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NBA Playoffs: Day Nine

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Four games today, three of which could bring sweeps in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Matthew Emmons-USA TODAY Sports

This is going to be short and sweet.

Cavs at Celtics
12:00 pm CDT
ABC

The Cavs will look to close out the sweep today in Boston. It was a step forward for the Celtics to make the playoffs this year and get that experience, but the gulf in talent between these squads is just too wide.  The Celts have more or less hung around in all three games, but haven't really been all that close to winning any of them. James and Irving are too much, the Cavs are too physical on the boards, and shoot the three much better as well.

Clippers at Spurs
2:30 pm CDT
ABC

The headliner. The Spurs approached peak Spurs in game three, blowing out the Clippers behind Kawhi Leonard, their depth, and their defense. A bounceback is vital for the Clippers, who can't afford to fall behind 3-1 in the series. Over the course of most of the first two games (the 2nd of which the Spurs stole), the Clips looked like the better team. They need to recapture that, which requires a better performance from Chris Paul, who dominated the games in L.A. but struggled in game three, as did Blake Griffin. San Antonio can put big and strong defenders on Paul--Leonard and Danny Green--but he has to be the superstar he is for the Clips to get one back today. Tony Parker is struggling badly and the Clips must take advantage.

Raptors at Wizards
5:30 pm CDT
TNT

Another possible sweep as the Wizards try to finish off the Raptors at home. This has been a complete train wreck for the Raptors, and it wouldn't surprise me if it led to big changes in the off-season, assuming a miracle doesn't happen.  Their back court has been disastrous, Valanciunas has not been able to get it going, and they just have nothing to go to at this point. Meanwhile, Marcin Gortat has been getting whatever he wants inside, Otto Porter(!) has been fantastic shooting and rebounding, and Paul Pierce has found the rejuvenation machine. Hard to see them getting past the 2nd round, but it might be enough to save Randy Wittman's job.  I hope.

Rockets at Mavericks
8:00 pm CDT
TNT

The Rockets look to close out the Mavs in Dallas tonight after a tough game three that the Rockets eked out 130-128 behind a huge night from James Harden. The Rox have taken 60 more free throws than the Mavs so far, in part intentionally and in park because they are just bigger and more physical. They are also shooting 42% from three in the series, with Harden and Jason Terry leading the way, but a shout out to Corey Brewer who has gone 6-10 from three and is actually the 3rd leading scorer for the Rox in the series.  Up with variance!  The Mavs are getting their usual offense, (112 Ortg), but simply haven't figured out how to take anything away from the Rockets.

Enjoy the games and chat about them here.