BDCi’s NBA playoffs Week 2
(BDCi) — A week already into the NBA playoffs and already there are significant injuries for a lot of teams. First it is safe to say that the Lakers are going to limp into Game 3 with pretty much their entire backcourt gone as Steve Blake injured his hamstring, Steve Nash can barely walk after getting two epidurals and a cortisone in his injured back and hip and Jodie Meeks has a sprained ankle that kept him out of Game 2. Speaking of ankles, Stephen Curry is battling yet another hurt ankle, this time not the ankle he has had surgically repaired twice. Curry is determined to play and he is listed as questionable for Friday’s Game 3. Just recently it was learned Russell Westbrook is out with a torn meniscus in his knee and will miss playing time for the first time in his four year NBA career. Those are just a few of the many injuries that hurt teams around playoff time.
WESTERN CONFERENCE MATCHUPS
(1) Oklahoma City Thunder vs (8) Houston Rockets OKC leads 2-0
Oklahoma City got some troubling news when it was learned that starting point guard Russell Westbrook would be out indefinitely with a torn meniscus in his right knee suffered in Game 2. That is a huge loss for the Thunder as they depend on Westbrook and Kevin Durant for their points. In Game 2, Durant and Westbrook combined for 58 of their team’s 105 points. This where not having James Harden is going to hurt them. Kevin Martin is not the same explosive scorer that Harden is but he is going to have to step up if the Thunder want to win this series. Houston played much better in Game 2 than Game 1. They almost won Game 2 when they came back from 15 points down in the fourth quarter before the Thunder went on a 10-2 run to close out the game. Houston has to have confidence heading into Game 3 as they are now at home and have a great shot to win the game. For the Thunder, it puts even more pressure on Durant to score, but he cannot do it alone. Someone else whether it is Martin, Serge Ibaka, Kendrick Perkins but someone has to help with the scoring load as I’m sure the Houston defense is going to collapse even more on Durant and force someone else to beat them. However, Houston is not a great defensive team but they did go to a 2-3 zone in the fourth quarter that got them back in the game. Houston does not have to play great defense but get enough stops so they can run in transition. Game 3 is Saturday in Houston.
(2) San Antonio Spurs vs. (7) Los Angeles Lakers SAS leads 2-0
This is probably the worst series in the Western Conference if not the entire NBA playoffs. The Lakers basically at this point have no backcourt as Steve Blake hurt his hammy in Game 2 and he is out for Game 3 along with probably Steve Nash who can barely walk let alone defend Tony Parker and Jodie Meeks who has a sprained ankle. That means Mike D’Antoni will have to go to seldom used second-year guard Darius Morris along with possibly Chris Duhon or Andrew Goudlock. Hardly a great backcourt for the Lakers in the playoffs. For the Spurs, they just need to keep doing what they are doing. Tony Parker had a great game, scoring 18 points in the third quarter alone. Unless, San Antonio just shoots horribly, they should sweep this series. They are the better team and since there really is no backcourt for the Lakers, Tony Parker is going to have a field day. Game 3 is Friday at Staples Center.
(3) Denver Nuggets vs. (6) Golden State Warriors Series tied 1-1
This is by far the most intriguing matchup as these two teams have put on some exciting games. Stephen Curry is dealing with an ankle injury but I have no doubt that he is not going to miss his first home playoff game as the Warriors fans will go crazy and with good reason as their team stole Game 2. Like I said, in order for the Warriors to win this series, they were going to have to figure out a way to win in Denver and they did. Granted the Warriors will be without David Lee as he tore his hip flexor but the Warriors small lineup against Denver in Game 2 caused major issues. For Denver, Kenneth Faried will be back in the starting lineup after coming off the bench while he was getting back into it from an ankle injury. Denver certainly needs his energy and scoring. While Denver plays great at home, they were only 19-22 on the road during the regular season. These two teams split their regular season meetings in Oakland. For Denver, they need to win the rebound battle especially with their height advantage and attack the rim. Do not try to match the Warriors three-point shooting because that is not what Denver does best. For Golden State, keep that smaller lineup because it gives you quickness and more shooters on the perimeter. Game 3 is Friday at Oracle Arena in Oakland.
(4) Los Angeles Clippers vs. (5) Memphis Grizzlies LAC leads 2-1
This is a great series between two teams that know each other very well. Memphis finally got their first win in this series in Game 3 as the series shifted to Memphis. The Grizzlies got Zach Randolph involved from the beginning and he scored 27 points and 11 boards to lead his team to victory. Marc Gasol added 16 points and eight boards while Mike Conley had 10 assists. The Grizzlies got back to what they do best which is pounding the ball inside and playing great defense. They were able to keep Chris Paul from doing much damage and held the Clippers to 38 percent shooting. This series is probably going the full seven games again and for the Clippers they need to work on rebounding and limiting the Grizzlies second chance opportunities as Memphis had 17 offensive rebounds. Game 4 will be Saturday in Memphis.
EASTERN CONFERENCE MATCHUPS
(1) Miami Heat vs (8) Milwaukee Bucks MIA leads 3-0
Miami is just the far superior team and Milwaukee should just pray that the Heat put them out of their misery and win Game 4. Dwayne Wade had only four points in the Game 3 victory and his team still won by 15. It shows just how deep Miami is and nobody can compete. Ray Allen came off the bench and scored 23 points. He also passed Reggie Miller for most 3-pointers in the playoffs with 322 and Miller had 320. Of course, LeBron scored 22 and Chris Bosh added 16. Allen was 5 of 8 from downtown as he just looked so comfortable. Milwaukee did come out in Game 3 shooting 5 of 10 from behind the arc and led by as many as 10. However, they ended up making just 2 of 16 from downtown the rest of the game. The Bucks also had 20 turnovers but they did have 20 fastbreak points off Miami’s 19 turnovers. It’s just Miami is just too good. Game 4 is Sunday in Milwaukee.
(2) New York Knicks vs. (7) Boston Celtics NYK leads 2-0
The Knicks are just the better team offensively with Carmelo Anthony leading the way. The Knicks won by 16 in Game 2 holding the Celtics to only 77 points. The Celtics just do not have enough offense to keep up with the Knicks. Now the series shifts to Boston and maybe that will give the Celtics the lift they need. It will be the first game in Boston since the Boston Marathon bombings so it certainly will very emotional inside the arena. Maybe the Celtics can use that to their advantage to get back in this series. For Boston the offense starts with Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett. The Knicks will probably win the series but hopefully Boston can squeak out a win for their hurt city. Game 3 is Friday in Boston.
(3) Indiana Pacers vs. (6) Atlanta Hawks IND leads 2-0
For Indiana they have played very well in the first two games, having beaten Atlanta by a combined 32 points in their two playoff victories. For Indiana it is all about the mindset of continuing to do what has been successful and not get t
oo relaxed. Indiana does not play well in Atlanta, having lost 11 straight at Phillips Arena including twice during the regular season. For Atlanta, the only way for them to get back in the series is to take advantage of whatever mistakes the Pacers might make. Also if Josh Smith gets into foul trouble, it will be hard for Atlanta to win Game 3 let alone the series. Game 3 is Saturday in Atlanta
(4) Brooklyn Nets vs. (5) Chicago Bulls CHI leads 2-1
Neither one of these teams has been able to execute well offensively. The
Bulls did just enough to win Game 3 when they could have played better. The Brooklyn Nets went through a stretch from the first to second quarter where they were 1 for 25 from the field. Yet, Brooklyn only lost Game 3 by three points and they could have tied the game at the end with a three pointer in the corner by a wide open C.J. Watson who airballed it. Both teams have been awful offensively with each team shooting below 40 percent. The Bulls went the final 5 minutes of the game without making a basket and still managed to win the game. Brooklyn was 5 for 21 from downtown. For this series, whatever team can do just enough will win the series. This is an ugly series with not a lot of offense. The Bulls got lucky that Brooklyn shot so poorly otherwise the Nets could have been up 2-1. Game 4 is Saturday in Chicago.