Orlando Magic at Charlotte Bobcats- 8 ET
Ok, I’ll be the first to admit, I didn’t think the Miami Heat down 3-0 would put in enough effort that enable them to win Game 4. As the Bobcats head into Game 4 in the enduring the same circumstance, I’m standing strong with the Magic sweeping the series. For starters, the Bobcats don’t have a Dwyane Wade, so unless Stephen Jackson can go off from 40+ I see no way the Bobcats do what Miami did yesterday.
After three games, this series has turned out to be a very surprising one to say the least. While the Bobcats have done a decent job containing Dwight Howard, they’ve yet to find a way to stop Jameer Nelson. The Magic starting point guard has had his way with Raymond Felton and the Charlotte defense to the point where it’s been embarrassing. Nelson leads the Magic in scoring averaging 25.7 ppg a contest, how do you let that happen? While Raymond Felton should be held responsible for most of Nelson’s production, the entire Bobcats defense should also take accountability. Felton’s stock has fallen tremendously throughout the course of this year and signs point that it will continue to drop. As for the Bobcats, it’s been an interesting year in Charlotte with all the changes occurring throughout this season alone, and more should be on the horizon as the Bobcats look forward to the offseason after tonight’s game.
Magic- 93 Bobcats- 86
Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks- 8:30 ET
After Game 2, Josh Smith decided to run his mouth about how the city of Milwaukee had nothing to do. Well maybe he’s right in a sense because in Game 3, inside the Bradley Center he displayed what nothing to do is all about. The Bucks came out ready to play in Game 3 and got off to a great start behind the rowdy home crowd that was on hand. But rest assured, Game 4 should be much different.
Not only will Josh Smith more than likely show up to play tonight but I can’t possibly imagine the Bucks getting off to such a quick start again like they did in Game 3. If the Bucks are to do so, they’ll have to come out firing and hitting their initial shot attempts. It’s especially important to let Brandon Jennings fire away early and often. Even with Bogut, Jennings has always been the one able to ignite the home crowd with his dazzling array of shots coming off screens, getting to the rim, and of course his signature step back fade away from deep. I cannot stress the importance of Jennings quick start in Game 3 and how the immediately translated to solid play from those that surround him. If it seems as though my keys to a Bucks win is always Jennings, Jennings, Jennings, it really is. In Game 4, obviously the Hawks will make significant adjustments from their Game 3 disaster, but I still feel the game will be a back and forth battle ending in the Bucks favor.
Bucks- 108 Hawks- 105 OT
Portland Trail Blazers at Phoenix Suns- 10:30 ET
Having missed most of Game 4 (being in attendance of Game 3 Hawks/Bucks) I can only base my Game 5 preview based on recaps and highlights that I’ve read/watched. With Brandon Roy’s presence back onto the floor, the Blazers intrigue me. After hearing that he was planning to suit up, I initially believed it was a mental tactic being played against Phoenix, I was dead wrong. Roy not only played, but also provided the little things that led to a Game 4 victory inside the Rose Garden for the Blazers.
Going into Game 5 in Phoenix, all the pressure is on the Phoenix Suns for two reasons in particular. One, if they lose, there’s no guarantee of coming back from a series deciding Game 7. Even more importantly, they’re the team that’s forced to make adjustments in Game 5. Blazers Head Coach has forced Suns Head Coach to play his cards by starting Jerryd Bayless in the backcourt with Andre Miller. ESPN’s in-studio crew did a great job showing clips of where Bayless proved to be really cause a headache for the Suns. The biggest problem for Phoenix is forcing Steve Nash into guarding Bayless, whose a aggressive offensive talent who can get to the basket almost at will (if he can improve upon his decision making he’ll be scary). So will the Suns properly adjust well enough to take Game 5? I don’t believe so, I think the Blazers are playing much better team basketball on both ends on the floor and it’ll be hard to get them off their game because unlike the Suns the Blazers can adjust on the fly.
Blazers- 107 Suns- 103