Multiple NBA Playoff Teams on the Brink of Elimination
Road teams were 3-0 in the NBA playoffs on Thursday night.
The Mavericks, Grizzlies, and Warriors all won big away from their fans to win each of their first-round series.
That trio of games, complete with comebacks and trash talk, set the table for a weekend slate featuring 11 games. It’s possible that some teams’ seasons will end this weekend.
Find out which teams could be sent home this weekend and which series are destined to play six or seven games. Also, find out the latest NBA injury news in today’s Winners Club.
Upcoming Playoff Schedule
The sportsbooks are anticipating the road teams running a clean sweep again tonight–all three away teams are favored. If the Heat loses Game 3 tonight, the Hawks could be swept this weekend. Miami leads the series by 2-0. If Miami takes a 3-0 lead tonight in Game 3, the final game would be Sunday at Atlanta.
The Raptors are down 3-0 in this series after Joel Embiid drilled an overtime winner Wednesday. The 76ers can close out the series in Toronto on Saturday afternoon with a win.
The Nuggets are another team that is on the brink of being sent home. Denver lost to Golden State on Thursday night, falling into a 0-3 series hole. Game 4 is Sunday in Denver and the likely back-to-back MVP Nikola Jokic could be destined for an early sendoff.
The Nets are also trailing 0-2 in their series against the Celtics, having dropped both games in Boston. Now, the series moves to Brooklyn where Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are under pressure to win Game 3.
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The Nuggets held an 89-87 lead over the Warriors heading into the fourth quarter. Denver had been playing in the first two games and was looking for a win on Thursday night. Nikola Jokic had his first “wow” game of the series–37 points, 18 rebounds–but it wasn’t enough. Steph Curry, Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole each finished with at least 26 points and the Dubs went on a late run to score a 118-113 win and take a commanding 3-0 lead in the series.
Golden State is now a heavy favorite to win the NBA title at 275. The next closest team is the Celtics at 500, who are up 2-0 on the Nets, once considered the title favorites. Injuries and unexpected resistance from their first-round opponents have lowered the Bucks’ and Suns’ title chances.
The Grizzlies stormed back to steal Game 3 from the Timberwolves on the road. Memphis trailed by 26 points but a 37-12 fourth-quarter advantage and a 21-0 third-quarter run was enough to secure a 104-95 win to take a 2-1 series lead.
And for the Mavericks, it’s been no Luka, no problem. They won against the Jazz again on Thursday night in Salt Lake City. The outside onslaught for Dallas continued–the team hit 18 threes overall and Jalen Brunson led the way with 31 points. Utah did enough on offense to win, scoring 118 points, but its defense allowed 126 points to a team missing its superstar and now the Jazz trail 1-2.
More NBA postseason reading:
Devin Booker Out for Game 3: The Suns All-Star guard left Tuesday’s game with hamstring tightness and he could miss the next two games in New Orleans, if not more.
Ben Simmons Plans to Make Nets Debut in Game 4: Brooklyn’s big return in the James Harden trade could make his debut on Monday in the first-round series against the Celtics.
Khris Middleton Injury Hurts Bucks’ Chances: Milwaukee’s All-Star forward will reportedly miss at least the next two weeks with an MCL sprain. The Bucks have had more problems than expected in their first-round series against the Bulls. They will be without Middleton for the rest of the series.
In Other News
USFL Week 2 Bets and Futures Odds: Review what trends dominated Week 1 of the USFL, what teams have the best championship odds and where the steam is on this weekend’s games.
Best Fantasy Landing Spots for Deebo Samuel: The 49ers’ star receiver (who moonlights as a running back) has requested a trade after his career year. From a fantasy football perspective, where would Samuel be most likely to trade?
Cardinals Not Dealing Kyle Murray: There is “zero chance” Arizona trades its starting quarterback and former No. General manager Steve Keim stated that there is no chance that Arizona trades its starting quarterback and former No. 1 pick. In the offseason, reports have been swirling about discontent between the two parties.
Titans GM Shuts Down Idea of A.J. Brown Trade: Star receivers are switching teams at an alarming rate, but Tennessee is not interested in dealing its top pass catcher. Brown, who is reportedly looking for a new deal, has not reported to the team’s voluntary offseason exercises.
Thanks for reading Winners Club. Enjoy your weekend!
The author of 5 books, 3 of which are New York Times bestsellers. I’ve been published in more than 100 newspapers and magazines and am a frequent commentator on NPR.