The second round of the 2013 NBA playoffs are winding down, but things should only get more exciting with two potential eliminations on the line this Thursday night.
Both the New York Knicks and Golden State Warriors have their backs against the wall and will be fighting for their postseason survival in front of a national audience.
Will they be able to vanquish their foe and live another day, or will their offseason begin early?
Keep reading to read all about the games, including where and when to watch them, short previews, predictions on the final scores and more.
Indiana Pacers vs. New York Knicks, Game 5, Eastern Conference Semifinals
When: Thursday, May 16 at 8 p.m. ET
Where: Madison Square Garden, New York, N.Y.
Series Record: Pacers 3, Knicks 1
This series finally returns to the Big Apple, but it may just be too late for the Knickerbockers.
New York has been manhandled over the duration of this series, and barring an incredible 30-2 run in Game 2, easily could have been swept.
The Pacers are simply the better club and have been utilizing their elite defense and length to hinder the Knicks shooters and stall the offense. If Indiana can keep J.R. Smith’s percentages in the dumpster for one more game, it should be the end for New York.
The Sixth Man of the Year award-winner has averaged 13.3 points in this series, but he’s shooting an appalling 28.1 percent from the field and a horrific 23.1 percent from beyond the arc.
Outside of Carmelo Anthony, no one on the Knicks roster is able to generate buckets consistently. Shutting down Smith has been the unquestioned key to Indy’s success thus far.
If that continues on Thursday, expect the Pacers to advance into the Eastern Conference finals.
Prediction: Pacers 84 - Knicks 81
San Antonio Spurs vs. Golden State Warriors, Game 6, Western Conference Semifinals
When: Thursday, May 16 at 10:30 p.m. ET
Where: Oracle Arena, Oakland, Calif.
Series Record: Spurs 3, Warriors 2
After a rousing Game 4 victory on Mother’s Day, the Dubs fell apart in San Antonio just two days later.
The Spurs held the dynamic backcourt of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson to just 13 total points and ran away with a 109-91 victory in Game 5.
That just can’t happen again for the Warriors, as they will surely be defeated in front of the hometown crowd on Thursday. Curry and Thompson need to chip in at least 20 points apiece in order for the Dubs to force a Game 7, but that is much easier said than done.
San Antonio proved that it could match the intensity and athleticism of the younger Warriors in Game 5, which is something that should be extremely concerning for GSW coach Mark Jackson and his team.
What will happen in this series?
They’ll have to find another area to beat the Spurs in, but there just doesn’t seem to be any glaring weaknesses—especially since they are now crashing the boards and running up and down the court with the same intensity as the Warriors.
Expect a back-and-forth battle that has an outcome largely hinging on how Curry and Thompson perform.
If they can dial it in from long range and put points on the board, this series is going seven. If not, the Dubs are going home.
Prediction: Warriors 101 - Spurs 99