After a trio of Game Six’s on Wednesday night, we are headed to Game Seven’s across the board. Here is a look how three teams evened up their series’ in win-or-go-home situations.
<B>Pacers 95 – Hawks 88</b>
The Atlanta Hawks were ready to post an epic upset over the top-seeded Indiana Pacers when they were up in the final minutes of Game Six. David West had other plans as the veteran scored six of his 24 points in the final three minutes. The Pacers outscored the Hawks, 31-21, in the final quarter, led by West and some clutch jumpers from the top of the key. The end result was a 16-4 run that gave the win to Indiana, and forced a Game Seven to be played on Saturday night on the Pacers home court. Paul George stepped up big for the Pacers as well, putting up 24 of his own points and grabbing 8 rebounds. However, after a scuffle in the first half, George was seen taking a step off the bench, which typically results in an automatic suspension. If George is missing in Game Seven, that could be a huge blow to the Pacers. And they’ll need all the help they can get, considering they are just 2-4 all-time in Game Sevens. As for the Hawks, they were lead by Jeff Teague, who had 29 points, and Paul Millsap had 16, along with 18 rebounds. The Hawks would’ve liked to have closed things out on Wednesday, but they’ve already won twice in Indiana so far this postseason. They’ll look to get a third win on Saturday, to join an elite club of eight-seeds who have been able to knock off one-seeded teams. The Pacers, who saw majority of the season as one of the teams with the best odds to win the NBA Championship, now find themselves at 40/1 odds. The Hawks are just below that at 50/1.
<b>Thunder 104 – Grizzlies 84</b>
The Oklahoma City Thunder were not pegged to have this much trouble in the playoffs. However, it would take a monstrous 36-point, 10-rebound night from Kevin Durant to help the Thunder beat the Grizzlies by 20 points. The margin was the most of the series, which has seen the last four games go into overtime. However, keep in mind that after Game One, which the Thunder won by 14 on their home court, the Grizzlies came out in Game Two and stole a win on the Thunder’s home court. Oklahoma City will look to avoid this from happening this time around. Along with Durant’s 36, Russell Westbrook pitched in 25 and grabbed 9 boards of his own. These two were the only starters for the Thunder to score in double digits, while Jeremy Lamb came off the bench and added 16. For the Grizzlies, Marc Gasol had 17 and Zach Randolph added 16. However, no Memphis player was able to get into double-digits for rebounds, a statistic that the Thunder had a +11 advantage with. Game Seven will be on Saturday night in Oklahoma City. The Thunder will look to follow up their drubbing of Memphis in Game Six, by avoiding being knocked off for the second year in a row by the Grizzlies. As for Memphis, who sit just behind the Thunder (12/1) at 25/1 odds to win it all, they would love to advance as a seven-seed into the Conference Semis.
<b>Clippers 99 – Warriors 100</b>
The Warriors were hanging on by a thread as they entered their Game Six matchup against LA, down in the series 2-3. And with their 100-99 win on Wednesday, they escaped just barely to force a deciding Game Seven, set for Saturday night. The star for the Warriors was Steph Curry, who finished with 24 points and nine assists. For the Clippers, three starters were able to get into double digits, including Blake Griffin, Chris Paul and Matt Barnes. DeAndre Jordan, who had a monster Game Five, finished on Wednesday with just 9 points, though he did pull down 19 rebounds. Despite the loss, the Clippers still sit at 11/2 favorites to win it all. The Warriors sit at 70/1, but that could all change on Saturday night. Keep an eye out for how things go down in Los Angeles, just two games removed from the events that happened with their owner last weekend. Be sure to check back with sportspicks.com handicappers before Game Seven tipoff in this game, and all of the other on Saturday, to see who is picked to advance in the next round.