The second round of the NBA Playoffs could not be going much better for the Los Angeles Clippers. Not only are they the first team to move within one game of the Conference Finals; not only did they become the first team since the 2001 Lakers to win back to back playoff games by 25 or more points -- the only two teams in the NBA who have a better overall record than the Clippers are both trailing in the second round. In other words, the Clippers are currently the favorite to win the NBA title. But tonight's games could change the outlook.
The Hawks find themselves in the same position the Clippers were in during the first round -- facing a game 4 on the road down 2-1. Game 3 in D.C. was just weird -- the Wizards dominated the entire game, and led by 17 going into the fourth before Atlanta's reserves mounted a furious rally. The Hawks came all the way back and tied the game -- and then Paul Pierce banked in a game winner. Washington is playing without point guard John Wall, so Atlanta should have the advantage. But the Hawks have been quite mediocre this postseason so far.
The Grizzlies have won two straight against the mighty Warriors -- shutting down the Splash Brothers with their formidable perimeter defense and in the process exposing Golden State's otherwise limited offense. It's difficult to say if GSW's struggles shooting the three ball are completely due to the defense -- maybe they've just been missing shots. If those shots start falling again, this series will change in a hurry. Having said that, it is very unusual to come back from a 3-1 hole, so the Grizzlies can put a stranglehold on this series with a win tonight.