Cavs at Bulls
7:00 pm CDT
The series shifts to Chicago at one game apiece, and the Cavs will be looking to retake home court advantage tonight at the United Center. The Cavs bounced back in game two behind a big game from LeBron James, but will need contributions from more than just him and Kyrie Irving on the offensive end to win this series. Iman Shumpert has been scoring well for them and J.R. Smith returns from suspension tonight, which could be good or bad. Overall, the Cavs are struggling from the field, especially inside the arc as the Bulls have clogged the middle and defended the rim effectively. Meanwhile, the Bulls have gone an outstanding 17-40 from three, but will need to find their way to the free throw line more often. Derrick Rose has yet to attempt a free throw in the series. A win tonight puts immense pressure on the Cavs.
The late game is in L.A., where the Clippers will welcome Chris Paul back to the lineup after two games missed with a hamstring injury suffered in game seven against the Spurs. Without him, they were able to steal game one in Houston before dropping game two, but they got what they needed on the road without one of their superstars. This is largely thanks to their other superstar, Blake Griffin, who is having just a monster playoffs and averaged 30/14.5/8.5 in the two games in Houston. The Rockets struggled badly from three in the first two games, which is the one problem with being so reliant on that shot: variance says that sometimes you just won't make em. In a short series, that can be fatal. But they got game two while shooting an absurd 64(!) free throws, making 42 of them. This game could take forever if both teams play the hacking game, and with the late start it's going to be tough to stay up.
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