Skip to content

Friday NBA playoff previews: Nets, Mavericks, Rockets look to avoid early vacation

May 2, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce Kevin Garnett, Paul Pierce

Thursday night there were three Game 6s, now there are three Game 7s. Friday night there are three Game 6s, we’ll see if anyone can close out a series.

Toronto Raptors at Brooklyn Nets (Raptors lead series 3-2). You can bet that Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett will not be on the bench for the fourth quarter again. They were there with reason in Game 5 — the Raptors had been in complete control of that game and the Nets made their comeback with those two sitting — a 44-point fourth quarter. Still, they could have used Pierce’s shooting late. The Raptors looked rattled during that fourth quarter run, can they shake that off and stand up tall in Brooklyn? Can they get another big night where Kyle Lowry outplays Deron Williams (Lowry owned him in Game 5)? What the Nets really need is a big game from Joe Johnson, one where he gets to the free throw line.

San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks (Spurs lead series 3-2). Already this series has latest longer than many expected, but the Mavericks don’t want it to end quite yet. If they are going to keep it going and force a Game 7 the Mavericks are going to have to defend the Spurs pick-and-roll much better than they did in Game 5. And they are going to need Dirk Nowitzki to play for the entire game like he did the fourth quarter of Game 5 (14 in the fourth and 26 for the game). And Dallas will need a big night from Monta Ellis. There is a feeling around this series that the Spurs started out very sloppy and are just now starting to really find their groove. If so this is over… but I personally have counted out Dirk and Dallas too many times to do it again.

Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers (Blazers lead series 3-2). Houston has staved off elimination once, but now can they do it on the road? Of course the Rockets need another big night from Dwight Howard — particularly defensively helping out on a more aggressive defense on LaMarcus Aldridge. (On the flip side, Portland needs the Aldridge who was the best player in the series the first four games back, they need to do a better job of getting him touches.) Houston also got great performances from Jeremy Lin and Chandler Parsons in Game 5 and those two, or someone (we’re looking at you, James Harden) needs to step up if there is to be a Game 7. In Game 5 Houston was clearly the more desperate team, we’ll see if Portland can match that Friday at home.

Latest Posts
  1. Michael Carter-Williams cleared to return to practice Nov. 6

    Oct 25, 2014, 11:00 PM EDT

    Michael Carter-Williams

    Reigning Rookie of the Year had offseason shoulder surgery, but may not miss many regular season games.

  2. Gregg Popovich after Spurs go 2-5 in preseason: ‘We look like we’re not very interested’

    Oct 25, 2014, 9:30 PM EDT

    Gregg Popovich Gregg Popovich

    Defending champs have no reason to exert themselves until the games count in the standings.

  3. Nets head coach Hollins believes Brook Lopez will be ready for opening night

    Oct 25, 2014, 8:00 PM EDT

    New Jersey Nets practice 05/07/2014 New Jersey Nets practice 05/07/2014

    Lopez hasn’t practiced since it was reported he suffered a soft tissue injury to his surgically repaired foot on Oct. 16.

  4. Report: Klay Thompson’s camp ‘frustrated’ Warriors have yet to offer a max contract extension

    Oct 25, 2014, 6:30 PM EDT

    Klay Thompson Klay Thompson

    Warriors hold (almost) all the leverage, because Thompson will be a restricted free agent next summer.

  5. 67RIEFNS: Warriors starters with Draymond Green

    Oct 25, 2014, 3:30 PM EDT

    Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers

    Lineup data shows Green greatly improves his team’s chances when playing with the starters.

  6. 67RIEFNS: Lance Stephenson on the loose

    Oct 25, 2014, 2:00 PM EDT

    Charlotte Hornets vs Philadelphia 76ers Charlotte Hornets vs Philadelphia 76ers

    Is Stephenson ready for responsibility that comes with going from Pacers to Hornets?

  7. Report: Cavaliers have had ‘zero discussion’ on contract extension with Tristan Thompson

    Oct 25, 2014, 11:00 AM EDT

    Tristan Thompson Tristan Thompson

    It might be because short of an insane offer of a max deal, Thompson would rather take his chances as a restricted free agent next summer.

  8. Kings’ Ray McCallum sinks put-back at the buzzer to beat Lakers

    Oct 25, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT

    Ray McCallum AP

    Nice job of McCallum to stay active on a play where he had already missed a shot.

  9. 67RIEFNS: Isaiah Thomas vs. Sacramento Kings

    Oct 25, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

    Los Angeles Clippers v Sacramento Kings Los Angeles Clippers v Sacramento Kings

    Will Thomas make Kings regret choosing Darren Collison over him?

  10. 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.

  11. 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

  12. 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

Featured video

Heat can make playoffs without LeBron
Top 10 NBA Player Searches
  1. V. Oladipo (5281)
  2. B. Lopez (5255)
  3. K. Bryant (5160)
  4. N. Noel (5010)
  5. L. Sanders (4952)