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NBA Playoffs: Warriors and Rockets to perform points frenzy in Curry’s absence

Robbie Purves | April 18, 2016

Indiana Pacers @ Toronto Raptors

  • NBA
  • Tuesday, April 18th
  • Tipoff: 00:00 BST
  • Air Canada Centre, Toronto

Pacers upset gains home-court advantage

Last time out, Myles Turner played like a man possessed, swatting five shots away from the Indiana Pacers’ basket. This, combined with Paul George’s 27 second half points, saw Pacers record an impressive away win to claim a 0-1 advantage in NBA’s first round of playoffs.

Orlando Magic v Toronto Raptors - NBA Global Games - O2 Arena

Now the pressure is really piled on Toronto Raptors, a team that comes into this crucial clash with a record of seven straight playoff defeats. Raptors’ DeMar DeRozan averaged 23.5 points during the regular season; however, he finished the game hitting just 5-of-19 shots. Fellow All-Star guard Kyle Lowry, who scored 21.2 per game, hit 3 of 13 for 11 points and committed six of the team’s huge 20 turnovers.

For the Canadian side to win a game, yet alone a series, their stars really need to play like stars. To have a chance of claiming the series, Toronto need to triumph – and doubts remain about the side’s mental toughness and ability to perform under playoff pressure.

Three of the last five times these teams have played each other, the points tally has been between 187-197. Coral have them at 12/5 to do the same in their next clash.

Dallas Mavericks @ Oklahoma City Thunder

  • NBA
  • Tuesday, April 18th
  • Tipoff: 01:30 BST
  • Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City
  • Live on BT Sport 2

City set to sweep Dallas after Mavs massacre

Kevin Durant tallied 23 points, five assists and five rebounds over 27 minutes in Saturday’s 108-70 game one Oklahoma City Thunder victory over Dallas Mavericks.

Thunder 76ers Basketball

Thanks to fellow superstar Russell Westbrook, Durant’s services weren’t particularly needed after half-time due to their team’s substantial lead.

Dirk Nowitzki, 37, led Dallas with 18, while no other Maverick registered doubled figures. Nowitzki said: “I guess the only positive I take out of this is that it’s only one game, if you lose by two or by 50 in the playoffs it’s only one game.”

However, the meagre 70 points registered against Thunder were the lowest tally in Maverick’s playoff history and will be difficult mentally to recover from the mauling.

Thunder entered the postseason with eight players who had never been in a playoff game before Saturday, but that didn’t show. If Oklahoma remain as motivated and energised as they were during last week’s blowout, there is a real danger of a clean sweep in this series.

The matchups between these two teams are often high scoring so expect a total of over 206 at 8/5.

Houston Rockets @ Golden State Warriors

  • NBA
  • Tuesday, April 18th
  • Tipoff: 03:30 BST
  • Oracle Arena, Oakland

Warriors chase second consecutive title

Coming off the back of their historic 73 win record-breaking season, the Golden State Warriors thrashed Houston Rockets by 26 points in game one.

Rockets Nuggets Basketball

As expected from a team that’s won 12 of the past 13 meetings, Warriors were totally dominant at both ends of the court. James Harden was nullified by the Oakland side’s defence and scored relatively freely, despite Patrick Beverley’s attempt at roughing Steph Curry out the game. The harder you push Curry, the better he gets.

However, the point guard is set to miss the game after a scary roll of his ankle. He may be the best player in the league but Golden State still possess more than enough to see them passed Houston.

A strong defensive presence and Warriors usual unselfish ball movement is key to damaging the hungry Rockets team who will come into the clash with confidence in Curry’s absence.

Shooting guard Klay Thompson tends to go on superhuman scoring runs, registering numerous 40+ games this campaign. With a lot of responsibility now his shoulder, expect the game to descend into a shooting frenzy with Thompson and Harden putting up high numbers.

The two teams are 7/4 to score a total of under 211.5 points.

Boston Celtics @ Atlanta Hawks

  • NBA
  • Wednesday, April 20th
  • Tipoff: 00:00 BST
  • Philips Arena, Atlanta

Boston battle through Atlanta adversity

Boston Celtics lost game one by a single point and will look to make amends for the disappointing defeat.

Celtics Pacers Basketball

After what the NBA admitted were ‘botched calls’ by the officials, Celtics will go in search of their first win of the series without scorer Avery Bradley. The Boston guard suffered a significant hamstring injury and will likely be without their best perimeter defender for the rest of the opening round.

Around a month ago Terry Rozier and RJ Hunter were raking up minutes in the Development league. Now they are being called upon to fill the shoes of Bradley in a playoff series – with Marcus Smart likely to take the largest share of minutes.

Celtics look weakened but hold a trump card, boss Brad Stevens. Regarded by many as the most exciting coach in the league, Stevens has a level of tactical wit most cannot compete with.

Atlanta are favourites to extend their series lead but is not a foregone conclusion, if it wasn’t for some questionable refereeing decisions in the first game, Boston would be 1-0 up.

Hawks’ assistant coach Kenny Atkinson will take over as coach of Brooklyn Nets after Atlanta’s postseason run and could be shaken by this news.

Atlanta averaged 102 points per game and Boston 101 so expect a tight, low-scoring affair. They are 12/5 to score a total of points tally of between 201-211.

Memphis Grizzlies @ San Antonio Spurs

  • NBA
  • Wednesday, April 20th
  • Tipoff: 02:30 BST
  • AT&T Center, San Antonio

Popovich players pass Grizzlies to death

In game one, the efficient San Antonio Spurs embarrassed Memphis Grizzlies with a 74-106 triumph.

Spurs Media Day Basketball

Tim Duncan looked as good as he has all season, after a slow start Frenchman Tony Parker started to attack the rim and Danny Green was perfect on defence.

Gregg Popovich is a playoff master and will keep his Spurs focused on taking care of this series before looking onto what they may face later in the competition. It is paramount that the Texan team take care of business early, as there next likely opponents are Oklahoma, a team that looks as though they will sweep Dallas.

Memphis have a lot of heart and fight but without franchise player Marc Gasol, will find it almost impossible to make this series a test.

Popovich’s players are 10/3 to lift the NBA title this year and, with the veteran coach at the helm, don’t put it past them.

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