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Wednesday NBA playoff previews: Will we have a close game?

May 7, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Washington Wizards v Indiana Pacers - Game One Getty Images

The NBA got us hooked on close games in the thrilling first round of the playoffs, then proceeded to give us four blowouts to start the second round. Will that change on Wednesday?

Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers (Wizards lead series 1-0). David West tried to have a come-to-Jesus meeting with Roy Hibbert after Game 1, because the Pacers need Hibbert if they are going to even the series Wednesday night. Just as importably, the Pacers have to defend the three point line better — that starts with Paul George, who lost Trevor Ariza more than once. If the Pacers can do all that then we can start to talk about fixing their offense. Meanwhile, John Wall and Bradley Beal are playing with more confidence each game and if they get another combined repeat performance — 38 points, 12 rebounds, 16 assists, six steals — the Wizards will be sitting pretty going home.

Los Angles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder (Clippers lead series 1-0). You’re going to hear some fans (and maybe some talking heads) say something along the lines of “if Kevin Durant is a real MVP he will carry his team to a win.” Which completely misses the point on why the Thunder were blown out in Game 1 — team defense. Particularly their perimeter defense. OKC packed the paint to take away easy layups and the Clippers shot over the top of them for three all night ling. The Thunder will change up their pick-and-roll defense on Chris Paul (they switched bigs on to him, Paul stepped back and nailed threes over them) but more than just that the Clippers moved the ball well and the Thunder rotations did not keep up. The Clippers got too many uncontested clean. Of course, more Durant wouldn’t hurt but what the Thunder need on that end is good ball movement and a third scorer to step up. OKC will get its points with Russell Westbrook and Durant. But they need to get stops more.

  1. indyzown - May 7, 2014 at 8:21 AM

    Anything to make a story right ?
    It’s kind of weird Indiana lost bye 6 points… for the record no way shape or form is that a blow out ….

    • ranfan12 - May 7, 2014 at 8:57 AM

      did you even watch the game, or are you just here for lulz/trolling

      • 1972wasalongtimeago - May 7, 2014 at 9:04 AM

        $6.95 tickets for the Pacers game available on stubhub right now. You are the 1 seed you know.

      • therealhtj - May 7, 2014 at 9:33 AM

        That’s a lot of money in Indiana.

    • unxpexted1 - May 7, 2014 at 9:17 AM

      George Hill hit 3 straight 3’s in the final minute in a half. But that game was out of hand for the whole second half.

  2. aboogy123456 - May 7, 2014 at 8:50 AM

    What I don’t understand is how Russell Westbrook is so lost on defense sometimes. People always criticize him for his offensive mentality, but he also has the same problems on defense. He’s still a good defender, but with his athleticism he should be one of the best in the league, however he looked so lost on Monday. good writeup on the game, but even if you adjust on Chris Paul, he makes the defense pick their poison.

    • packergator - May 7, 2014 at 9:27 AM

      He’s overly aggressive on both sides of the floor; he may go for the steal, but then he’ll be out of position, which affects everyone else on D as well.

  3. jzone954 - May 7, 2014 at 9:10 AM

    All I know is will the nation see once again the Pacers faithful fanbase start to clear and leave the stadium early again?

    • john242322 - May 7, 2014 at 12:50 PM

      No fans have been through what the Pacers fans have been through. Imagine having your hometown team be so loaded with talent and such high expectations and aspirations, all to be crushed game after game. Even when the Pacers win, they still don’t play anywhere near what they’re capable of. in the first half of the season, Pacers looked like the 2014 NBA champs without a doubt. Now we’re scraping by just to win the next game, every game.

      • k3nn3k - May 7, 2014 at 1:52 PM

        As a Charger fan I go through this every season!

  4. cantonb0und13 - May 7, 2014 at 9:36 AM

    The Wizards are simply more mentally tougher and better than the fragile Pacers. I expect Hibbert to get traded, after the Wizards give them the D.

    • john242322 - May 7, 2014 at 12:53 PM

      Maybe mentally tougher. Not better. We’ve seen the level of how great the Pacers are when the play Pacers ball. hence the first half of the season dominance they displayed.

      Pacers aren’t playing anywhere near the level they’re capable of. Wizards would be no match if Pacers were in top form, but unfortunately, they’re no where near it.

  5. kb2408 - May 7, 2014 at 10:06 AM

    OKC will win big tonight. They’re going to be crazy pumped up after KD’s MVP speech. CP3 won’t score half as many points as he did in game one. Even he knows he had a career night…at least from 3 point land.

    • cantonb0und13 - May 7, 2014 at 10:19 AM

      Nah

    • billtetley53 - May 7, 2014 at 11:16 AM

      Its a lock the Clippers win tonight. kb2408 is 0 for his last 113 predictions.
      This guy is the biggest 3 coiled turd on the interwebz. If he posts anything, you can be certain thecexact opposite is true(whenvit comes to basketball knowledge, history, and predictions.

      • kb2408 - May 7, 2014 at 1:13 PM

        It must be truly lonely in your world, billbitely53. In case you haven’t figured it out, this is a “sports” blog. Therefore, if you’re not talking “sports” we really don’t want you around. Find a blog that caters to what you are…whatever that might be.

      • billtetley53 - May 7, 2014 at 1:32 PM

        I am talking sports you dunce, I said the Clippers win. Im not lonely. Im just tired of your innocuous blathering, have been for a long time. You invite the digs you get, your knowledge of the game is just that bad.

    • k3nn3k - May 7, 2014 at 12:04 PM

      Even with a career 3pt night CP and Blake only attributed to 55 points of the Clipper’s 122. Westbrook and Durant produced almost the same at 54 points. Point being is the all-stars are gonna get theirs, but it comes down to the supporting cast. If you think the Thunder have any combination of bench players that can outscore Jamal Crawford alone…not to mention Collison, Davis, and Granger who didn’t have good games, then I’d like to hear that argument.

      I wouldn’t bet on a sweep, but remember that Blake came in 3rd in the MVP race…he might want to make a point tonight that he should be higher up on that list next year.

  6. kb2408 - May 7, 2014 at 10:11 AM

    This Hibbert thing is totally confounding. Obviously, his confidence is shot. But he doesn’t need confidence to rebound and play defense, just desire. So, that’s what makes me think it’s more than just a loss of confidence at this point. Indy is in deep trouble.

    • cantonb0und13 - May 7, 2014 at 10:19 AM

      Yessir

    • jaydm84 - May 7, 2014 at 12:12 PM

      Hibbert has been good statistically for about half a season. His poor play is who he actually is, his good play is out of the norm. Hibbert is a flat footed goof

      • kb2408 - May 7, 2014 at 1:09 PM

        Not true. Prior to his free fall, if he wasn’t scoring he was defending and rebounding. Never a great rebounder, mind you, but much better than what he’s giving now, which is almost zilch! And he has been a good defender his whole career.

      • bougin89 - May 7, 2014 at 3:18 PM

        Not true at all. Hibbert has been one of the main reasons behind Indy’s success and it isn’t coincidental that as soon as he started playing poorly, the Pacers have too.

        Just because Hibbert isn’t a David Robinson/Alonzo Mourning/Patrick Ewing type talent doesn’t mean he isn’t good.

        Hibbert has the ability to change the Pacers from average to pushing Miami to 7 games(like last season). A poor player doesn’t have that ability.

    • billtetley53 - May 7, 2014 at 9:30 PM

      KB says “Indy is in trouble”. Hes wrong again, color me surprised. Im telling you, its almost a lock that he is wrong in his predictions.

      Hes now about 2 for 120, 114 in a row wrong.

  7. jimsjam33 - May 7, 2014 at 11:46 AM

    I’m a Clipper fan , but I appreciate Kevin Durant as much as any basketball fan . Not only is he one of the two best players in the NBA , but he’s a good man too . That being said , I wish Kevin Durant and the Thunder the best of luck against everybody except the Clippers .

  8. Eutaw's Finest - May 7, 2014 at 11:48 AM

    I have a feeling Indy takes this one tonight. Not because they are the better team. It’s hardly even close. I honestly picked them tonight because I don’t have the Wiz sweeping the series, I don’t think Wiz lose at home in games 3 and 4, and as the expression goes “a blind squirrel finds a nut every now and then.”

    • john242322 - May 7, 2014 at 12:55 PM

      Easy now, if the Pacers were in their form that they were in at the start of the season, they would easily smash the Wizards. Like 4-0. Wizards are lucky Pacers are playing so terribly

      • Eutaw's Finest - May 7, 2014 at 1:47 PM

        4-0? That’s awful bold! And I’m not sure how you can say the Wiz are “lucky” the Pacers fell off big time. If anything the Pacers are unlucky to draw the Wiz who have been playing lights out ball as of late.

        And it’s not just a rough patch for the Pacers either- they struggled on Monday night, they struggled in the first round to a sub-500 Hawks team, and they finished the regular season 6-9 in the final 15 games. So combine, you’re saying the Pacers are just cold for their last 23+ games? That’s not a rough patch, that’s a team falling apart. I don’t foresee this Pacers team EVER getting back to where they were earlier in the season. There’s no leadership. There’s locker room issues (shades of the Wiz in the Arenas days). They have no go-to player on the court. They have no inside presence on offense. The team is a bunch of me-first players, and that’s not how you win a championship.

        And let’s talk D- the Pacers D is very very good- but how good? Here’s a fun stat- every starter on the Wiz finished game 1 with AT LEAST 12pts, 2 ast, 5 reb. That’s impressive. And really the Pacers should consider themselves lucky- outside of Gooden the Wiz bench totaled 3 points. Even if they hit a few shots last game that deficit grows quickly.

        In the end I can’t see how you can defend the Pacers by saying “if they were the same team from the first half of the year…” Fact is? They are not that team. And they will not spontaneously revert to that team. Wiz take series 4-2

  9. indyzown - May 7, 2014 at 12:33 PM

    I don’t know what rec league yell been playing in… 6 you can lose on two possessions… period

    • Eutaw's Finest - May 7, 2014 at 1:27 PM

      They were down double digits under a minute to go and didn’t get it down to 6 until there was about 12 seconds left in the game. It’s not like they were within 6 coming into the final minutes. They were owned by the Wiz the entire game, there’s no denying it.

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