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2014 NBA Playoffs: Day Five Predictions

Today’s Games (All times are Eastern):

 

Time (ET) Visitor Home Prediction
7:00 PM Charlotte Bobcats Miami Heat Heat
8:00 PM Dallas Mavericks San Antonio Spurs Spurs
9:30 PM Portland Trail Blazers Houston Rockets Rockets

Things to Watch For

Will Al Jefferson, who strained his left plantar fascia in the first quarter of Game 1 and needed two painkiller injections just to continue playing the game, suit up for the Bobcats tonight, and if he does, just how effective will he be? If Jefferson plays and is able to perform at a high level, the Bobcats might have a chance at winning their first playoff game in franchise history. However, if Jefferson is unable to suit up, it is highly likely that Charlotte’s 17-game losing streak to the Heat will be extended to 18.

The Spurs will continue to do what they have done all season long—find a way to win. Including its win in Game 1, San Antonio has won 10 straight games against the Mavericks by an average of 13.8 points. The Spurs have not dropped a home game to Dallas since November 26, 2010, and unless the Mavericks can figure out a way to keep Tony Parker from getting to the front of the rim at will there is no reason to expect this trend to end tonight.

Will the Trail Blazers be able to become the second lower seed to win two games on the road? If they can hold Houston to 8-for-35 shooting (22.9 percent) from beyond the three-point arc like they did in Game 1 then the Trail Blazers will have a very good chance of taking a 2-0 series lead home to Portland. But the Rockets shot 35.8 percent from the three-point line during the regular season, so it is unlikely that Houston will shoot below 25 percent from three-point land again tonight.

Yesterday’s Results:

 

Visitor Home Prediction Result
Atlanta Hawks 85 Indiana Pacers 101 Pacers Pacers
Brooklyn Nets 95 Toronto Raptors 100 Raptors Raptors
Washington Wizards 101 OT Chicago Bulls 99 Bulls Wizards

Random NBA Fan’s Record in Yesterday’s Games: 2-1
Random NBA Fan’s Record for the Playoffs: 8-5

***Unlike my regular-season game-by-game predictions, which are made well before the beginning of the season, my game-by-game playoff predictions will be made day-by-day as the playoffs progress. This is mainly to avoid the mess that will be made whenever one of my predictions goes awry.***

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2014 NBA Playoffs: Day Four Predictions

Today’s Games (All times are Eastern):

 

Time (ET) Visitor Home Prediction
7:00 PM Atlanta Hawks Indiana Pacers Pacers
7:30 PM Brooklyn Nets Toronto Raptors Raptors
9:30 PM Washington Wizards Chicago Bulls Bulls

Things to Watch For

Are the Indiana Pacers the brash team that openly admitted that they were going for the top seed in the East so that Game 7 of a potential Eastern Conference finals rematch with the Miami Heat would be on their home floor, or are they the seemingly fractured bunch that has struggled mightily over the last two months?  Although Indiana did hang on to clinch the East’s top seed, the Pacers are just 16-15 (including their Game 1 home loss to the Atlanta Hawks), since the All Star break.  Given the fact that the Pacers are an abysmal 2-14 in their last 16 trips to Atlanta—including 1-2 in three first-round postseason games there a year ago—Indiana may find itself needing a Game 7 at home just to get out of the first round.

After a disappointing playoff debut, where he made just three of his 16 field goal attempts and missed all four of his three-point attempts, look for DeMar DeRozan to be a little more aggressive and probably a bit more efficient and effective as he tries to help the Raptors earn their first postseason victory since April 24, 2008.

After a lackluster defensive performance, where they allowed the Washington Wizards to score 102 points, look for the Chicago Bulls, led by newly-crowned Defensive Player of the Year Joakim Noah, to be much more effective on the defensive end in Game 2.  The Bulls took a 13-point lead, 64-51, on a Kirk Hinrich layup with 9:49 remaining in the third quarter of Game 1 and then their defense failed them.  Over the next six minutes, Chicago, who limited opponents to a league-best 91.8 points per game during the regular season, allowed the Wizards to score on eight of their next 11 possessions en route to 19 points, which pulled Washington within one-point, 71-70, of the Bulls at the 3:31 mark of the quarter.  It is unlikely that Noah will allow the Bulls to have a similar six-minute defensive lapse tonight.

Yesterday’s Results:

 

Visitor Home Prediction Result
Memphis Grizzlies 111 OT Oklahoma City Thunder 105 Grizzlies Grizzlies
Golden State Warriors 98 Los Angeles Clippers 138 Clippers Clippers

Random NBA Fan’s Record in Yesterday’s Games: 2-0
Random NBA Fan’s Record for the Playoffs: 6-4

***Unlike my regular-season game-by-game predictions, which are made well before the beginning of the season, my game-by-game playoff predictions will be made day-by-day as the playoffs progress. This is mainly to avoid the mess that will be made whenever one of my predictions goes awry.***

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2014 NBA Playoffs: Day Three Predictions

Today’s Games (All times are Eastern):

 

Time (ET) Visitor Home Prediction
8:00 PM Memphis Grizzlies Oklahoma City Thunder Grizzlies
10:30 PM Golden State Warriors Los Angeles Clippers Clippers

Things to Watch For

Look for the “Grit and Grind” Grizzlies to do just that from the very beginning of Game 2. It is unlikely that Memphis will allow the Thunder to easily get out to a 25-point lead in the first half tonight. Tonight’s matchup will be more of a grindfest than Saturday night’s contest was. And just as it was in Game 1, pace will once again be a huge factor tonight. The team that controls the pace most often tonight will likely be the team that walks away with the Game 2 victory.

Chris Paul will do whatever is necessary to redeem himself and make up for a turnover and two missed free throws in the final 18 seconds of Game 1. No, those miscues did not cost the Clippers the game, but Paul understands that those late-game mistakes seriously hampered Los Angeles’ chances of winning the game. After just 19 foul-plagued minutes in Game 1, look for Blake Griffin to spend much more time on the floor tonight. With the extra court time, Griffin will likely have a bigger impact on Game 2 than he did in Game 1.

Yesterday’s Results:

 

Visitor Home Prediction Result
Dallas Mavericks 85 San Antonio Spurs 90 Spurs Spurs
Charlotte Bobcats 88 Miami Heat 99 Heat Heat
Washington Wizards 102 Chicago Bulls 93 Bulls Wizards
Portland Trail Blazers 122 OT Houston Rockets 120 Rockets Trail Blazers

Random NBA Fan’s Record in Yesterday’s Games: 2-2
Random NBA Fan’s Record for the Playoffs: 4-4

***Unlike my regular-season game-by-game predictions, which are made well before the beginning of the season, my game-by-game playoff predictions will be made day-by-day as the playoffs progress. This is mainly to avoid the mess that will be made whenever one of my predictions goes awry.***

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2014 NBA Playoffs: Day Two Predictions

Today’s Games (All times are Eastern):

 

Time (ET) Visitor Home Prediction
1:00 PM Dallas Mavericks San Antonio Spurs Spurs
3:30 PM Charlotte Bobcats Miami Heat Heat
7:00 PM Washington Wizards Chicago Bulls Bulls
9:30 PM Portland Trail Blazers Houston Rockets Rockets

Things to Watch For

In the Mavericks-Spurs game, look for Tony Parker to attack Dallas’ defense every time he gets an opportunity to do so. San Antonio’s ball and player movement will result in numerous layups at the front of the rim or wide-open corner threes. How many points the Spurs score from each of these two areas will largely depend on how well the Mavericks react to Parker’s initial penetrations.

Miami will begin its postseason run against a team that it has defeated 16 straight times, a team that will be playing just its second playoff series in franchise history and a team that has never won a single game in the postseason. So look for the two-time defending NBA champions to take advantage of Charlotte’s lack of playoff experience and do what the East’s top-seeded team (the Indiana Pacers) couldn’t do Saturday evening: Protect their home court.

The Chicago Bulls will wall off the paint and make it difficult for John Wall to penetrate the lane. And even when Wall does break down Chicago’s perimeter defenders look for Joakim Noah and Taj Gibson to give support.

Both the Trail Blazers and Rockets ranked in the top five in three pointers made and attempted during the regular season so look for a lot of threes to be taken—and made—in Game 1 of their first-round matchup.  But, in my opinion, how Damian Lillard (who is making his postseason debut) handles Patrick Beverly’s incessant, annoying pressure—and not who rains down the most threes—to a large degree, will ultimately determine the outcome of this game—as well as the series.

Yesterday’s Results:

 

Visitor Home Prediction Result
Brooklyn Nets 94 Toronto Raptors 87 Nets Nets
Golden State Warriors 109 Los Angeles Clippers 105 Clippers Warriors
Atlanta Hawks 101 Indiana Pacers 93 Pacers Hawks
Memphis Grizzlies 86 Oklahoma City Thunder 100 Thunder Thunder

Random NBA Fan’s Record in Yesterday’s Games: 2-2
Random NBA Fan’s Record for the Playoffs: 2-2

***Unlike my regular-season game-by-game predictions, which are made well before the beginning of the season, my game-by-game playoff predictions will be made day-by-day as the playoffs progress. This is mainly to avoid the mess that will be made whenever one of my predictions goes awry.***

2014 NBA Playoffs: Day One Predictions

Today’s Games (All times are Eastern):

 

Time (ET) Visitor Home Prediction
12:30 PM Brooklyn Nets Toronto Raptors Nets
3:30 PM Golden State Warriors Los Angeles Clippers Clippers
7:00 PM Atlanta Hawks Indiana Pacers Pacers
9:30 PM Memphis Grizzlies Oklahoma City Thunder Thunder

Things to Watch For

In the Nets-Raptors matchup, look for Kevin Garnett to do something—set a hard screen, give a subtle elbow, get in someone’s face, or possibly all three—early in the game to show the young Raptors that the intensity of the playoffs is totally and completely different than anything they have ever encountered before.

What will Mark Jackson do to adjust to Andrew Bogut’s absence in Game 1 of the Warriors-Clippers series? Will he go small and move David Lee to center and insert either Harrison Barnes or Draymond Green into the starting lineup, or will he start the 35-year old Jermaine O’Neal? Another thing to look out for is just how cleanly Stephen Curry will be able to come off of screens without Bogut in the lineup.

Look for the Pacers to try to prove to themselves—and the other 15 playoff teams—that their late season struggles are behind them and that they are a force to be reckoned with this postseason.

This is the third time in four years that the Thunder and Grizzlies will meet in the postseason and the core of each team has been present for all three previous matchups. These teams are quite familiar with one another. So instead of the customary feeling out process that goes on in Game 1s, I expect these teams get after one another right from the opening tip in an effort to gain any kind of upper hand that they can sooner rather than later.

Wednesday’s Results:

 

Visitor Home Prediction Result
Indiana Pacers 101 Orlando Magic 86 Magic Pacers
Utah Jazz 136 2OT Minnesota Timberwolves 130 Timberwolves Jazz
Atlanta Hawks 111 Milwaukee Bucks 103 Hawks Hawks
Los Angeles Lakers 113 San Antonio Spurs 100 Lakers Lakers
Houston Rockets 100 New Orleans Pelicans 105 Rockets Pelicans
Dallas Mavericks 105 Memphis Grizzlies 106 OT Grizzlies Grizzlies
Detroit Pistons 111 Oklahoma City Thunder 112 Thunder Thunder
Chicago Bulls 86 Charlotte Bobcats 91 OT Bulls Bobcats
Toronto Raptors 92 New York Knicks 95 Knicks Knicks
Washington Wizards 118 Boston Celtics 102 Celtics Wizards
Brooklyn Nets 85 Cleveland Cavaliers 114 Cavaliers Cavaliers
Philadelphia 76ers 100 Miami Heat 87 Heat 76ers
Golden State Warriors 116 Denver Nuggets 112 Warriors Warriors
Phoenix Suns 104 Sacramento Kings 99 Suns Suns
Los Angeles Clippers 104 Portland Trail Blazers 110 Trail Blazers Trail Blazers

Random NBA Fan’s Record in Wednesday’s Games: 9-6
Random NBA Fan’s Record for the Complete Regular Season: 747-483

***Unlike my regular-season game-by-game predictions, which are made well before the beginning of the season, my game-by-game playoff predictions will be made day-by-day as the playoffs progress.  This is mainly to avoid the mess that will be made whenever one of my predictions goes awry.***

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