to the second round by distancing themselves with a win tonight.
Pick: Hawks 104, Nets 102
Milwaukee Bucks (6) @ Chicago Bulls (3)
The Bucks showed a lot of heart over the past two games, but they only have one win to show for it. Truth be told, if Derrick Rose doesn’t fall asleep on two plays in a row, this series might be over. Things shift back to Chicago tonight, where the Bulls are going to want to put things to bed. Look for Derrick Rose to attack early and Chicago’s defense to do a better job stifling Milwaukee’s offense.
Pick: Bulls 103, Bucks 96
Memphis Grizzlies (4) @ Portland Trail Blazers (5)
Mike Conley is out with a facial injury and he could miss the rest of this series if Portland can wake up tonight. The Blazers had their best chance to steal a win in game three, and it had everything to do with their bench finally waking up. LaMarcus Aldridge could be looking at tonight as his last game in Rip City, so he’ll be looking to give the fans something special, win or lose. Memphis isn’t quite is strong defensively with Conley out, so Damian Lillard could also have his best game of the series. That’s even more likely considering he looked a lot better in game three. Memphis could easily close this series out tonight, but the Blazers have generally been good at home and this one could be emotional for Ridge.
Pick: Blazers 104, Grizz 101