As usual, in day filled with playoff action in the NBA, the two Los Angeles teams were at the center of the basketball universe, and both teams are in much different places in their respective series.
Sure, both are tied with their opponents through four games, but the Lakers just gave homecourt back to the Phoenix Suns and lost Anthony Davis to a groin injury. Meanwhile, the Clippers wrested homecourt back from the Mavericks by going to Dallas and taking both games in dominant fashion. Both teams must now take two of the next three from their opponent, with momentum on opposite ends of the spectrum for both clubs.
For the Clippers, these two games were about maintaining course, making slight adjustments and getting some good old regression to the mean. Through the two games in Los Angeles the Clippers had posted a 121.1 offensive rating, but the Mavericks shot 50.0% from deep in the first two games while averaging 128.3 points per 100 possessions. Yes, Los Angeles needed to clean up some things on defense, but Tim Hardaway Jr. going 17-of-27 on 3-point attempts in the first two games is not something one can prepare for. Sure enough, on Sunday the Mavericks finally hit the wall, going 4-of-26 from the perimeter in non-garbage time and scoring just 0.821 points per possession. The poor shooting allowed the Clippers to take their second straight win in the series.
Dallas is now in some real trouble. Luka Doncic is clearly ailing from that cervical strain, and that showed on Sunday when he went 1-of-7 from 3-point range and missed all of his free throw attempts. If this team is going to shoot like humans for the rest of the series, and Doncic is not fully healthy this is quite the mountain to climb now this is a best of three with two in Los Angeles.
As for the Lakers, their series has been about health. Chris Paul was clearly hampered by his shoulder contusion suffered in Game 1, putting up 20 total points on 8-of-21 shooting from the floor through the first three games. Los Angeles was able to take two straight, and homecourt, but an injury to Anthony Davis in the first half of Game 4 now puts the Lakers’ season in doubt as the Suns took advantage with a 100-92 win to steal back the advantage with three left to play. Davis has officially been designated day-to-day with a groin injury, and if Los Angeles is moving on they need him on the court.
Updated odds for every game can be found here.
Updated injury reports for every game can be found here.
Philadelphia 76ers (-7.5, 231.5) at Washington Wizards
Three games into this series the question remains the same for Washington: Where is the offense going to come from? The Wizards have been limited to 104.6 points per 100 possessions in the series up to this point, and over the last two games they are scoring less than a point per possession. Most of Philadelphia’s dominance has stemmed from its perimeter defense.