Raptors will host the Bucks in game 5. Both are looking to take control of the series as they are tied at 2 wins a piece. This game is more important for the Raptors to win so they do not go back to Milwaukee for game 6 on the verge of elimination. Toronto has struggled through the first 3 games of the season although have been able to bounce back for game 4 as they controlled the game the entire way through. The Raptors held the Bucks to 76 points as they held them a slow tempo causing them shoot their lowest percentage as a team (37%). That could be the result from the changes head coach Dwayne Casey made by going small and starting guard Norman Powell at small forward and having Jonas Valanciunas come off the bench when Greg Monroe got in the game for Milwaukee. Powell excels at attacking the basket (which helped Derozan and Lowry to get better shots) and playing defense. The momentum is swinging in the Raptors favor and I expect them to take full advantage to seize this opportunity and pull off a close win with Demar Derozan leading the way once again.
Hawks will host the Wizards in game 4 as they look to continue climbing back into a series that almost became out of reach for them. Currently the Hawks are down 2-1 in the series and even though their game 3 performance was great the way they locked down on defense causing the Wizards to shoot below 45 percent from the field and turn the ball over more as they held them to under 100 points for the first time this series; I am not fully convinced that they have what it takes to take control over this series. John Wall and the Wizards will make offensiveadjustments to counter the Hawks defense and the only way the Hawks will be able to win the game is if they out-shoot them. That won’t happen if Bradley Beal bounces back from scoring just 12 points in game 3 after averaging 26 ppg through the first 2 games of the series. Beal had good looks all game he just failed to knock them down. Players have off nights here and there and given the fact that Beal is a natural scorer and one of the best shooter’s in the league, (shooting 48 percent from the field overall, 40 percent from 3) he will have a better night tonight for game 4. The Wizards will regain full control of this series and will head back to DC on the verge of reaching the 2nd round of the playoffs.
The Warriors and Trailblazers face offin game 4 at the Moda Center in Portland. This is an elimination game for the Blazers and to keep things simple, they will be swept out of the playoffs tonight. The Warriors will most likely be without forward Kevin Durant (questionable) and head coach Steve Kerr (out) again, although that will not matter just as it did not matter in game 3. The Blazers had a chance to make this series last longer until they squandered a 16-point lead halfway through the 3rd quarter of game 3 when they allowed the Warriors to go on a 19-1 run. The Blazers were able to go into the 4th quarter with a 1 point lead although the momentum was not in their favor. There is no team in the league that can go into the 4th quarter against this Warriors team and feel good about potentially winning the game. The Warriors have too much firepower for that. Especially in Portland’s case as they do not have the roster to match up with Golden State’s even with Durant sitting out. The Warriors smelled blood at the end of game 3 and game 4 will be the final blow to the Blazers’ season. While Damian Lillard was predicting “Blazers in six,” the Warriors were out shopping for brooms.