Here is a recap of NBA playoff action from Saturday April 26, 2014.
Pacers 91 – Hawks 88
This may not be the way that a one-seed wants a playoff series to go, but the Pacers will happily take their 91-88 win over the Hawks on Saturday night. The win ties the series at two games each, which now shifts the home-court advantage back to Indiana. Down 85-83, Paul George would hit a three-pointer that gave the Pacers the 86-85 lead. That was then followed up with just over 90-seconds left by a David West three-pointer. George would finish the night with 24 points and 10 rebounds and West was second on the team with 18 points of his own. Concerns still loom for the Pacers when it comes to Roy Hibbert, as the All-Star center only scored 6 points and secured just 3 rebounds on the evening. The Pacers will certainly take the win, but they’ll hope for more production from Hibbert as the series continues. For the Hawks, Paul Millsap continued his hot playoff start as he finished with a team-high 29 points. It may not be the ideal situation, but the 2-2 series tie is where the Pacers needed to get to after going to Atlanta. Things are now squared up and both teams will be looking to get a Game Five win in Indiana on Monday.
Spurs 108 – Mavericks 109
When the Dallas Mavericks got a win in Game Two on San Antonio’s home court, it probably surprised a lot of people. But when they followed it up with yet another win to take the 2-1 series lead in Dallas, the Mavericks proved that this is a team that should not be underestimated. It is often discussed about the importance of the veterans on San Antonio, however it was Dallas’ Vince Carter that was the hero on Saturday. The 16-year veteran hit a game winning three-pointer over Manu Ginobili, who had given the Spurs a 108-106 lead just seconds before. Dirk Nowitzki had his best scoring game of the series, putting up 18 points and Monte Ellis led the Mavericks with 29. For the Spurs, Ginobili would score 12 and Kawhi Leonard would have his best game of the series thus far with 17, while Tim Duncan led the way with 22. Vince Carter became the oldest player in NBA history to hit a buzzer beater and it’s been 13-years since the last time he sank one in a playoff game. Though none may be as sweet as he chases the one goal that has always eluded him, an NBA Championship. The Spurs still sit as favorites as 17/5 odds to win the championship this year, but the Mavs, who now sit at 60/1, have made that road much more difficult for them. Game Four will be on Monday in Dallas, which will likely be another great game between these two Texas teams.
Heat 98 – Bobcats 85
The only team that seems to not be having much trouble in their series is the Miami Heat. With their 98-85 win on Saturday, the Heat are now up 3-0 in their series and are just one win away from having an extended break while they watch the rest of the East battle it out. The Bobcats gave the Heat a hard time in Game Two and lost by just four points. However, in Game One and Game Three the Bobcats lost by double-digits and you’d have to think that they know they are facing a huge uphill battle. LeBron James led the way for Miami, scoring 30 points and pulling down 10 rebounds. James is averaging just under 30 points during this series and he has certainly looked like one of the most dominating players in the playoffs thus far. Dwyane Wade finished with 17 points and Chris Anderson scored 12 and grabbed 7 boards in 22 just minutes of play. The top scorer for Charlotte was Al Jefferson, who finished with 20 and Chris Douglas-Roberts came off the bench with 17. The Heat now have the best odds to win the NBA Championship at 8/5, while the Bobcats have the worst at 1250/1. There are plenty of heartfelt stories of epic comebacks in sports, though this one is quickly getting out of hand for the Bobcats. The Heat will look to close things out on Monday night in Game Four, which you can check with sportspicks.com handicappers before tipoff.
Thunder 92 – Grizzlies 89
There is no hiding the issues that the Oklahoma City Thunder have against the Memphis Grizzlies in the playoffs. Last year the Grizz were able to knock off the Thunder and after wins in Game Two and Game Three, it looked like we could be heading down the same path this year. However, with the help of a huge effort from Reggie Jackson, who scored a playoff career-high 32 points, the Thunder were able to tie the series up at two games apiece with a 92-89 overtime win. The 32 from Jackson were heavily needed, considering Kevin Durant had an atypical performance while only scoring 15, which was how many Russell Westbrook scored as well. Zach Randolph and Mike Conley have been the biggest stars for Memphis thus far in the series, though it was Marc Gasol who led the way on Saturday with 23. Conley finished with 14 and Randolph would chip in 11. Much like the Pacers, and now where the Spurs will find themselves in Game Four, the Thunder needed this win to gain their home-court advantage back. Now they’ll head back to Oklahoma City on Tuesday, in a pivotal Game Five. The last three games have gone into overtime, which has to start taking its toll on both of these teams. But as for the fans, it’s great playoff basketball that is surely showing how much each of these teams want to advance to the Second Round.