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NBA Playoffs Open Thread - May 30

New York Knicks v Atlanta Hawks - Game Three Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

The Sixers are up 3-0 and looking to close out their first-round series tomorrow. First, though, we get to watch a full four-game slate of other NBA playoffs action this afternoon and evening. Here’s what’s on tap:

Atlanta Hawks vs. New York Knicks - 1:00pm (ABC) - ATL leads 2-1

New York Knicks v Atlanta Hawks - Game Three Photo by Todd Kirkland/Getty Images

Sixers fans should keep a close eye on this game to scout the second-round matchup. After splitting the games at the Garden, Atlanta prevailed in Game 3, 105-94, with seven different Hawks players scoring in double figures. The Knicks have moved Derrick Rose into the starting lineup, and the former MVP responded with 30 points in Game 3. Most Improved Player and All-Star Julius Randle has struggled greatly, however, not scoring any higher than 15 points and shooting just 23.6 percent from the field through the first three games. Philadelphians should be rooting for Randle and the Knicks to figure things out this afternoon, as the Sixers would benefit from this series going as long as possible.

Los Angeles Lakers vs. Phoenix Suns - 3:30pm (ABC) - LAL leads 2-1

Los Angeles Lakers v Phoenix Suns - Game Two Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Another season for Chris Paul could be ending due to an injury suffered in the postseason. The Suns looked like the better team in a Game 1 win, but it was a bittersweet victory with Paul suffering a shoulder injury in the game. CP3 has continued to suit up, but his minutes have been reduced with the shoulder clearly bothering him; he sat out practice yesterday and was listed as questionable for Game 4 at the beginning of the day. Meanwhile, Anthony Davis is dealing with a knee sprain, but says there’s no chance he won’t play today in Game 4. AD was tremendous with 34 points in the Lakers’ 109-95 Game 3 victory. He and LeBron James are starting to get rolling, and the Suns’ feel-good season might be drawing to a close.

Boston Celtics vs. Brooklyn Nets - 7:00pm (TNT) - BKN leads 2-1

Brooklyn Nets v Boston Celtics - Game Three Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images

While Philadelphia appears poised to sweep Washington, and Milwaukee has already done so against Jimmy Butler and the Heat (tip of the cap to you, Bucks), the other Eastern Conference heavyweight had a slip-up in Game 3. Brooklyn dropped that contest to the Celtics, 125-119, as Jayson Tatum dropped 50 points in the win. Game 3 can notoriously be a “take the foot off the gas” contest if the favored team enters with the 2-0 lead, and there’s no great shame in losing a close one when an outstanding player like Tatum goes off. The Nets’ Big 3 are all playing well right now, so I’d expect Brooklyn to bounce back tonight, but if Boston can secure another win at home, things could get very interesting. Every extra game for Brooklyn is disadvantageous with Milwaukee already home resting in preparation for a second-round series.

Dallas Mavericks vs. Los Angeles Clippers - 9:30pm (TNT) - DAL leads 2-1

2021 NBA Playoffs - Dallas Mavericks v LA Clippers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

The Clippers were the early laughingstock of the playoffs, losing the first two games at home after tanking the end of the regular season in order to specifically play the Mavericks in the first round. Fortunately for Clippers fans, Doc Rivers’ former club rebounded for a Game 3 win behind 36 points from Kawhi Leonard. Win enough game on the road, and the Clippers can head back to Los Angeles just needing to win its remaining home games to escape this series. However, the Clippers have absolutely no idea how to slow down Luka Doncic right now, who has exploded for 38.0 points, 8.7 rebounds, and 9.0 assists per game thus far in this series. Falling behind 0-2 is one way to avoid blowing a 3-1 lead. We’ll see if the Clippers can tie this series up and eventually avoid another embarrassing end to their season.

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