NBA Playoffs 2014: Latest Results and Predictions for Friday's Games

Rob GoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 25, 2014

HOUSTON, TX - APRIL 23:  LaMarcus Aldridge #12 of the Portland Trail Blazers celebrates a play on the court in the second half of the game against the Houston Rockets in Game Two of the Western Conference Quarterfinals during the 2014 NBA Playoffs at Toyota Center on April 23, 2014 in Houston, Texas. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images)
Scott Halleran/Getty Images

The first round of the NBA playoffs is almost halfway over, and the only thing we have learned is that fans are in for an exciting postseason. 

Only the Miami Heat took advantage of playing at home and won each of their first two games before changing cities. This is something even the top-seeded San Antonio Spurs and Indiana Pacers could not accomplish. 

The Chicago Bulls and Houston Rockets each find themselves down 2-0 and going on the road after pitiful performances at home. However, both squads will look to save the series with important matchups on Friday.

Additionally, the Brooklyn Nets and Toronto Raptors will continue their heated battle in what is appearing to be one of the best series of the playoffs.

Take a look at the results from each game from the first week of action, followed by a preview of the upcoming set of matchups.

NBA Playoffs Results (as of April 25)
GameAtlanta Hawks 2, Indiana Pacers 1Home Team
1Hawks 101, Pacers 93Indiana
2Pacers 101, 85Indiana
3Hawks 98, 85Atlanta
GameMiami Heat 2, Charlotte Bobcats 0Home Team
1Heat 99, Bobcats 88Miami
2Heat 101, Bobcats 97Miami
GameBrooklyn Nets 1, Toronto Raptors 1Home Team
1Nets 94, Raptors 87Toronto
2Raptors 100, Nets 95Toronto
GameWashington Wizards 2, Chicago Bulls 0Home Team
1Wizards 102, Bulls 93Chicago
2Wizards 101, Bulls 99Chicago
GameSan Antonio Spurs 1, Dallas Mavericks 1Home Team
1Spurs 90, Mavericks 85San Antonio
2Mavericks 113, Spurs 92San Antonio
GameMemphis Grizzlies 2, Oklahoma City Thunder 1Home Team
1Thunder 100, Grizzlies 86Oklahoma City
2Grizzlies 111, Thunder 105Oklahoma City
3Grizzlies 98, Thunder 95Memphis
GameLos Angeles Clippers 2, Golden State Warriors 1Home Team
1Warriors 109, Clippers 105Los Angeles
2Clippers 138, Warriors 98Los Angeles
3Clippers 98, Warriors, 96Golden State
GamePortland Trail Blazers 2, Houston Rockets 0Home Team
1Trail Blazers 122, Rockets 120Houston
2Trail Blazers 112, Rockets 105Houston

 

Day 7 Preview

Toronto Raptors at Brooklyn Nets

TORONTO, ON - APRIL 22: Kevin Garnett #2 of the Brooklyn Nets drives to the basket against the Toronto Raptors in Game Two of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals during the NBA Playoffs at the Air Canada Centre on April 22, 2014 in Toronto, Ontario, Cana
Dave Sandford/Getty Images

This has been a much more heated series than many could have anticipated when it began. Both sides have been firing shots on and off the court, but the most notable might have come from Toronto general manager Masai Ujiri, who screamed an expletive directed at Brooklyn before Game 1.

While this might have gotten fans in Toronto pumped up, it will really bring out the best (or worst) from fans attending Game 3 in New York. Kevin Garnett explained that he is excited about playing in the upcoming environment, via Ben Golliver of Sports Illustrated:

When you’re on the road, you try to get one [win] on the road, try to get homecourt advantage. That’s what we did. We’ve got to take care of home. It’s going to be a rowdy environment.  Like it should be. I don’t know if you can say ‘F Brooklyn’ and then come into Brooklyn. So we’re about to see what it’s like.

This might end up being the difference in the game between two evenly matched teams. The Raptors have a big size advantage that helped them outrebound the Nets 52-30 in Game 2, but Brooklyn will shoot much better at home like it has all year.

At that point, expect veterans like Paul Pierce and Joe Johnson to close out better than the young, inexperienced and likely nervous DeMar DeRozan and company.

Prediction: Nets 101, Raptors 98

 

Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards

CHICAGO, IL - APRIL 22:  Trevor Booker #35, Nene Hilario #42 and John Wall #2 of the Washington Wizards walk off the court in Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinals against the Chicago Bulls on April 22, 2014 at the United Center in Chicago, Illin
Gary Dineen/Getty Images

The Bulls had the No. 1 defense in the NBA during the regular season, but that has faltered against the young, athletic Washington Wizards. Although one of the games went into overtime, this stat is alarming:

Despite these struggles, the bigger problem is on the offensive side of the ball. Although there are players capable of scoring, like Joakim Noah, D.J. Augustin and others, none of them have been consistent. Most importantly, none of them can be trusted to make a shot with the game on the line.

While you do not need a superstar to win in the NBA, you need someone who can be a go-to scorer when it counts.

On the other hand, the Wizards have been playing exceptionally well and are now in an unfamiliar position:

Still, they will come home to an excited crowd and will have all the confidence in the world in Game 3. Considering John Wall is still not even playing at his best, the Bulls are in serious trouble.

Prediction: Wizards 95, Bulls 90

 

Houston Rockets at Portland Trail Blazers

This series has been as exciting as advertised, with great individual performances and little defense from either side. The only thing that has surprised anyone is the fact that the Trail Blazers were able to pull out both wins.

The reason has clearly been the play of LaMarcus Aldridge, who has totaled 89 points, 26 rebounds and five blocks in an incredible pair of days. He put himself in rare territory with his scoring: 

Aldridge has been knocking down virtually every mid-range jumper he has taken, and the Rockets simply do not have a way to defend it. On the other hand, these high-difficulty shots are likely to miss eventually.

On the other hand, Dwight Howard has been almost as impressive with 59 points and 29 rebounds in the two games while getting almost everything inside. It is hard to imagine Portland stopping this without much size inside.

Additionally, the outside shooting has been simply horrific, according to Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle:

This squad is much better than that, and you can expect these numbers to rise going forward. That is bad news for Portland, even while heading home for Game 3.

Prediction: Rockets 118, Trail Blazers 111

 

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