Tonight, there can be either celebrations or preparations. In fact, in the next two days we can either put a period or comma at the end of six different series.
Just to show you how fast the momentum can shift, in two of the series, one team had a 3 games to none lead. In another two, the team with home court advantage won the first game, then proceeded to drop the next three before saving face in a pivotal game back at home. In the final two series, the home team held court in the first four.
But, let’s look at tonight’s games and see what could transpire.
Golden State was one good defensive sequence away from sweeping Denver. But, with 5 games behind them, they have a prime opportunity to advance to round two. In Game 5, Denver stopped watching Steph Curry rain threes on them and played him physical, taking him out of his game. It was stark contrast to the loose defense they showed him in the first four games. Of course, they weren’t one loss away from elimination either.
Tonight, look for the same physical punishment, provided the refs show the same treatment from Game 5 in Denver. I don’t see it making a difference. I believe Golden State matches their physicality and the crowd at the Oracle will be the 13th man and give the Warriors the boost they need to win. Just know Denver will not go down easily and we may see an ejection or two.
Chicago and Brooklyn continue their series, which has definitely had its peaks and valleys. Brooklyn easily took Game One, but Chicago stormed back with three straight, including a riveting Game 4 in which CJ Watson missed not only an easy shot, but a chance to increase the Nets already sizeable lead at the time. Brookln has saved face at home, but if they want to go back for a Game 7, they must have a balanced attack on offense. Kirk Hinrich missing his second game tonight should help Deron Williams.
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Written by Michael Reid