A pivotal game five is back in Atlanta with the series tied at 2 games apiece. John Wall looks likely to play with his broken hand tonight after missing the last three games, though there is no way he'll be close to 100%. The Hawks managed to look a little more like themselves in game four, a crucial road win to even the series, but even then they blew a lead late and gave Paul Pierce a wide open look that would have tied the game late. Fortunately for them, Pierce missed, and they escaped.
Pierce has been awesome in this series, making a buzzer beater in game three and going 5-7 from three in game four, and the Hawks don't seem to be able to slow the veteran down. Bradley Beal has taken on the scoring load, averaging 24 a night and taking 21 shots per game in the series, while Otto Porter has emerged as a real weapon off the bench, making shots and grabbing rebounds at a career rate.
The Hawks have struggled to shoot it, but Jeff Teague and Paul Millsap both looked better in game four, and the team has to hope they are coming out of their funk. Getting Kyle Korver going is the next job--they are going to need a big game from him at some point along the way. Tonight is a huge game, with the winner in position to get to the Conference Finals, something neither of these franchises have experienced in many, many years.
The Warriors are back home and seem to have righted the ship given their blowout win to even the series in game four in Memphis. The Grizzlies look to be without Tony Allen, who has a hamstring injury, though he's officially a game time decision. Allen was a huge factor in the Grizz winning games two and three, but was neutralized in game four by his injury and by the Warriors not guarding him and making him a shooter, something he cannot do.
The Grizzlies relied on their stout defense, the post play of Marc Gasol and Zach Randolph, and a little good fortune in the way of missed Warriors shots to get out in front of this series, and will need more of the same if they want to get what would be a shocking win tonight. The Warriors looked like the regular season dominators they were in game four, with Stephen Curry finding his range and plenty of contributions from others. Their defense forced the Grizz into a lot of contested shots, and they were able to make Mike Conley look pedestrian.
The rest of this series will have much to do with whether the Warriors can shoot at their usual level; if they can, the Grizz have very little chance even with their excellent defense. On the other hand, if the Grizz can force and take advantage of Warriors turnovers as they did in their two wins, they can still make this happen.
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