Ahead of the Playoff First Round games this weekend, we preview some of the exciting games to watch in Game 3.
Orlando Magic VS. Milwaukee Bucks
It is all-square between Orlando Magic and Milwaukee Bucks after the first two games with both teams looking to take the lead in Game 3.
Orlando Magic will be disappointed after missing a great chance to take a surprise 2-0 lead in the series against one of the favorites for the title this season. However, they still have a chance to cause a huge upset and eliminate the Bucks with five games remaining. With Nikola Vucevic playing at his best at the moment, the Bucks will have to be wary of their opponents this weekend. Vucevic recorded 35 points and 14 rebounds in the first game before adding another 32 points and ten rebounds in the second game. He is averaging a remarkable 33.5 points per game, 12.0 rebounds per game, and an additional 3.0 assists per game in the playoffs.
After shockingly losing the first game 122-110 to the Magic, Milwaukee Bucks have managed to tie the series 1-1 with an impressive 111-96 win in the second game. Milwaukee Bucks’ win also ensured that they didn’t go behind 0-2 before the third game. Giannis Antetokounmpo was once again the star of the show for the Bucks as he finished the game with 28 points and 20 rebounds. In the two games against the Magic, he has averaged an impressive 29.5 points per game, 18.5 rebounds per game and 6.0 assists per game.
With the key players of both teams on top of their game, this game could be an intriguing fixture.
Prediction: Orlando Magic VS. Milwaukee Bucks- 112-123
Miami Heat VS. Indiana Pacers
It has been a comfortable First Round so far for Miami Heat, who head into the third game against the Pacers with a commanding 2-0 lead and a lot of momentum. In both games, the Heat have been the better side with most of their key players making significant contributions on the court. A win in the third game would see the Heat take a massive step closer to booking a place in the next round.
The Pacers have been far from their regular-season best in the playoffs so far. In both games, they have failed to make any meaningful impact. With a lot at stake, the third game is a must-win game for the Pacers to get back in the series to avoid an embarrassing early exit.
Prediction: Miami Heat VS. Indiana Pacers- 116-98
Oklahoma City Thunder VS. Houston Rockets
It’s Game 3 in the West First Round as Oklahoma City Thunder take on Houston Rockets in what could be a thrilling encounter.
It has been a woeful Playoff First Round for the Thunder so far as they trail 0-2 in the series. The Thunder have been miserable in both games so far against the Rockets, losing 123-108 in the first game and 111-98 in the second game. Head Coach Billy Donovan will have to get things right in Game 3 for his side to overcome the 0-2 deficit and stay in the series before Houston gets a clean sweep.
For the Rockets, it has been business as usual in the First Round so far. Despite missing Russell Westbrook due to injury, the Rockets have managed to cruise to victory in both games with star man James Harden grabbing the headlines. In both games against the Thunder, Harden has averaged 29.0 points per game, 8.0 rebounds per game, and an additional 6.0 assists per game. He was unlucky with his shooting in the last game as he finished the game with only 21 points and nine assists. However, he will be a massive threat to the Thunder defense. Oklahoma City Thunder will have to be wary of Harden’s potency in the offense once again.
Prediction: Oklahoma City Thunder VS. Houston Rockets- 101-120
Portland Trail Blazers VS. Los Angeles Lakers
With the First round series tied 1-1 after two games, Portland Trail Blazers will be looking to regain their lead. Despite winning the first game 100-93, the Trail Blazers succumbed to a disappointing 111-88 loss in their second game against the Lakers. It was also a disappointing second game for Trail Blazers’ star man Damian Lillard who had to exit the game after dislocating his index finger. He only managed to score only 18 points before his exit. Lillard has been their most important player all season. As such, Coach Terry Stotts and his Trail Blazers side will need him to recover and play in Game 3 to ensure the Trail Blazers get back on track.
After suffering a 100-93 loss in the first game, questions were surrounding the Lakers’ chances of advancing to the next round after their abysmal performance. However, the Lakers quickly proved all doubters wrong by winning the second game comfortably to tie the series. In both games, Anthony Davis and LeBron James have replicated their impressive performances from the regular season. Anthony Davis is averaging 29.5 points per game, 11.0 rebounds per game, 2.0 assists per game, 1.5 steals per game and 1.5 blocks per game. LeBron is also averaging 16.5 points per game, 11.5 rebounds per game and 11.5 assists per game. He has also averaged an impressive 1.5 steals per game.
With these two players in top form, the Lakers could beat the Trail Blazers convincingly and shift the momentum to their side.
Prediction: Portland Trail Blazers VS. Los Angeles Lakers- 112-116