LeBron James was huge once again for the Cleveland Cavaliers, but this time he was great all game, instead of just the final seconds. His stellar play led to a big game five win at home, and suddenly the under-manned Cavs are up 3-2 and will have a chance to win their second round series against the Chicago Bulls in game six. The Houston Rockets got big performances out of their studs, too, as James Harden and Dwight Howard stepped up at home and kept the Clippers from moving on to the Western Conference Finals. Instead, they will also get a game six as their series shifts back to L.A.
We called both of those games to go 2-0 last night (37-15 during the playoffs) via our NBA picks and we get two more chances to help you win cash via NBA betting on Wednesday night. Tonight the two top-seeded teams go back to work, as the Hawks and Warriors play host as they try to take a 3-2 series lead. Let’s break down both matchups and see if the favorites can escape with the win:
Washington Wizards (5) @ Atlanta Hawks (1)
This has been an unbelievably close series, and the 2-2 tie probably sums that up about as good as anything else. Washington is absolutely still a threat to win tonight and pull off the overall upset in round two, but winning in Atlanta is no easy task and John Wall is set to again be out or severely limited. Unless we get a whiff of Wall playing (and not being restricted in any manner), it’s hard to feel great about the Wiz winning their second road game in this series. They did just that in game one, but this is a Wizards team that was just 17-24 away from home during the regular season, while the Hawks have lost just seven home games all year.
Philips Arena will be rocking tonight and after seeing Paul Millsap destroy last game at full strength (he was sick in a game three loss), it’s tough to bet against Atlanta. I also don’t think Kyle Korver will stay quiet for long. He was weak on the road the past two games, but has been far stronger on his home floor on the year. If he can have a big game, the Hawks’ offense should thrive.
Pick: Hawks 104, Wiz 101
Memphis Grizzlies (5) @ Golden State Warriors (1)
Memphis won two straight games and held Golden State in check (90 and 89 points in back to back games) and suddenly everyone was bailing on the West’s top-seeded team. Golden State didn’t look amazing in those games, but they’re still an extremely balanced team that can turn it on both ways and won 67 games during the regular season. The best version of themselves showed up in a huge game four in Memphis, where Stephen Curry went off for 33 points and the Warriors played blistering defense. Now the series is back at the Oracle Arena, where the Warriors have lost just three games all season.
Memphis certainly has the defense and tenacity to pull off another shocker, but it feels like Curry figured them out last game and may be going for the knockout punch tonight. The crazy thing for these Warriors, too, is they’ve won twice without getting a true blowout game out of either Klay Thompson or Draymond Green yet. I think they both play well tonight as Golden State jumps out to an early lead and holds on for the 3-2 advantage going into game six.
Pick: Warriors 108, Grizz 102