Buckle up. The 2014 NBA playoffs feature a trio of critical Game 5s on Wednesday.
The series between the No. 1 seed San Antonio Spurs and the No. 8 seed Dallas Mavericks is tied at two games apiece. The No. 5 seed Portland Trail Blazers hold a 3-to-1 lead over the No. 4 seed Houston Rockets. The No. 3 seed Toronto Raptors and No. 6 seed Brooklyn Nets are tied at two games apiece.
If nothing else, fans will see some separation in these tightly contested battles. Here is a look at the entire broadcast schedule for Wednesday’s action:
|Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs||2-2||7 p.m.||TNT|
|Brooklyn Nets at Toronto Raptors||2-2||7:30 p.m.||NBATV|
|Portland Trail Blazers at Houston Rockets||3-1 (Portland)||9:30 p.m.||TNT|
With so many thrilling playoff contests every night, it is easy to lose track of the developments. But fear not—an updated bracket can be found right here for both the Western Conference and the Eastern Conference.
Wednesday’s Game to Watch: Dallas Mavericks at San Antonio Spurs, Game 5
If there’s one lesson to be learned from the first round of the 2014 NBA playoffs, it's that being a No. 1 seed isn’t what it used to be.
The Indiana Pacers are trailing 3-to-2 against the No. 8 seed Atlanta Hawks, and the Spurs have struggled to get any separation from the Mavericks out West. The series is tied at two games apiece, and whichever squad wins on Wednesday will have a great chance of taking the series.
San Antonio was outplayed for the majority of Game 1 before a critical fourth-quarter comeback. It lost Game 2 and then lost a back-and-forth affair in Game 3 after Vince Carter hit a stunning three-pointer at the buzzer. The team then blew a 20-point lead in Game 4 only to emerge victorious at the end.
Who wins Game 5?
Boris Diaw drilled a monumental three-pointer for the Spurs late in the game, but it might have turned out differently were it not for DeJuan Blair’s technical foul and ejection for kicking Tiago Splitter in the head in the fourth quarter.
Blair talked about that after the contest, per the Associated Press, via ESPN.com: "It's real disappointing because with me in the game our momentum was going great and when that happened and that got me out of there, that was a big deal.”
The Spurs may have momentum heading into Game 5, but that won’t mean much if superstar point guard Tony Parker doesn’t play. Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News and Dave McMenamin of ESPNLosAngeles.com provided updates:
If this were the regular season, I'm guessing we wouldn't see Tony Parker for a week or two. Interesting to see how Pop handles him.— Jeff McDonald (@JMcDonald_SAEN) April 29, 2014
Tony Parker has a grade 1 sprain in his L ankle, according to Gregg Popovich. He is considered day to day. Game 5 is Wednesday— Dave McMenamin (@mcten) April 29, 2014
Fortunately for San Antonio, Manu Ginobili has played well in this series. In fact, the Spurs have outscored the Mavericks by 17 points with him on the floor in this series, as opposed to the minus-30 mark with him on the bench, per ESPN.com. Take a look at the southpaw’s impact on Game 4:
|Field-Goal Percentage||54.5 percent||34.3 percent|
Even if Parker is limited in Wednesday’s contest, the Spurs will win because of Ginobili.
He will play more minutes because of Parker’s injury and is capable of filling in at the point guard position. The home crowd will provide just the spark the defending Western Conference champions need in this postseason battle, and Ginobili will continue his inspired play.
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