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Picks For Games On Thursday, April 24

Posted by Craig Parsons on 4/23/2014 8:54:59 PM

Eastern Conference First Round, Game 3:
Indiana Pacers @ Atlanta Hawks Thursday, April 24

The Indiana Pacers had to know that they were in danger of falling behind 2-0 in this series. They faced a double-digit deficit in the first half of Game 2 and were in the process of being outclassed by the Atlanta Hawks. However, Indiana had two and a half quarters in which to turn things around.

It needed only one and a half quarters. Down by 11 with nearly nine minutes left in the second quarter, the Pacers outscored the Hawks by 25 points through the end of the third quarter, taking a 79-65 lead and ultimately winning, 101-85. It’s true that Roy Hibbert is still a no-show for the Pacers, but the rest of their lineup is awake and involved in this series. George Hill got going in the second half of Game 2. Paul George played more like a star. The team’s defensive rotations worked. Indiana was solid on the boards. It didn’t concede the parade of easy baskets that marked the abysmal Game 1 loss to Atlanta. The Pacers looked like the Pacers again in that second half. Will all this carry over to Game 3 in Atlanta? It’s not a sure thing. However, when a team such as Indiana, with evident talent and a number one seed to match, finally puts the pieces of the puzzle together, it’s reasonable to think that it can handle an opponent that didn’t even win 40 games during the NBA regular season. This might not be a short series, but Game 3 does seem like a situation in which Indiana will continue to establish its identity as the better team in this series.

NBA Betting Pick: Indiana

Western Conference First Round, Game 3:
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Memphis Grizzlies Thursday, April 24

When the Thunder and Grizzlies collide, it’s going to be a wild and emotional scene in Memphis, where the home team will try to take one more step toward an upset and a second straight playoff series victory over Oklahoma City. Memphis pushed Oklahoma City out of the playoffs last year, but of course, that was without the Thunder’s dynamic point guard and prolific scorer, Russell Westbrook. This year, Westbrook is in the lineup, making it a lot harder for Memphis to stop Oklahoma City. The Grizzlies want to be able to win games with their defense, but in this game, they might need an extra source of offense to win. Will Beno Udrih come up big again, for example? That’s the kind of effort Memphis needs. Is that kind of performance likely, however? Probably not. Take the Thunder on the road.

NBA Betting Pick: Oklahoma City

Western Conference First Round, Game 3:
Los Angeles Clippers @ Golden State Warriors Thursday, April 24

For all of the ways in which this game can be broken down, one factor rises above all the others: When Blake Griffin is on the floor in this series, the Clippers are outscoring the Warriors by a large margin. As long as Griffin isn’t getting caught in foul trouble, Los Angeles should be able to call the shots in this series. Chris Paul is also the kind of point guard who should be able to establish and maintain order in Oracle Arena, a deafeningly loud arena for visiting teams. The Clippers also have the coach, Doc Rivers, who should be able to make a difference in situations such as this one. Choose Los Angeles here.

NBA Betting Pick: Los Angeles Clippers


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