On a historic day in NBA history, an underdog advanced to the Second Round, a team dealing with adversity came back to take the lead in their series and one of the top seeds in the West is now on the brink of elimination. Here’s a recap of Tuesday night’s games.
Wizards 75 – Bulls 69
The Wizards haven’t advanced in the postseason since 2005, but their 75-69 win over the Bulls made for a 4-1 series win. This is a huge step for a team that hasn’t made the postseason since 2008 and this will be just their third appearance in the Eastern Conference semifinals in nearly 40 years. John Wall was drafted as the top pick in the NBA Draft a few years ago, so it’s no surprise that he finished with 24 points to lead the way. However, Bradley Beal has made a name for himself during this series, as he scored 17 points in the game as well. Nene, who missed Game Four, also returned to the lineup and scored 20. For the Bulls, their rollercoaster season comes to an end. They had high hopes to compete in the East with the return of Derrick Rose earlier this season. However, when Rose was injured just a few games in, they dealt Luol Deng in an attempt to start rebuilding. It was quite surprising when Joakim Noah started playing the way that he did, and his energy allowed for Chicago to claim the fourth spot in the East. Now they’ll head into the offseason with plenty of questions, many of which surround the health of Derrick Rose and the future of the franchise. As for the Wizards, they’ll be awaiting the winner of the Pacers and Hawks series. The Wizards started the playoffs with some of the lowest odds to win the NBA Championship, but they now are up to 30/1, after a huge playoff series win for their franchise.
Grizzlies 100 – Thunder 99
The last four games played in the matchup between the Thunder and Grizzlies have gone into overtime. Unfortunately for Oklahoma City, they once again found themselves coming up just short on their home court in a 100-99 loss. Now the Grizzlies have the Thunder on the brink of elimination for a second season in a row, leading the series 3-4. This game was wild throughout, including up until the final buzzer in overtime when it looked like Serge Ibaka tipped in a missed Kevin Durant 3-point attempt. However, the referees went to the replay and the basket was waved off, giving the Grizzlies the win. Three of the four games that have gone into overtime in this series have gone to the Grizzlies, with the biggest margin being back in Game Two when they won by six. And aside from the Thunder’s 14-point win in Game One, the largest point margin for the remaining three games has been no greater than three points. On Tuesday, Mike Miller once again showed up for Memphis and had 21 points to lead the way. He shot 5-8 from downtown, which is exactly what the Grizzlies picked him up this offseason to do. Zach Randolph also pitched in with 20 points and 10 rebounds. For the Thunder, Kevin Durant had 26 points and Russell Westbrook lead the way with 30. Oklahoma City still sits at 19/5 odds to win it all, while the Grizzlies are at 55/1. However, with everything on the line in Game Six on Thursday, these odds could change drastically. You can check back with sportspicks.com handicappers to find odds to this game and the remainder of the games in the First Round and throughout the playoffs.
Warriors 103 – Clippers 113
This has been a wild week for the Los Angeles Clippers. In games two and three, it looked like the Clippers had found a way to settle down the outstanding shooting of Steph Curry and Klay Thompson, as they had a 2-1 series lead. Then everything changed when an audio recording was released, reportedly made by their owner about minorities and people of color. That same night the Clippers would go to Oakland and get blown out by Golden State, tying the series back at two games apiece. As the Clippers returned to their home-court on Tuesday, it looked like things may have settled down a bit. Earlier in the day it was announced that the Clippers owner was banned from the NBA, and the Clippers followed that up with a 13-point win over the Warriors for the 3-2 lead. DeAndre Jordan, who was nearly nonexistent on Sunday with zero points and six rebounds, came back on Tuesday to lead the team with 25 points and 18 boards. The Clippers also got production off the bench in the way of 19 points from Jamal Crawford. Despite everything going on with the Clippers organization, this is the first time in franchise history that they have looked like they have a legit shot at winning the NBA Championship. They sit at 9/1 odds and they could advance with a Game Six win on Thursday. As to whether or not the commotion from the front office will settle or continue to affect the Clippers, will certainly be watched in the coming days and weeks.