NBA Saturday Preview
This Saturday is loaded with game sevens. Three to be exact. The Indiana Pacers will battle the Atlanta Hawks at 5:30, the Oklahoma City Thunder will face off against the Memphis Grizzlies at 8:30 and the Los Angeles Clippers will try to advance against the Golden State Warriors at 10:30. All times are based on east coast time. I will provide insight into all three of the games below.
Indiana Pacers (1) vs. Atlanta Hawks (8) 5:30 ET
The Indiana Pacers were once the best team in the NBA, they seemed unbeatable. Then came the NBA trade deadline — they traded away fan favorite Danny Granger for Evan Turner and Lavoy Allen of the 76ers. Ever since that trade, the Pacers haven’t been the same team and it became painfully obvious when the eight seeded Atlanta Hawks began to beat up on them. Tonight, the Pacers have the clear advantage since they have more talent and they are on their home court, however, they will need to come prepared. The Hawks aren’t going to give up easily. The Pacers will need to play their trademark defense and make sure to defend the perimeter well. The threes have been killing the Pacers this whole series. In addition to the threes, the Hawks have been getting to the basket easier than usual because of Roy Hibbert‘s poor pla of late. He will need to step up his interior defense if the Pacers want to win. Conversely, the Hawks must do a good job spacing the floor and penetrating as they have this whole series. It is important for them to try to get Paul George in foul trouble early, as he is the only one of the Pacers that seems capable of shutting down Jeff Teague. This should be a very tight game that goes down to the wire.
Prediction: Indiana Pacers 101 – Atlanta Hawks 97
Oklahoma City Thunder (2) vs. Memphis Grizzlies (7) 8:00 ET
The Thunder were pegged as title favorites coming into the playoffs. People thought of this round as a virtual first round bye, however, the Grizzlies had something to say about that. Tony Allen has been doing a fantastic job of guarding Kevin Durant, forcing the Thunder to rely on other people to score, something they are not used to doing. The Thunder will need to get Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook shooting efficiently. With Z-Bo suspended for the Grizz after the punch on Steven Adams, the Thunder’s life got a lot easier. The Grizzlies will need to get physical with the Thunder and make them work down low.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder 110 – Memphis Grizzlies 112
Los Angeles Clippers (3) vs. Golden State Warriors (6)
This series has been very exciting and the final game should be no different. The high flying Clippers vs. the Splash Brothers. The Clippers will need to bring the energy on both sides of the court if they want to shut down Stephen Curry. They will need Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan and Blake Griffin all to play as well as they can. On the other side, Stephen Curry will need to step up his shooting and decision making as Chris Paul has been shutting him down compared to what he has done all season long. Foul trouble will be big for both teams, they will need all of their star players on the court as much as possible. Expect a lot of clutch offense in the final minutes of this game. We may even be in for another game winning buzzer beater.
Prediction: Los Angeles Clippers 124 – Golden State Warriors 123
- Cameron Andrews is an Editor for ProSportsExtra.com