NBA fans couldn’t ask for a better slate of weekend playoff games. The first round of the 2014 NBA Playoffs is just about over, as five games will be played over Saturday and Sunday – all potentially epic game seven’s.
It all gets started with three series-ending clashes on Saturday night, with the Pacers and Hawks squaring off in Indianapolis, followed by battles between the Grizzlies and Thunder and Clippers and Warriors.
Will Hawks or Grizzlies pull off a major upset? Or will all the home teams (and top seeds) prevail? Let’s break down tonight’s three playoff matchups to find out:
Atlanta Hawks (8) @ Indiana Pacers (1) – 5:30 PM ET
Atlanta has been scraping and clawing their way through this series thus far, but failing to win on their own court in game six probably did them in. Indiana was floundering through this series and looked lost for the better part of it, but may have gained their confidence back when they tied it up at 3-3.
With the series reverting back to Indiana, the top seed in the East should have their mojo back. It’d be a shock at this point if the Pacers didn’t move on to round two.
Pick: Pacers 105, Hawks 99
Memphis Grizzlies (7) @ Oklahoma City Thunder (2) – 8:00 PM ET
There have been no tougher fought series, as these two teams have come together for a ridiculous four straight overtime games. It may all be for nothing if you’re a Memphis follower, though, as the team couldn’t close the series out in game six on their home court and now big man Zach Randolph is suspended for game seven for throwing a punch on Thunder center, Steven Adams.
Add in point guard Mike Conley being less than 100% for the Grizz, and it may take a miracle for this game to even be close in the final minutes. It’s an unfortunate ending for what was one of the best series of the playoffs, but it looks the the Thunder will escape into round two.
Pick: Thunder 98, Grizzlies 90
Golden State Warriors (6) @ Los Angeles Clippers (3) – 10:30 PM ET
Golden State has been rather pesky in this series, stealing game one and then taking care of business at home with two wins in three tries. The Clippers at least have the benefit of game seven landing in Los Angeles, where they’ve also won two of three on their own court.
Blake Griffin hasn’t had it easy with the Warriors playing physical defense on him all series long, while star point guard Chris Paul clearly hasn’t been himself for most of the series, either. L.A. is the better team and they’re at home, though, so they’ll look to close out their series with the win.
Pick: Clippers 104, Warriors 103