As if summertime wasn't upon us, NBA playoffs weren't on every night, and living in Los Angeles couldn't be any more ideal, both the Lakers and the Clippers are still in the playoffs. With legit chances to move on and keep the party going.
The Clippers will play in game 4 of the series against Memphis tonight at the Staples Center. My Hoopsvibe prediction: The winner of tonight's game wins the series. The Clipshow currently has a 2-1 lead over the Grizzlies.
But should they be up 2-1?
In each of the Clippers' victories against the Grizzlies, I don't think anyone would be surprised to hear me say that the Grizzlies beat themselves in both games. And taking it a step further, if I was part of the Memphis organization, I'd be wondering why weren't up 3-0.
In game 1, Memphis blew a 27-point lead in the 2nd half to lose the game. Saturday, the Clippers almost blew a decent lead after missing 17 of their last 30 free throws but ended up winning by 1. Rudy Gay had a chance to win the game at the end but missed a three-pointer at the buzzer. The Clippers have only won by a point in both of their victories.
But with Chris Paul's improved play in the playoffs (he's averaging 22 plus points and 9 plus assists per game, above his season averages) and the recent return of Caron Butler, the Clippers have a lot to be hopeful for. Having said that, they need to buckle down and win tonight or they could be in trouble.
The Lakers seem much more in command of their playoff destiny.
Winning game 4 last night against the Nuggets gave the Lakeshow a 3-1 series lead. Kobe Bryant finished with 22 points but his assist to Steve Blake that put the Lakers up 6 in the end was probably his biggest play of the game.
The Lakers have a chance to close out the series tomorrow night at home.
My hoopsvibe prediction: The Lakers win the series tomorrow night.
They have just been too dominant for the Nuggets. They are leading the Nuggets in every major category except free throw percentage and steals and are getting the production they need from the bench.
The two-highest averaging scorers on the series for the Lakers are Kobe Bryant and Andrew Bynum, who are averaging 46.75 ppg between the two of them. Gallinari and Lawson, Denver's series bests are combining for just 33.25.
Coach Brown played Jordan Hill for a lot of the second half in their victory yesterday and Hill ended up finishing with a game-high 11 rebounds.
While McGee and Faried present some difficulties for the Lakers down low, (as they showed in game 3) the big men were held to just a combined 14 points and 11 rebounds in Game 4.
If the Lakers just keep Denver's big men at bay, they should have no problem wrapping up the series tomorrow night.
And if the Clippers can hang on and beat Memphis, being a hoops fan in Los Angeles won't suck.
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Image source: AP Images