This past weekend was probably unkind to anyone conducting any NBA betting. We wouldn’t personally know since we took a step away from our daily NBA picks (33-15 in the playoffs) for the past two days. It’s just as well, though, as we had been on a minor slide and we’re not so sure we would have picked the weekend’s games how they went.

We’re back to start a new week of NBA playoff action, though, and we’ve got our barrings straight. Two games hit the docket on Monday night, and as confident as we feel about our picks, it’s definitely worth noting that the way these series have gone gives way to some serious craziness in the very near future. In other words, it’s the two #1 seeds in separate conferences on display, and a strong argument can be made that both lose huge game four’s tonight. Let’s break down both matchups to see if that’s the case:

Atlanta Hawks (1) @ Washington Wizards (5)

Atlanta has been going back and forth in this series, as Washington has proven to be quite a handful, even with John Wall out the last two games. On paper, Wall’s wrist injury and absence puts the Wiz is a big hole and should give the Hawks a major edge. Unfortunately, Atlanta has not played it’s best basketball and has actually gotten out-player at their own game by the Wizards. This same thing happened temporarily in round one against the Nets, and eventually the Hawks woke up to close out the series with two very solid games.

Offensively, Atlanta’s not doing so bad. They dropped in 106 points in their game two win and got another 101 in game three before being knocked out by a last-second bank-three by Paul Pierce. Had that lucky shot not banked in, that game could have been headed for OT and the tone of this game four could be vastly different. Perhaps it’s a good thing it’s not, though, as the Hawks now have to go into Washington again with their backs against the wall. The same happened when their series with the Nets was tied 2-2, so I expect to see some of the very best Atlanta Hawks basketball on Monday night.

Jeff Teague is the key here, as he needs to find a way to be more efficient offensively, while also taking Ramon Sessions and/or Wall out of their game. After him, ATL needs more consistency out of Kyle Korver (he didn’t show up in game three) and Al Horford’s defense needs to be as tenacious as ever. Washington will push hard to take a commanding 3-1 series lead, but in the end I still like the top-seeded Hawks to even things up as things shift back to Atlanta.

Pick: Hawks 107, Wiz 101

Golden State Warriors (1) @ Memphis Grizzlies

This series has gone exactly how Warriors fans probably feared it could, as the Grizz’ propensity to slow things down and control the tempo has led to them limiting the Warriors somewhat in game one (101 points) and completely stifling them (89 and 90 points) in the last two outings. It’s truly worth wondering if the Warriors would be in an 0-3 hole if Mike Conley had been in this series from the starts (facial fractures). Memphis has lulled the Warriors to sleep with excellent defense and killer offense inside, where Golden State has shown to be at their weakest.

While everything seems to be piling on Golden State, one major aspect that hasn’t gone their way yet could suddenly show up – their shooting. The notion “live by the jumper, die by the jumper” has something to it, but we’re talking about a team that won 67 games playing this way, and was especially unbeatable at home. Their confidence has taken a minor hit, but the Warriors still have to know that all they need to do is steal one win in Memphis and then just hold serve at home, like they always do.

Doing so will involve Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson finally finding their shots, while we also need to see something out of Draymond Green and Andrew Bogut, who both have been fairly quiet in this series. David Lee could also provide a much-needed spark off the bench, especially with Marreese Speights sitting this one out. Golden State is on the road and facing some adversity, but they’re not the top seed for nothing. A loss tonight would put them in a borderline inescapable hole, so the smart money is on the Warriors showing up and showing Memphis they’re not going to be an easy out.

Pick: Warriors 105, Grizz 97

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