Skip to content

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

Latest Posts
  1. Thunder’s Anthony Morrow to miss 4-6 weeks with knee sprain

    Oct 25, 2014, 12:01 AM EDT

    Grizzlies vs Thunder Grizzlies vs Thunder

    Thunder will be very short-handed the first month of the regular season.

  2. Player intentionally makes shot in own basket in attempt to force overtime

    Oct 24, 2014, 10:00 PM EDT

    And it was probably the smartest possible play

  3. 67RIEFNS: K.J. McDaniels testing the second-round system

    Oct 24, 2014, 9:00 PM EDT

    2014 NBA Rookie Photo Shoot Getty Images

    76ers forwent any guaranteed salary to hit free agency sooner

  4. Why I am going to miss Steve Nash

    Oct 24, 2014, 3:50 PM EDT

    steve-nash-getty Getty Images

    Nash was everything we want as a fan in an NBA player.

  5. 67RIEFNS No. 34: JaVale McGee doing JaVale McGee things

    Oct 24, 2014, 2:50 PM EDT

    Denver Nuggets Media Day Denver Nuggets Media Day

    The NBA is full of talent, personality and suspense. During the offseason, It’s easy to forget how wonderful the league can be. So, I’ve assembled 67 Reasons I’m Excited For Next Season (67RIEFNS). They’ll be presented in no particular order. JaVale McGee played just five games last year after injuring his leg. How did we…

  6. 67RIEFNS No. 33: Emotional swings of Roy Hibbert

    Oct 24, 2014, 1:07 PM EDT

    Indiana Pacers Media Day 2014 Indiana Pacers Media Day 2014

    Pacers center filling huge role after last season’s great start, big collapse

  7. Josh Childress delivers flying elbow to opponent’s face (video)

    Oct 24, 2014, 12:33 PM EDT

    NBL Rd 3 - Perth v Sydney Getty Images

    Childress, who played for Pelicans last season, now playing (dirty) in Australia

  8. 67RIEFNS No. 32: Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh leading a team without LeBron

    Oct 24, 2014, 11:55 AM EDT

    2014 NBA Finals - Game Two Getty Images

    Are Heat stars too old to succeed without LeBron James?

  9. 67RIEFNS No. 31: Wizards’ small forwards

    Oct 24, 2014, 11:15 AM EDT

    Charlotte Hornets vs Washington Wizards Charlotte Hornets vs Washington Wizards

    Paul Pierce, Otto Porter or Martell Webster – all intriguing for different reasons – could become Washington’s starting small forward

Featured video

Heat can make playoffs without LeBron
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. K. Bryant (4453)
  2. B. Lopez (4394)
  3. V. Oladipo (4253)
  4. N. Noel (4197)
  5. J. Lin (4057)