Only one team can be eliminated from contention in the NBA Playoffs on Sunday while the other three series are guaranteed at least a fifth game. Game 4 of four different series will go off this weekend where injuries have been a factor.
Chicago Bulls at Philadelphia 76ers – Sunday, 1:00 p.m. (ET) on ABC
The Bulls are the top seeded team in the entire league and they could be in trouble. Not only did superstar Derrick Rose go down and out, but Joakim Noah (ankle) was injured in Game 3 and is currently listed as doubtful. Chicago played very well in the regular season without Rose, but these injuries may be too much to overcome in the postseason.
Philly leads the series 2-1 and they are also 2-1 against the spread, winning and covering the last two. Center Spencer Hawes was somewhat of an unlikely hero, leading the team in scoring in Game 3 with 21 points.
Low totals have been set throughout this series and the last game was the first to fall ‘under.’ In three games these teams have combined to score 194, 201, and 154. The Sixers are favored by 2½ at home in Game 4 with the total set at 174.
Miami Heat at New York Knicks – Sunday, 3:30 p.m. (ET) on ABC
Affected by the injury bug all year, the New York Knicks find themselves in an 0-3 hole against the odds on favorite to win the championship. Carmelo Anthony had a stellar month of April, but he has had a disappointing series.
Game 3 looked to be going the Knicks’ way. That is, until the fourth quarter when they were outscored 29-14.
The Heat have covered all three games of this series as a favorite and it’s all virtually thanks to LeBron James. James was having a frustrating Game 3 until the final period and ended up with 32 points, eight boards, and five assists.
Only once has the final score gone ‘over’ the total in this series and that was Game 2 when New York could somewhat keep up with Miami. The Heat are an 8-point road favorite in Game 4 with the total at 183½. One way to approach this total might just depend on the Knicks. NY has scored 67, 94, and 70 points this series. If bettors feel New York can keep up, go ‘over.’
Amar’e Stoudemire (hand) is listed as probable on the Don Best screen, but his status for Sunday still appears to be cloudy.
Atlanta Hawks at Boston Celtics – Sunday, 7:00 p.m. (ET) on TNT
NBA fans were treated to the first overtime game of the postseason on Friday when the Celtics beat the Hawks, 90-84 in Game 3. Boston leads the series 2-1 but Atlanta has the 2-1 ATS edge.
Rajon Rondo was stunning in his return from suspension, racking up a triple-double with 17 points, 14 rebounds, and 12 dimes.
For the Hawks, Josh Smith (knee) could not play and that may have been the difference in a tight contest. Smith is probable for Game 4.
Game 3 barely went ‘over’ the total of 173½ and it took OT to get there. At the end of regulation, the combined score was 160. The first two games of the series did fall ‘under.’
Game 4 has Boston -5 with a total of 172.
L.A. Lakers at Denver Nuggets – Sunday, 9:30 p.m. (ET) on TNT
Unlike the Knicks, the Nuggets reached deep down and fought to get a playoff victory after being down in their series, 0-2. The obvious parallel here is the ‘Melo trade which reshaped both teams.
It was a former Wizard, however, who shined in Game 3. The unpredictable JaVale McGee grabbed 15 rebounds and scored 16 points. The point guard position was great for Denver as well between Ty Lawson and veteran Andre Miller.
Though Andrew Bynum had a double-double for the Lakers, he was clearly frustrated in the Mile High City.
L.A. leads the series 2-1, but Denver is 2-1 ATS. High totals are the norm for these two, but Game 2 was the first time in eight meetings (playoffs and regular season) that the total went ‘over.’
The Nuggets are a 2-point favorite in Game 4 with the total set at 201.
Monday, two series will continue and one might be over. All teams are in action on Saturday.
San Antonio Spurs at Utah Jazz – Monday, TBD
Spurs lead 2-0.
Dallas Mavericks at Oklahoma City Thunder (if necessary) – Monday, TBD
Thunder lead 3-0.
Memphis Grizzlies at L.A. Clippers – Monday, 10:30 p.m. (ET) on TNT
Series tied 1-1.