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NBA Playoffs: Heat at Hornets, Mavericks at Thunder, Clippers at Blazers

Three games on tonight's slate, with one possible series close-out.

Mark D. Smith-USA TODAY Sports

Heat at Hornets
6:00 pm CDT

The Hornets got one back at home in game three and will try to even up the series tonight at home. They will be without Nicolas Batum who is out with a foot injury. The Hornets won game three despite their own poor shooting by turning the ball over only three times, making their free throws, and forcing the Heat into an even worse shooting night.

After two extremely hot shooting nights at home, the Heat finally fell back to earth with a thud in game three, managing only 34% from the field. In particular, they need a better performance from Dwyane Wade, Goran Dragic, and Joe Johnson, who combined to shoot 14-44.

Another Hornets win will put pressure on the Heat heading back to Miami, and could set up an exciting end to the series.

Mavs at Thunder
7:00 pm CDT

In the first game of tonight's TNT double-header, the Thunder will look to close out the Mavericks at home. Despite their derp in game two, the Thunder have dominated the series, with each of their three wins in double figures. Realistically, the Mavs just can't handle all of the Thunder weapons.  Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook have tough shooting nights like in game four (a combined 14-39)? No matter, the starting front court goes 12-18 and Enes Kanter comes off the bench for 28 on 12-13 from the floor.

Dirk Nowitzki continues to play solid ball, but the Mavs simply don't have enough consistency to stick with the Thunder offensively, and have little hope of stopping them. I expect this one to end tonight, so I should say kudos to the Mavs for even getting to the playoffs.

Clippers at Blazers
9:30 CDT

After winning two in fairly comfortable fashion in L.A. and looking like the clearly better team, the Clippers lost game three in Portland and now face a game four that would tie the series if the Blazers can win and put a ton of pressure on them heading back to Staples.

The Blazers vaunted back court of Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum finally had a big game in game three after Chris Paul and company had made them look pretty bad early in the series. The Blazers have a pretty thin margin for error, however. Getting big games from those two is necessary for them to win, but they also probably need the Clippers to play below their best. In game three, both Blake Griffin and J.J. Redick, two of their three key scorers along with Paul, had off nights, and the game was still in doubt late.

The Blazers are certainly capable of winning tonight, and we've seen the Clippers play poorly in the playoffs before, but the Clippers really should find a way to move on from this series. Tonight will go a long way.

Enjoy the games and chat here.