A quick preview of all of Tuesday’s NBA Playoffs action. Check out the previews and links below. Previews courtesy of Sports Illustrated.
Atlanta Hawks @ Indiana Pacers
Tip Off @ 5:00 p.m. MST
Hawks lead series 1-0
Indiana’s next game is the most important of the season.
If the top-seeded Pacers can’t protect their home court Tuesday night, they’ll be down 2-0 heading to Atlanta – where they have only won twice since December 2006.
The Pacers have been in a late-season swoon, with a perception that they’re soft. Since March 1, the Pacers are 12-14 and the league’s stingiest defense has been nothing short of ordinary, numbers that have increased the speculation about everything from psychological problems and team chemistry to what players are doing outside basketball.
There have been questions about Roy Hibbert‘s mentality, George Hill‘s defense and how to stay out of foul trouble. At one point in late March, Hibbert called some of his teammates ”selfish dudes,” a comment he later apologized for. After Saturday’s game, the questions were more about how to avoid foul trouble and defend Atlanta’s spread offense following the Hawks’ 101-93 victory.
Critics found a new complaint Monday – Paul George‘s fishing trip on Sunday even though George is almost always one of the last players off the court and had asked coach Frank Vogel if he could defend the suddenly explosive Jeff Teague. (Continue reading here)
Brooklyn Nets @ Toronto Raptors
Tip Off @ 5:30 p.m. MST
Nets lead series 1-0
For Raptors’ All-Star DeMar DeRozan, the waiting between playoff games is the hardest part.
The Brooklyn Nets, however, don’t mind one bit.
The slow pace of Toronto’s first-round playoff series against Brooklyn, with two days off between each of the first three games, isn’t really to DeRozan’s liking. Extra down time after a disappointing Game 1 wasn’t what the Raptors guard wanted.
”It’s tough,” DeRozan said Monday. ”You have a tough game, you’re used to getting right back out there and making up for it.”
DeRozan will get his chance when the Raptors host the Nets on Tuesday night, hoping to bounce back after a 94-87 defeat in Game 1.
The Nets, who flew home to New York between games, have no problem with the relaxed schedule. Brooklyn went 5-13 in the second half of back-to-backs this season, losing twice to Toronto. (Continue reading here)
Washington Wizards @ Chicago Bulls
Tip Off @ 7:30 p.m. MST
Wizards lead series 1-0
The Chicago Bulls’ resolve is being tested once again.
They trail the Washington Wizards 1-0 in their first-round playoff series after blowing a 13-point lead in the opener and will try to pull even on Tuesday.
”You look at how they played down the stretch, you know how good they are,” Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau said.
Despite losing Derrick Rose to another season-ending knee injury and trading Luol Deng, no team in the Eastern Conference won more games after New Year’s Eve than Chicago. But Thibodeau wasn’t talking about the Bulls. He was referring to the Wizards, who hadn’t been to the playoffs since 2008.
The fifth-seeded Wizards rallied from 13 down to beat Chicago 102-93, and they might have opened a few eyes in the process.
”I think we can surprise a lot of teams, if you play the right way,” Nene said. (Continue reading here)