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Tuesday NBA Previews: What other tricks does Doc Rivers have up his sleeve?

May 13, 2014, 8:00 AM EDT

Kevin Durant, Chris Paul Kevin Durant, Chris Paul

The Pacers can end the Wizards’ season Tuesday night, while we’re all hoping the Clippers/Thunder series goes seven because it’s by far the most entertaining series this round.

Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers (Pacers lead series 3-1). All season, the Indiana Pacers and Miami Heat appeared on a collision course to meet in the Eastern Conference Finals. Now, both teams are a win away, and the Pacers can get there tonight by beating the Washington Wizards. More importantly than beating Miami to the ECF, Indiana needs a win to maintain its rising confidence. Fall to the Wizards at home and go back to Washington, what does that do to Roy Hibbert, Paul George and crew? I don’t think that’s a bridge the Pacers want to cross.
—Dan Feldman

Los Angeles Clippers at Oklahoma City Thunder (series tied 2-2). In every series there comes a point when one coach knows he’s going to get beat going with what worked to get him this far, so he reaches for a desperation move. Doc Rivers did that in the fourth quarter of Game 4, down 16 with nine minutes to go he went to an ultra-small lineup — Chris Paul, Darren Collison, Jamal Crawford, Danny Granger, and Blake Griffin — and put CP3 guarding Durant. It worked. The Thunder offense became obsessed with trying to exploit a couple mismatches to the point they stopped executing anything else and became easy to defend. On the other end the Clippers shot 12-of-15 and went on a 33-17 run that would win them the game. It was high drama.

But is that something that really can be repeated? Successfully? If the Clippers leave Paul on Durant for any stretch on Tuesday night I sense KD will find his MVP form and just shoot over the top of Paul all night long. Does Rivers have another rotation trick or motivational tool? Because what the Clippers did all season to get here was about to go down 3-1 to OKC and if the teams go back to form the Thunder will take the lead in this series. The pressure is still on the Clippers to find something that both works against the Thunder and is sustainable.
—Kurt Helin

  1. duhwighthoward - May 13, 2014 at 9:37 AM

    The referees have called illegal screen so many times (mainly on the Clippers) when the person setting the pick is stationary, standing straight up. All it takes is for the defender to fall or to try to fight their way through (as opposed to moving around it, like you’re supposed to), and the refs blow the whistle.

    It’s getting harder and harder to continue watching the NBA (along with the endless reviews and instant replays). It seems like many refs don’t understand some of the most basic principles of the game.

    • phillyguyindc - May 13, 2014 at 10:45 AM

      The KD failed flop attempt on the screen in game 3 was hilarious. The flop was so bad that they couldn’t give him the call.

      I don’t have a video of it but there has to be one on Youtube someplace.

      • phillyguyindc - May 13, 2014 at 10:47 AM

        Found it. It was game 2 sorry

      • john242322 - May 13, 2014 at 3:48 PM

        You’re forgiven

  2. duhwighthoward - May 13, 2014 at 10:48 AM

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nx3j3SS0408 @39 sec

    • gravyinsane - May 13, 2014 at 11:34 AM

      Almost in the same league as a CP3 flop….

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