The NBA playoffs can get a bit tricky, as Friday night’s games clearly showed us. Derrick Rose hit a bank-three in to beat the Cavaliers in Chicago to go up 2-1, while a 75% healthy Chris Paul helped the Clippers demolish the visiting Rockets in L.A.
We learned three very important things last night. They are, in order of importance, that these playoffs are growing increasingly unpredictable, that the Rockets can’t play any defense and we have no idea what Cavaliers or Bulls team will show up on any given night. Rose usually stinks one one day’s rest and he went nuts, while J.J. Redick somehow successfully defended one of the game’s best pure scorers.
It’s crazy, but someone has to pick the games. We carry out 33-15 record into Saturday trying to make things right:
Atlanta Hawks (1) @ Washington Wizards (5)
Atlanta lost their power in a game one loss, but made sure to stop the bleeding in a nice game two win. Tonight they look to take back full control of this series, and that should happen with John Wall (wrist/hand fractures) almost surely out. Washington will undoubtedly be deflated knowing that Wall might be out of this series for good, while the Hawks are still the deeper and more balanced squad. Marcin Gortat shrank last game and if Bradley Beal and Paul Pierce aren’t hitting from outside early, this one could get ugly.
Pick: Hawks 106, Wiz 98
Golden State Warriors (1) @ Memphis Grizzlies (4)
Mike Conley showed in game two that he won’t let an eye fracture derail him or the Grizz, so it’s up to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to send Memphis off the tracks, themselves. That certainly won’t be easy for many reasons, but it’ll be that much harder if Golden State forgets it’s shot like they did last game. Memphis has them beat inside and defensively, overall, but if the Warriors can get their mojo back offensively, they’re the aggressor and the more talented squad. I expect that happens tonight, otherwise the league’s best team could suddenly be in serious danger of letting this series slip out of their hands. Look for a big game out of the Splash Brothers in a close Warriors win.
Pick: Warriors 104, Grizzlies 101