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Wednesday playoff previews: Trail Blazers look to eliminate Rockets

Apr 30, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Dirk Nowitzki, Tim Duncan AP

Three big games Wednesday night — two game fives where the series are tied, plus the Rockets are trying to keep their season alive.

Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs (series tied 2-2). Dallas is going to be without DeJuan Blair, who was an energizer bunny for the team in Game 4 but is suspended for a kick to Tiago Splitter’s head (intentional or not). The Spurs’ Tony Parker is playing through a sprained ankle, he didn’t look right last game and is not going to be 100 percent for this one. Which is an issue — he has not been his dominant self the last few games and that is part of the reason the regular season dominance of this matchup by the Spurs is gone in this series. Parker and Patty Mills have to own Jose Calderon and the rest of the Mavs guards. That said, expect another big night from Manu Ginobili, he has been the Spurs MVP this series.

Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors (series tied 2-2). The Raptors won Game 4 and evened the series thanks to a 9-0 run to close out the game — that run seemed to give the Raptors real confidence about the big stage they are on (they have been the better team in the fourth quarter the last few games). It’s also the kind of run late in a game the veteran-led Nets are not supposed to allow. Yet here we are. The Raptors are back home in front of a loud, pumped up crowd they can feed off of. The key to watch — in the Nets two wins Deron Williams has scored 22 and 25 points, in the two losses he has 15 and 10. As he goes the Nets offense goes.

Portland Trail Blazers at Houston Rockets (Blazers lead 3-1). It’s an elimination game so expect a desperate Rockets team. However, desperation is not going to cover LaMarcus Aldridge and that has been key in this series — Aldridge has scored 118 points in the Blazers three wins. He is destroying the Rockets from the midrange. Portland also has had some offensive balance, while the Rockets offense has seemed like James Harden and Dwight Howard playing next to but not truly with each other. Troy Daniels has been huge for Houston this series.

  1. saint1997 - Apr 30, 2014 at 8:47 AM

    Can’t say it enough, awesome playoffs!!! This is what the NBA needs – less predictable playoffs, even if that means best of 5 series. Wondering also what are the stats for teams that win game 5 when a series is tied 2-2 in terms of who wins the series?

    • notinmyhouse56 - Apr 30, 2014 at 9:35 AM

      It’s around 0.83

  2. canadatude - Apr 30, 2014 at 8:56 AM

    Great, close games. Only the hungry teams will survive. A bad bounce or a shot rolling off the rim can make or break it. Good luck to all the teams that move on. They will be worn down.

  3. ocgunslinger - Apr 30, 2014 at 9:55 AM

    “Only the hungry teams will survive” and that description fits the Grizzlies. Not to worry. If the Grizzlies win the series Howard will leave smiling and happy so everyone wins.

  4. au1978 - Apr 30, 2014 at 10:31 AM

    Yeah, this has been a good playoff run so far–nothing at all like I expected, except of course the Heat sweeping the Bobcats. Still pulling for my Rockets to right the ship!

  5. obmig - Apr 30, 2014 at 10:51 AM

    Most hotly contested first round in recent memory.

    • fanofthegame79 - Apr 30, 2014 at 11:11 AM

      Totally agree! Not to mention unpredictable, too.

  6. grantgoodman93 - Apr 30, 2014 at 5:41 PM

    Lets go Mavs!! huge game!

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