Invite your friends over, lock yourself in your den and order the chicken wings early because Saturday is a dream day for NBA fans. As LeBron James might say, we have not one, not two, but three do-or-die Game 7s on tap.
Here is a look at Saturday's broadcast information with lines that are courtesy of Odds Shark as of Saturday, May 3:
|2014 NBA Playoffs Saturday Schedule and Odds|
|Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers||5:30 p.m.||TNT||IND -6.5|
|Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder||8 p.m.||TNT||OKC -9.5|
|Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers||10:30 p.m.||TNT||LAC -7.5|
With so many first-round series coming down to the final game, it is easy to lose track of everything that has happened in the NBA playoffs. Fortunately, an updated bracket can be found right here.
Now that we know what the schedule and bracket look like, let's dig into a few predictions for Saturday's action.
Atlanta Hawks at Indiana Pacers
The Indiana Pacers and their fans had to hold their breath after the Game 6 victory because the NBA investigated whether or not superstar Paul George would be suspended for stepping onto the floor during a skirmish.
He was not, which is fortunate for Indiana because he has scored more than 20 points in all six postseason games and has accounted for five double-doubles. He hit a critical three-pointer in the final minutes of Game 6, which is a major reason this series is still continuing.
The Pacers have to get out to a good start, as coach Frank Vogel said, according to the Associated Press, via ESPN.com: "My thing is that three of the last four times we've played these guys (in Indy), they built 20-point leads and beat us pretty good. So I don't think anyone from this team can think we're going to be OK just because we're back home."
The home crowd will be rocking and will find a way to will the team to the solid start it needs.
The No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference will finally play like the top seed should, and George will help at least contain Atlanta point guard Jeff Teague. The Hawks have never won a Game 7 on the road in franchise history and will add another loss Saturday.
Prediction: Indiana 91, Atlanta 80
Memphis Grizzlies at Oklahoma City Thunder
All those plans for a James and Kevin Durant showdown in the NBA Finals appeared to be on ice when the Memphis Grizzlies jumped out to a 3-2 lead heading into Game 6. However, the Thunder dominated Game 6 in Memphis, and the Grizzlies have a lot to worry about for the final contest, as Gary Parrish of CBS Sports pointed out:
Memphis has put up an incredible fight, but there is so much attrition with injuries and suspensions, it is almost impossible to see the Grizzlies winning on the road.
Russell Westbrook is one of the hardest players to stay in front of at full strength, so Mike Conley's injury is particularly worrisome. Throw in the fact that Tony Allen has to deal with Durant at less than full health, and this game could get ugly.
It's almost an unfair situation for the Grizzlies, but they are going home Saturday.
Prediction: Oklahoma City 92, Memphis 78
Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Clippers
From a pure entertainment standpoint, this series between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Golden State Warriors is off the charts. There have been up-and-down transition plays, significant momentum swings from one side to the other, rim-rattling dunks and flurries of impressive three-point shooting.
Unfortunately, Chris Paul is clearly hurting. His hamstring and wrist/hand area are concerning, especially since he is the straw that stirs the drink for the Clippers.
What's more, Draymond Green has provided solid defense on Blake Griffin and is at least containing the big man's production at times. Griffin was 8-of-24 shooting in Game 6 and was clearly bothered by Green.
Even with home-court advantage, it is difficult to envision Los Angeles winning without Paul at 100 percent. Golden State will have too much offense and play its way to a second-round matchup against the Thunder.
Prediction: Golden State 98, Los Angeles 92
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