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Playoff Watch thread: Elimination games abound!

Raptors, Cavs, and Jazz could all advance with a win

Oh boy, it is getting tight in the first round!

We’ve got three contests on the docket this evening, each of which just so happens to be an elimination game. The Warriors are still waiting for clarity in regards to the remainder of our second round schedule - all we know so far is that our game 1 is tomorrow night. Some resolution could be offered tonight, but the league has not set any firm timeline for releasing the entire round 2 schedule.

Also, unlike the last time I wrote on of these - the games are actually spread out a bit, so you’ll be able to watch the end of all games without needing to go to that weird soulless sports bar in San Francisco with an entire wall full of TVs.

Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards

(Raptors lead 3-2) - 4 pm

After talking all sorts of noise about how this was their year, the Raptors once again struggled in the playoffs. A win tonight would be extremely nice for a team with such high expectations - but likewise, a defeat would be vexing.

In their favor, the Raptors did get a lucky break due to the unfortunate news about Otto Porter. Porter had an MRI on what was diagnosed as a bone bruise and the surgeons decided to go in and clear up some stuff (I am clearly not a doctor). He’s done for the rest of the series:

Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers

(Cavs lead series 3-2) - 5 pm

The Cavs almost lost the last game, after squandering a double-digit lead in the 4th quarter. Lebron James was able to deliver more heroics (including an uncalled, pivotal goal tend) and now has the Cavs positioned to advance.

The Cavs continue to be one of the hardest/easiest teams to analyze because so much of their fortunes ride on Lebron doing great things. So far he has been able to deliver, but his team has done little to engender much confidence.

Assuming the Cavs handle things tonight, they’d take on the winner of the preceding Raptors vs. Wizards game.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Utah Jazz

(Jazz lead series 3-2) - 7:30 pm

It’s hard to imagine a player more disliked by the Golden State fan base than Russel Westbrook. Although he’s immensely talented, his not-so-subtle digs at Kevin Durant, and penchant for chasing triple doubles in order to gild his legacy have not sat well with many of us.

Still, his performance in game five was legendary. Westbrook was the driving force in a 25-point comback that was just flat out impressive to watch. Although the Jazz look like the better team, it’s going to be hard for them to forget how easily Westbrook and Paul George (with 45 and 34 points respectively in the win) erased any advantage the Jazz may have held.

This is what makes the NBA playoffs so fun: I have absolutely no idea how this one is going to turn out tonight.

The lucky winner from this series gets the honor of trying to knock off James Harden and the Houston Rockets in the next round.

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