The 2014 NBA playoffs have been nothing short of thrilling. That excitement will continue Saturday with a whopping four games throughout the afternoon and into the evening.
It all gets started with the top-seeded Indiana Pacers looking to even things up with the underdog Atlanta Hawks, followed by the No. 1 San Antonio Spurs looking to avenge a loss to the No. 8 Dallas Mavericks. The action then shifts to the defending champs, with the Miami Heat trying to move one step closer to a sweep against the Charlotte Bobcats. And the day of hoops concludes with a good old-fashioned brawl between the Oklahoma City Thunder and Memphis Grizzlies.
You won’t want to miss a single minute, so keep reading to find out where you can watch every game, check out the latest odds for each team and much more.
|2014 NBA Playoffs - Schedule and Odds for April 26|
|Matchup||Series||Time and TV Info (ET)||Odds||Prediction|
|(1) Indiana Pacers at (8) Atlanta Hawks||ATL leads IND 2-1||TNT, 2 p.m.||IND -2||Pacers|
|(1) San Antonio Spurs at (8) Dallas Mavericks||SA-DAL tied 1-1||TNT, 4:30 p.m.||SA -3.5||Spurs|
|(2) Miami Heat at (7) Charlotte Bobcats||MIA leads CHA 2-0||ESPN, 7 p.m.||MIA -5||Heat|
|(2) Oklahoma City Thunder at (7) Memphis Grizzlies||MEM leads OKC 2-1||ESPN, 9:30 p.m.||OKC -3||Thunder|
Saturday Matchup to Watch: Oklahoma City Thunder at Memphis Grizzlies
Saturday is a huge day for the Thunder, as they are looking to get revenge and even up the bloodbath currently taking place against the Grizzlies. Memphis eliminated this team from playoff contention last year, but many pointed to the absence of Russell Westbrook as the deciding factor in that series.
With Westbrook on the court and healthy, there are now no excuses for the West’s No. 2 seed. Oklahoma City’s back is up against the wall, and it must deliver after a brutal 98-95 loss in overtime Thursday.
Thunder head coach Scott Brooks is confident that his roster will respond in this situation, as per Berry Tramel of NewsOK.com:
We’ve been through a lot of battles together. We understand that on the road, it’s a tough environment. You have to stick together. That’s all you have. There’s no other choice. We’ve always been that way.
It’s not going to be easy, especially not with Memphis dialed in and playing some of its best basketball of the season. The Griz have won seven of their last eight games, all of them meaningful. The team initially battled for a playoff spot and is now going up against a familiar foe for the right to advance in the postseason, a fight it has the upper hand in.
Memphis’ defense, the club’s strength and identity over the past few years, has been on point. It limited Kevin Durant, likely to win his first NBA MVP Award this year, to just 30 points on 10-of-27 shooting and 0-of-8 three-pointers over 49 minutes in Game 3. Russell Westbrook didn’t fare much better, hitting just nine of his 26 shot attempts for 30 points.
ESPN Stats & Info posted a photo of KD’s shot chart:
Westbrook outright admitted his shot selection was poor, which is a testament the Griz’s defensive effort. He told Scott Gleeson of USA Today Sports: "I took some bad ones. I've gotta do a better job of attacking."
Expect the Thunder to get back on track by looking for the open man and making the extra pass in Game 4. While Durant and Westbrook are All-NBA talents who can completely take over a game, they are going to need support from their teammates to win this one.
It should be another great game from both sides, so don’t be surprised if this one ends up going to overtime yet again.