The 2013-14 NBA season was filled with ups and downs from nearly every franchise. So with the playoffs now in the second round, was there ever any doubt that the postseason would be a microcosm of the regular season?
After sweeping the Charlotte Bobcats and taking a commanding lead in the second round, the Miami Heat were dismantled by the Brooklyn Nets in Game 3.
In the opening game of the other Eastern Conference series, the Indiana Pacers were trounced by the Washington Wizards. Since that point, though, the Pacers have taken a commanding 3-1 lead and appear to be back on track for a potential showdown with Miami in the next round.
Out West, there's really only one actual series taking place, with the Los Angeles Clippers and Oklahoma City Thunder tied up at two games apiece. As for the San Antonio Spurs, they are one game away from clinching and haven't shown any signs of slowing up against the Portland Trail Blazers.
With two of the series getting back underway on Monday night, here's a look at the updated schedule and breakdown of each matchup.
|1||Clippers at Thunder||May 5||Clippers 122, Thunder 105||Clippers 1-0|
|2||Clippers at Thunder||May 7||Thunder 112, Clippers 101||Series tied 1-1|
|3||Thunder at Clippers||May 9||Thunder 118, Clippers 112||Thunder 2-1|
|4||Thunder at Clippers||May 11||Clippers 101, Thunder 99||Series tied 2-2|
|5||Clippers at Thunder||May 13||9:30 p.m.||TNT|
|6*||Thunder at Clippers||May 15||TBD||ESPN|
|7*||Clippers at Thunder||May 18||TBD||TNT|
|1||Blazers at Spurs||May 6||Spurs 116, Blazers 92||Spurs 1-0|
|2||Blazers at Spurs||May 8||Spurs 114, Blazers 97||Spurs 2-0|
|3||Spurs at Blazers||May 10||Spurs 118, Blazers 103||Spurs 3-0|
|4||Spurs at Blazers||May 12||10:30 p.m.||TNT|
|5*||Blazers at Spurs||May 14||TBD||TNT|
|6*||Spurs at Blazers||May 16||TBD||ESPN|
|7*||Blazers at Spurs||May 19||TBD||TNT|
|1||Wizards at Pacers||May 5||Wizards 102, Pacers 96||Wizards 1-0|
|2||Wizards at Pacers||May 7||Pacers 86, Wizards 82||Series tied 1-1|
|3||Pacers at Wizards||May 9||Pacers 85, Wizards 63||Pacers 2-1|
|4||Pacers at Wizards||May 11||Pacers 95, Wizards 92||Pacers 3-1|
|5||Wizards at Pacers||May 13||7 p.m.||TNT|
|6*||Pacers at Wizards||May 15||TBD||ESPN|
|7*||Wizards at Pacers||May 18||TBD||TBD|
|1||Nets at Heat||May 6||Heat 107, Nets 86||Heat 1-0|
|2||Nets at Heat||May 8||Heat 94, Nets 82||Heat 2-0|
|3||Heat at Nets||May 10||Nets 104, Heat 90||Heat 2-1|
|4||Heat at Nets||May 12||8 p.m.||TNT|
|5*||Nets at Heat||May 14||TBD||TNT|
|6*||Heat at Nets||May 16||TBD||ESPN|
|7*||Nets at Heat||May 19||TBD||ABC|
Breakdown of Remaining Games
As much as analysts—myself included—have beaten down the Pacers, it might be time to say they're officially back.
Roy Hibbert has finally returned to relevance, and Paul George looks like his All-Star self again. And the timing couldn't be more perfect, as they have the Wizards on the brink and either the Heat or Nets awaiting them in the next round.
Even with the game on the line and a 19-point deficit to overcome, George took over with a masterful performance in Game 4. ESPN Stats & Info points out just how rare the game was from the 24-year-old:
While that series is all but over for Washington, Los Angeles experienced a resurgence of their own over the weekend.
Facing an early 22-point deficit, the Clippers put on an inspiring show to pull out the 101-99 win. After the win, Brian Windhorst of ESPN explains where he believes Doc Rivers is in the NBA coaching stratosphere:
The only true peer Rivers has now is the San Antonio Spurs' Gregg Popovich, who has strong sway in all personnel decisions. Last year, for example, Popovich decided he was done with temperamental forward Stephen Jackson, so Jackson was cut just a week before the start of the playoffs. Coaches -- even high-profile, fully tenured coaches -- get fed up with players all the time but don't have the juice to cast them off the roster.
Pretty high praise for a coach who had a team in shambles just weeks ago.
Will the Heat and Spurs make the Finals again?
With the Clippers coming back in Game 4, the time is now for them to pounce on the Thunder. Kevin Durant and Oklahoma City played phenomenal following his MVP speech, but the momentum is firmly leaning toward L.A. at this point.
As for the other two series, both the Spurs and Heat appear to still be the prized fighters. A win for Brooklyn on Monday night would do a lot for their confidence, but Miami is still too strong for the team to overcome.
In the West, San Antonio has thoroughly routed the Blazers in a one-sided series thus far. LaMarcus Aldridge, Portland's MVP in the opening round, spoke about the Spurs' persistence, telling the Associated Press, "They're just persistent. They play championship basketball and that's what we have to get to."
While we've been waiting for the Spurs to finally show their age, Tim Duncan and Tony Parker simply age like a fine wine. As both are once again controlling a group of young stars, a rematch of the 2013 NBA Finals seems destined to take place.
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