Milwaukee Bucks at Atlanta Hawks- 8 ET TNT
Quote me on this: If the Bucks are going to do the unthinkable and win the series, they’ll have to win Game 5 tonight. After two very impressive wins at home, the Bucks have restored their confidence and have taken the momentum in the series. With the series headed back to Atlanta, all the pressure is on the Hawks. What was thought to be an easy first round series for the Hawks after watching games one and two, the Bucks were able to fight back, make adjustments, and have completely dismantled the success of the Hawks offense surrounding Josh Smith. Ever since Smith decided he’d try to be like Joakim Noah and run his jaws about how there’s nothing his opponents’ city he’s been terrible. Not to mention the fact that the city of Cleveland and Milwaukee aren’t even close to comparable when it comes to how boring they are. (Cleveland was recently voted most miserable city in the United States).
Back at home inside the Phillips Arena, the Bucks will more than likely see the same Hawks team they saw in the first two games of the series. Behind Joe Johnson’s Game 4 postgame comments, the Hawks should be fired up, but that’s not to say the Bucks won’t be fully prepared as well. The Bucks team are much like their young star Brandon Jennings, let the kid find his rhythm and gain confidence and he’s hard to stop. Which brings up a big point, not only have the Bucks found confidence, but the Brandon Jennings found a very effective way of getting to the basket in Game 4. Whether his shot ends up getting blocked or not, having that “no fear” mentality needs to continue to be seen in Game 5, as he continues to cause mismatches up top or continuously drives past Hawks defenders and general, it’ll open up shots for Salmons, Delfino, and Ilayasova. Along with keeping Josh Smith away from the rim, the key to a win in Game 5 will be the continued strong play of Carlos Delfino. On the road, the Bucks need a strong third option on the perimeter to go along with Jennings and of course Salmons. With the momentum shifted and the thought of coming back home to the Bradley Center to close out the series, I see the Bucks coming out focused from the beginning. Bucks take Game 5 and make noise around the NBA tonight.
Bucks- 104 Hawks- 102
Utah Jazz at Denver Nuggets
The Jazz have been playing great lately, but tonight won’t be the night they put the cherry on top. Don’t hold your breath Jazz fans, this series is just about to get that much more interesting. With Denver back at home inside the Pepsi Center, the Nuggets will come out ready to play. The city of Denver and Nuggets fans may be down on their team’s success so far this series but all it takes is a strong performance from Carmelo Anthony and a few long range threes from J.R. Smith and they’ll be right back in this.
It’s really tough to imagine Deron Williams not having a solid outing tonight so instead I’ll say the counterparts around him will be unable to supply enough to support to stop Carmelo Anthony. The Nuggets superstar will refuse to be embarrassed at home in a season deciding game. The frustration that he’s built over the past few games will come out in full effect tonight. I’m taking Carmelo Anthony and J.R. Smith to combine for 56+ points or more in a Game 5 Denver victory.
Nuggets- 116 Jazz- 103