Games for Tonight
Cavs (2) at Pacers (7) - Cavs up 2-0
The NBA playoffs are a marathon. There are few teams that are less aware of the month-plus effort that is required to reach the promise land than the Cleveland Cavaliers and the San Antonio Spurs, who are grizzled veterans at this point. Between LeBron and the Spurs, you basically have representatives from the last decade plus of NBA finals games. Since 2003, after the Kobe-Shaq run, the Spurs or LeBron have been in 10 Finals match-ups, with LeBron and the Spurs facing off three different times.
Simply put, these first round match-ups are something of a warm-up round for these teams, although the Cavs have already been tested twice due to their poor defense. The Spurs seem like they will just grind up the Grizzlies who just don’t have the firepower to be able to hang. The Cavs, while they will probably have a few more close games, will just be able to win the series without much difficulty. All there really is to watch is just how close Paul George can get in taking the Cavs to the brink, as well as the joy of seeing two premier wings in George and LeBron battle it out.
The real marquee game of the night then, which unfortunately is taking place on NBA TV, is between the Raptors and the Bucks. The Bucks stormed out of the gate against the Raptors in the first game and stole an easy win behind their dominant defense and transition offense. The Raptors were able to fight back and win the second game, ratcheting up their intensity.
The Ringer had a great article today about the newcomers to the Raptors that they are so heavily relying upon, Serge Ibaka and P.J. Tucker, which you can check out here.
Both of these players are bringing the defense that the Raptors need to stay alive, not to mention the length and strength that they need to combat the long-limbed switch-everything Bucks strategy.
Tonight’s game will certainly be an important one, as if the Bucks are able to set the tone at home and win tonight, the Raptors will certainly be operating with their backs to the wall for the rest of the series. However, if the Raptors win tonight, they will likely feel comfortable with a road split of the two games and try to close out on their home court.
This will be the game thread for tonight’s games.