Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets
Time: 8:00 PM (ET)
Series: Warriors lead 3-1
When David Lee injured his hip in the fourth quarter of Golden State's first playoff game, no one gave the Warriors much of a chance to win their series against the Denver Nuggets.
No one bothered to tell Stephen Curry and Jarrett Jack, however. The duo has combined to average 47.3 points, 18.3 assists and 9.8 rebounds per game against the Nuggets, and Golden State holds a commanding 3-1 lead heading into Tuesday's Game 5.
In short, Denver has done a terrible job of containing the Warriors' shooters: Golden State has shot 52 percent or better in each of its victories. Without the injured Danilo Gallinari, the Nuggets simply don't have enough offensive firepower to match up with the Warriors in a high-scoring affair.
Strangely enough, the Warriors have enjoyed most of their success when they've allowed Nuggets' guard Ty Lawson to do as he pleases on the offensive end. Lawson scored just 12 points and dished out a mere four assists in Denver's 97-95 Game 1 victory, but he's averaging 26.7 PPG and 9.3 APG in the Nuggets' three losses.
With three straight wins (including two by double digits), the momentum is clearly on the Warriors' side. That said, Denver has played too well at the Pepsi Center this year not to make a series out of it. So expect the Nuggets to come away with a victory in Game 5 before Golden State ends the drama in Game 6.
Prediction: Nuggets 107, Warriors 101
Memphis Grizzlies at Los Angeles Clippers
Time: 10:30 PM (ET)
Series: Tied 2-2
The team that has won the battle on the glass has won each game of this series so far, and Game 5 should be no different. With the action shifting back to L.A., expect the Clippers to dial up their aggressiveness a notch and end the night with a 3-2 series lead.
That won't happen if DeAndre Jordan continues his invisible man act, however. The Clippers' center is averaging just 2.8 points per game, and his defensive rating for the series is 106. As a result, the Memphis Grizzlies completely outworked the Clippers in the paint in Games 3 and 4, grabbing 30 offensive rebounds to L.A.'s 10.
The 104 points that the Grizzlies put up in Game 4 is an aberration. Memphis was 27th in the league in scoring this season at just 93.4 points per game. That—along with the fact that the Grizzlies' three primary guards have combined to shoot less than 30 percent from the arc in the playoffs—is a bad omen for the future.
So, in a pivotal Game 5, expect the Clippers to pack it in defensively and force the Grizzlies to knock down a few outside shots. Unless Mike Conley or Jerryd Bayless gets hot, L.A. should once again be in the driver's seat of the series.
Prediction: Clippers 99, Grizzlies 91