Three games from the Eastern Conference Playoffs took place on Tuesday night. In two of them, the team that lost Game 1 was able to even things up, while another team was able to go up 2-0 in their series. Here is a look at those games.
Hawks vs. Pacers
There have been plenty of concerns for the Pacers over the last few weeks. The need for concern certainly increased after their Game 1 loss to the Hawks in the first round of the playoffs. However, Pacers fans can breath a bit easier, as their team evened things up with a 101-85 victory in Game 2. The 16-point victory was finally one where the Pacers looked to be firing on all cylinders, and Paul George had one of his most dominating efforts in the last few months. In the game, George had 27 points and 10 rebounds. Part of that performance included going 5-for-7 from downtown, and 4 for 4 from the free throw line. Helping out Paul George was George Hill. Hill had 15 points, all of which came in the second half when the Pacers really started to pull away from Atlanta. The Pacers were also able to limit the prowess of Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap. In Game 1, Teague had 28 and Millsap had 25, while Tuesday night they only put up 14 and 19, respectively. Indiana still has to be disappointed that they lost the first game on their home court and were only able to split the first two games. However, a 16-point win is a good sign and they’ll hope to keep things going. As for the Hawks, they did what they needed to do by stealing Game 1. Now they’ll have the chance to go home and use the advantage as they try and continue their effort to upset the East’s top-ranked team.
Nets vs. Raptors
DeMar DeRozan was held to just 14 points in the Raptors Game 1 loss to the Nets. On Tuesday, he’d go for 30 as he helped Toronto even up their series at one game a piece. Along with DeRozan, Jonas Valaciunas had his second double-double in a row, going for 15 points and 14 rebounds. Toronto outscored Brooklyn in the first half, 45-39, but the Nets came back in the third where they outscored the Raptors by 8 to take the lead. However, a 36-29 fourth quarter would be enough as Toronto was able to beat one of the hottest teams in the NBA and get at least one game on their home court. Now they’ll have to head to Brooklyn and try and get at least one win, if they hope to regain their advantage as a higher seed. For the Nets, Joe Johnson had 18 points, while Deron Williams pitched in with 15 and Mira Teletovic had 14. One of the bigger frustrations for Brooklyn had to of been Paul Pierce, who was just 2 for 11 shooting and was in foul trouble throughout the game. Pierce, who was a vital part in the Game 1 win, finished with just seven points on Tuesday. Be sure to check back with sportspicks.com handicappers before Game 3 starts on Friday night.
Wizards vs. Bulls
The Bulls gave up Game 1 on their home court when Nene had a monster game. On Tuesday, they blew two large leads throughout the game and the end result was the same as the Wizards took the 2-0 series lead. Bradley Beal was the hero in this game for the Wizards, finishing the game with 26 points and having two crucial buckets that got things rolling. Down by ten in the fourth, Beal nailed a floater and came back with a three to bring the game to 91-88 in favor of the Bulls. Those five were part of an 11-point fourth quarter for Beal, which was added to by 17 from Nene and 16 from John Wall. For the Bulls, Joakim Noah had 20 points and 12 rebounds on the night that he received the NBA Defensive Player Of The Year Award. Taj Gibson and DJ Augustin also came up big with 22 and 25 points off the bench. These are the type of games that are heartbreakers for the Bulls. Just two points is the difference in tying the series up at one and, as it is now, being down 2-0. It’s not over for the Bulls, but they certainly have one of the hardest paths to try and overcome.
The Bobcats, Mavericks and Rockets will all look to avoiding joining the Bulls in the 0-2 club. And while the Bobcats and Mavericks have to do it on the road, the Bulls proved that the Rockets should be weary in their game two at home.