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Thursday NBA playoff previews: Which Indiana team shows up?

Apr 24, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Paul George AP

Three Game 3s, each one the series is tied 1-1. You’ve seen the math — the team that win Game 3 goes on to win the series the vast majority of the time. Here are some previews.

Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks (Series tied 1-1): The Pacers got their mojo back in the second half of Game 2 in time to even the series, but things are far from fixed on the offensive end of the floor. The league’s top defense came together and played like it in shutting Atlanta down in the second half, but Indiana got unusually stout offensive contributions from Luis Scola and George Hill, who combined for 35 points on 14-of-22 shooting.

The Pacers will need David West and Lance Stephenson to resume their customary offensive roles on the road in Game 3, and it would be nice if Roy Hibbert could do more than the six points and four rebounds on 1-of-7 shooting that he did in his team’s last win. Role players tend to struggle on the road, especially in the postseason. If the Pacers don’t get the numbers they’re accustomed to from their key players, they could find themselves once again trailing in the series.

—Brett Pollakoff

Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies (Series tied 1-1): Memphis imposed their will on Game 2 — the pace was slower, Tony Allen was making Kevin Durnat’s life difficult, Marc Gasol was working out of the high post and when the weakside help came he carved them up with passes, Russell Westbrook took a few “what are you thinking?” shots. Those are issues for Oklahoma City going into Game 3, but here is the bigger one — they couldn’t get stops. The Memphis Grizzlies had an offensive rating of 117.4 points per 100 possessions in Game 2. All game long OKC would make a run, hit a dramatic shot, and Memphis would go down and just execute, make an extra pass and get the bucket.

Westbrook is getting outplayed by Mike Conley and Scott Brooks switched Thabo Sefalosha on him to get some stops last game (which worked better). Whoever is on Conley Thursday night needs to keep him out of the paint. Memphis will continue to do what they do, they will grind. As always in this series tempo is key, OKC needs to let its thoroughbreds run. Still, the Thunder are too talented not to score whatever the tempo, but they need stops, too.

—Kurt Helin

Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors (Series tied 1-1): When you think about what Golden State needs to do differently from Game 2’s 40 point loss, the easy joke is “everything.” And that’s pretty accurate, but there are a few concrete steps. First, they have got to double team Blake Griffin. Throw a variety of looks at him, but doubles need to be part of it. Take the ball out of his hands. Griffin has 51 points in 49 minutes of play this series, they can’t just leave David Lee on him. You can’t stop him, but slow his rolls to the rim and force him to shoot jumpers.

Golden State has to take care of the ball, they had 26 turnovers in Game 2 and that fuels the Clipper break and highlight show. The Warriors also need to get the good Klay Thompson from Game 1 back — Doc Rivers has made it a point that Stephen Curry is not going to beat them, so someone else has to. Along those same lines, back home the Warriors need the ball movement of Game 1 to return.

—Kurt Helin

  1. fanofthegame79 - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:16 AM

    Another great night on the docket!!

  2. 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:21 AM

    You know who’s not showing up? The guy who bought a game 2 ticket in Indy for $7. In Atlanta, you can’t get in the door for less than $27. Even in a sports town like Atlanta, the demand for playoff tix is 3.5x greater than the BlueSwagger town. $27 is still cheap, but at least it’s more than a meal at Chick-Fil-A.

    • packergator - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:35 AM

      Though not by much – have you seen how much a chicken sandwich costs at Chick-Fil-A lately?

    • dexterismyhero - Apr 24, 2014 at 9:56 AM

      3.5x greater? You have stats on that, or was that just a longtimeago?

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:06 AM

        Stubhub. Tuesday Night. Over 400 tickets were going for $10-$12

    • southbeachtalent - Apr 24, 2014 at 12:39 PM

      How dare you state the truth!!

  3. jbeagles23 - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:30 AM

    We all know which Indy team is showing up on the road

  4. saint1997 - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    Really enjoying this first round of playoffs! Most parity we have seen in a while

  5. indyzown - Apr 24, 2014 at 8:52 AM

    Hey wait a second.
    So your telling me the other #1 seed dropped game two , and the media isn’t going to bash them like they did the pacers !!!
    Wow

    • gostlcards5 - Apr 24, 2014 at 1:54 PM

      Well, in fairness to the Spurs, they haven’t played like dog crap for the last month and a half. For them, it was more of a single-game anomaly. (and I say that as a Pacers fan)

  6. jerdogthompson - Apr 24, 2014 at 10:10 AM

    Should the Clippers stick to the game plan there is NO reason why the Warriors should win even one more game. Doc is a superior coach to Jackson and any adjustments made Doc can and will counter to pull out a win. This is the Clippers series to lose.

    #InDocwetrust

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