The Hawks, Grizzlies and Clippers all were able to go up in their respective series on Thursday. Here is how the games played out.
Pacers 85 – Hawks 98
After their Game One win, the Hawks looked like an eight-seed that could upset the top team in the East. After their loss in Game Two, it looked like the Pacers were finally ready to shake their weary ways. But with another huge win in Game Three, the Hawks are now back in the drivers seat with a 2-1 series lead thanks to a 98-85 final. Jeff Teague came up big in Game One but was held in check in Game Two. In Game Three, he got back on track and put up 22 points and dished out 10 assists. Kyle Korver added 20 points, going 4-7 on 3-point attempts. DeMarre Carroll had 18 and Paul Millsap had 14. As for the Pacers, Paul George was held to just 12 points, and George Hill and Roy Hibbert were hardly factors with just four points each. Lance Stephenson led the Pacers with 21 points, though he shot just 8-16 from the field and 2-6 from distance. The Pacers were able to come back from their Game One loss and be dominate in Game Two, thanks to 29 points from Paul George. However, the last thing Indiana wants to do is play a game-for-game series; especially since they know find themselves the team that is behind. And though it now looks inevitable, the Pacers probably don’t want to take this game to seven games if they want to stay fresh for whoever they’ll play in the next round. However, if things keep going the way the have been, it may not mater and the Pacers could find themselves in company they don’t want to be. The Pacers are just the fifth one-seed to be down in a series, 2-1. Of the four before them, three of them have lost in six games. The Pacers sit at 10/1 to win the NBA Championship. However, if the Hawks can get a win in Game Four, their 150/1 odds could greatly increase with tons of momentum.
Thunder 95 – Grizzlies 98
For the second game in a row, the Memphis Grizzlies were able to beat the Oklahoma City Thunder in overtime. In the same two-game stretch, the Thunder needed late rallies to even force the extra time, after the Grizz had as much as a 17-point lead in the fourth quarter. Despite having the second best record in the regular season, the Thunder now find themselves down 2-1 to a team that barely snuck into the playoffs in their closing games. Kevin Durant followed up his huge Game Two effort with 30 points on Wednesday. However, he was 0-8 from beyond the arc and shot 10-27 from the field. Russell Westbrook also had 30 points, but his shooting performance was equally as rough at just 9-26 from the field. So far in the series Durant and Westbrook have taken 100 of the Thunders 169 total shots, while the rest of the team is noticing obvious minimal input. As for the Grizzlies, they had a well-rounded effort from multiple players. Mike Conley led the way with 20, including five in overtime. Zach Randolph and Tony Allen both contributed 16, while Marc Gasol chipped in 14. If the Pacers are on high alert because of their 2-1 hole, then the Thunder have to be equally concerned. They have been able to establish those late furies, but they need to figure out how to turn it on much earlier in the game. Game Three of this series is on Saturday, which sportspick.com handicappers will have odds on before tip off.
Clippers 98 – Warriors 96
The Warriors certainly turned some heads with their 109-105 Game One win over the Clippers in LA. However, the Clippers followed it up with a huge blowout that made it look like they would easily be able to handle the Warriors the rest of the series. However, Game Three was certainly the best, as the Clippers edged out the 98-96 win while holding off the Warriors from a desperate rally attempt. The Clippers were up by as much as 18 in the third quarter, though Steph Curry was part of a fourth quarter comeback that almost saw the Warriors take the series lead back. However, Blake Griffin had 32 points and three other starters for the Clippers scored in double digits, including 15 from Chris Paul and 14 from JJ Reddick and DeAndre Jordan. Klay Thompson was quiet in Game Two, but he led the Warriors with 26 on Thursday. Unlike the higher seeded Pacers and Thunder, the Clippers were the only team that was able to get back their home court advantage with a Game Three win. Now they’ll try and keep things rolling and bury the Warriors even more with Game Four on Sunday.