The NBA playoffs got off to a wild start on Saturday as the Cleveland Cavaliers and Utah Jazz each won their games on the final possession. The Milwaukee Bucks put on a defensive clinic and crushed the Toronto Raptors on the road, and the San Antonio Spurs did the same against the Memphis Grizzlies.
Here's a look at the schedule for Sunday's games as well as one X-factor in each matchup who could make a big difference.
|NBA Playoffs: Sunday, April 16 Schedule|
|Sunday, April 16||1 p.m.||Atlanta at Washington||1||TNT|
|Sunday, April 16||3:30 p.m.||Portland at Golden State||1||ABC|
|Sunday, April 16||6:30 p.m.||Chicago at Boston||1||TNT|
|Sunday, April 16||9 p.m.||Oklahoma City at Houston||1||TNT|
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Atlanta at Washington
Washington power forward Markieff Morris had an up-and-down season. He was hot for most of the winter, averaging more than 17 points per game in both January and February, but he cooled off in March, posting just 10.3 points a night on 41.4 percent shooting.
However, Morris shot a scorching 61.2 percent from the field in April. If he's able to maintain that hot streak going into the playoffs the Wizards could make a deep postseason run. Morris had consistent success against the Hawks this season, averaging 17.0 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.0 steals per game.
Ultimately, if Morris is hitting his outside jumpers (especially ones from beyond the three-point arc) the Wizards will be a very dangerous playoff team.
Portland at Golden State
Trail Blazers guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum are going to need a lot of help if center Jusuf Nurkic, who missed the last seven regular-season games with a "non-displaced right leg fibular fracture," per a team announcement, is unable to suit up in the postseason.
Right now, Nurkic is listed as questionable for Game 1, per CSN Northwest.
If Nurkic can't go, or plays but is slowed down by the injury, then will a third scoring option emerge?
Keep an eye out for shooting guard Allen Crabbe. The former Cal star is dealing with a left foot injury but is probable to play Sunday, per Jason Quick of CSN Northwest.
Crabbe shot the ball well this year, hitting 44.4 percent of his three-pointers, good enough for second on the team. He can get hot, as evidenced by a 25-point performance against Minnesota in April where he hit eight of 10 threes.
Against the Splash Brothers of Golden State, Portland will likely need to stay hot from beyond the arc to keep pace. Crabbe could certainly help that effort.
Chicago at Boston
Granted, it's a limited sample size, but Celtics center Kelly Olynyk had two good games against Chicago this year, averaging 14.0 points, 8.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
The fourth-year pro is enjoying his most efficient shooting season in the NBA, making 51.2 percent of his field goals. Olynyk is also a bad matchup for some teams, as the seven-footer can shoot three-pointers (35.4 percent on the year).
Don't be surprised to see Olynyk get some more run than usual in this series (he plays 20.5 minutes per game but averaged 31.5 minutes against Chicago).
Oklahoma City at Houston
Rockets shooting guard Lou Williams scored 31 points in a 137-125 win over Oklahoma City in March. The 2014-15 winner of the Sixth Man of the Year award is a huge boost for Houston off the bench, as he fits in seamlessly with a team that loves to chuck three-pointers all game.
Williams averaged 5.5 three-point attempts this season and posted 17.5 points in just 24.6 minutes per game.
Williams symbolizes the problem Oklahoma City will face in this series. Simply put, OKC can't slow down the Houston three-point attack, which four-fifths of the Rockets lineup (minus the center) will deploy, and it doesn't have the scoring punch outside Russell Westbrook to win four games.
Since being traded from the Los Angeles Lakers midseason Williams has not shot well for Houston, making just 38.6 percent of his field goals, but he could get hot at any time and torch a team for 30-plus in limited court action.