There are two potential closeout games tonight in the NBA Playoffs, with both the Memphis Grizzlies and Milwaukee Bucks trying to extend their seasons with home wins over the Spurs and Raptors respectively. Can either or both pull it off?
Last night was a relatively calm playoff night as both home teams won their pivotal Game Fives to force their series into the exact same scenario. Both Chicago and Atlanta will need to win at home to extend the series to a decisive Game Seven, though HOW they arrived at their respective 3-2 holes are vastly different. Perhaps the Bulls just caught the C’s in an emotional funk after the devastating loss of Isaiah Thomas’s sister to a car accident, or maybe, gulp, Rajon Rondo really made the difference. Either way, Games Three, Four and Five scarcely resembled the first two as Boston has clearly exerted control over this series. Atlanta and Washington has just been college ball -neither team can win in the other’s gym (though Atlanta is far from a collegiate atmosphere…yawn).
So, who is staying alive tonight and who is “Goin’ Fishing” with Chuck and Kenny?
Today’s NBA Pick:
San Antonio Spurs -4 at Memphis Grizzlies
Enough is enough. I never thought this series would even get this far, but thanks to some real ambivalence from the Spurs in their pair of games in Memphis, San Antonio actually had to win a pressure-packed Game Five at home to reassert control of this series. But over a larger sample size, this particular matchup is a mismatch. The Spurs won 18 more games this season, despite throwing a handful of the “Coach Pop playing the JV” style. Their point differential was +7.2, the best in the NBA’s non-Warriors division. Memphis was barely even positive at +0.5. The Spurs were an impressive 30-11 away from home. Memphis was a really poor 24-17.
San Antonio is way, way, way better than Memphis.
So tonight, they just need to remember to play that way. They were embarrassed in Games Three and Four as Memphis not only outplayed them, but outworked them. I expect a different effort level from the Silver and Black tonight. This veteran team knows Game Sevens are playing with fire, and also understands the value of some REST before a tough Houston matchup.
I expect San Antonio to come in and close this thing out in veteran, workman-like fashion.
Today’s Pick: SAN ANTONIO SPURS -4