NBA Playoff Weekend Previews
THE NBA PLAYOFFS WEEKEND MENU
THERE'S HOOP ACTION FROM LA, ATLANTA & OAKLAND
Okay, so it's been well-documented that this is one of the greatest sports weekend in years - but let's not allow the NBA Playoffs to "fall between the cracks" here.
Just check out what's on tap this first weekend in May in the pro hoops league where they play for pay:
On Saturday night, it's a Game 7 ...
WESTERN CONFERENCE -- #6 SAN ANTONIO at #3 LOS ANGELES CLIPPERS - 8 p.m. ET, TNT; Series tied 3-3
Four of the first six games (and the last three in a row) of this see-saw best-of-seven series between the five-time champion San Antonio Spurs and the fighting-hard-to-get-respect Los Angeles Clippers have been won by the road teams - does that means there's been some level of anxiousness by host teams here or is it merely a signal that these two teams that were separated by a single win this past 2014-15 regular season are your basic dead-even squads?
Hmm, maybe it's a combo of both factors but consider here for this Game 7 that the host Clippers once again figure to press stars PG Chris Paul (19 points and 15 assists in 44 minutes in that delicious 102-96 win at 5.5-point favorite San Antonio - a Jim Hurley winner!) and F Blake Griffin (he chipped in 26 points and 12 rebounds in 41 minutes of playing time) for 40-plus minutes apiece here and somebody's gonna have to be a spark off the thin bench that's likely going to be without board-banger Glen "Big Baby" Davis (ankle sprain).
Toss into the mix the Spurs most assuredly will employ the Hack-A-DeAndre Jordan here (he shot a respectable 7-of-15 from the free-throw line in Game 6) and the formula for the Clips winning figures to include 45-or-more combined points for Paul/Griffin, a 50 percent FT night for Jordan and at least 20 off-the-bench points for the likes of Jamaal Crawford and Austin Rivers.
On the flip side, San Antonio - verbally pillaged by head coach Gregg Popovich following that Game 6 loss when he claimed his team played as if it was "not ready" - simply cannot survive a shooting night that included just 14 made FGs by the big four of Kawhi Leonard (3-of-15 FG shooting in Game 6), Tim Duncan, Tony Parker and key reserve Manu Ginobili.
Still, if Marco Belinelli's three-ball shots are the only thing going down for the defending champ Spurs, then they'll be in major trouble here.
The Jim Hurley Network has been bashing the books in this first round of NBA Playoff action and now hear this: We'll continue to rock-n-roll our way through these NBA Playoffs here in second-round play - and so just go online right here or call our exclusive toll-free telephone # of 1-800-323-4453 each/every day and be sure that we'll send you straight into the winner's circle. Plus, there's Major-League Baseball on tap every day and so the time is just right to cash in big this spring as the NBA Playoffs and Baseball pounds out major profits!
On Sunday, it's a Game 1 ...
EASTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS - #5 WASHINGTON at #1 ATLANTA - 1 p.m. ET, ABC
The second round swings into action and the East's top-seeded Atlanta Hawks - as fate would have it - will enjoy the shortest amount of "down time" for any first-round survivor but Coach of the Year Mike Budenholzer's gang does have major momentum after ripping off a 23-3 scoring spree to open the third quarter in Friday's runaway 111-87 win/cover against the 4.5-point home underdog Brooklyn Nets.
And remember some key regular-season notes here as the Hawks forced a per-game average of 18 Washington turnovers per game in those four tilts (see accompanying chart) while the Wizards have not played a game since April 26th while sweeping Toronto in that series starring Paul Pierce, John Wall and C Marcin Gortat.
What is the story here with Washington ... is it rest or rust that's key?
WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMIFINALS - #5 MEMPHIS at #1 GOLDEN STATE - 3:30 p.m. ET, ABC
Don't expect some warm-and-fuzzy series here just because the Golden State Warriors adhere to the adage of shoot as many 3's as possible and don't necessarily get your hands dirty in the paint - true, Warriors guards Stephon Curry and Klay Thompson averaged 33.8 ppg and 25.0 ppg, respectively, in that first-round sweep over New Orleans but if Steve Kerr's club is gonna extend its hoops season deeper into May then the likes of key defender Draymond Green and C Andrew Bogut must be successful in shoving Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph off their spots here and thus make the Grizzlies a jump-shooting team first and foremost.
Please keep in mind Memphis PG Mike Conley (eye/facial injuries) isn't likely to play in this series until much later on and so lots of pressure heaped on G Nick Calathes who is a real energizer sort and someone who could be a major pest to Curry's wing-shooting triples.
NOTE: More NBA Playoff Previews in the next edition of Jim Sez.
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