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NBA Playoffs: Rockets-Mavs, Raptors-Wizards, Clippers-Spurs

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Game threes continue tonight in round one of NBA playoffs.

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

The first round has been, frankly, something of a dud so far, with really only the Clippers-Spurs series particularly compelling. Fortunately, game three between those two squads is on the docket for tonight, along with two other games. What we got?

Rockets at Mavs
6:00 pm CDT
ESPN

The Rockets took care of both games at home to open the series, and would no doubt like to make it a short one if they can. The Mavs look...not good. Rajon Rondo is done in Dallas, Chandler Parsons is out as well, and the Mavs simply lack the horses to keep up with the Rockets no matter how good Rick Carlisle is. It wouldn't be a surprise for them to get a game at home, but it's tough to see them really getting back into this series. The Rockets have six players averaging in double figures and have held the Mavs to 41% shooting so far.

Raptors at Wizards
7:00 pm CDT
ESPN2

The Wizards won both games in Toronto and will look to take care of business at home and avoid returning to Canada. It's been a very disappointing two games for the Raps, who are getting under 40% shooting from their big three perimeter scorers--Kyle Lowry (who is struggling brutally), DeMar DeRozan, and Lou Williams. Lowry has been particularly bad, averaging 6.5 points in 30 minutes a night over the two games. They need a much better performance from him. The Wizards, meanwhile, have gotten surprisingly good (and plentiful!) three point shooting so far--16 for 42 from distance, a real change from their usual shot selection. They have also completely dominated the boards behind Nene and Marcin Gortat.

Clippers at Spurs
8:30 CDT
ESPN

The Big One. The Spurs got even in the series in game two in L.A. with an overtime win that had some elements of good fortune. You never want to give the Spurs an opening, and now they have one. In truth, the Clips have been the better team over two games. Chris Paul has been dominating while Tony Parker has been badly hobbled and ineffective; Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan have also been excellent (despite Griffin's unfortunate game two turnover).  But as expected, outside of Jamal Crawford, the Clips have gotten very little off their bench, while the Spurs 3rd-6th highest scorers in the series are all reserves.  Tim Duncan had a monster game in game two, but was forced to play over 40 minutes, something Popovich would prefer to avoid.  Tonight's game back in San Antonio should be a great one.

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