The Washinton Wizards and Golden State Warriors remain as the only unbeaten teams in the 2015 NBA playoffs with five straight wins apiece. But while we expected the Warriors to coast in the early rounds, we didn't even think the Wizards would still be in the second round.
But they are here and they've achieved a piece of history by being here. The Wizards are the first team in NBA history to win four consecutive Game 1s on the road, winning two last season and then two more in the first two rounds this year.The Wizards will try to keep their clean slate against the East's #1 seed Atlanta Hawks at the Philips Arena while the Warriors hope to take advantage once again of Mike Conley's absence as they too hope to remain unbeaten in this year's edition of the playoffs.
Will the Warriors and Wizards remain undefeated tomorrow? Or will one of them be finally be brought down to earth?
We'll help you answer those questions by previewing both Game 2s with this post. We'll also give you the SportHold Super Prediction score to help you out with your picks for Tuesday's games.
The SportHold Super Prediction score is based on the collated predictions of SportHold users. Our users enter their predictions in our challenges page and we come up with a set of picks based on those. Those picks become our voice- or the voice of the crowd. The more predictions we get, the stronger our voice is. Remember that there is strength in numbers. Here at SportHold though, we just don't come up with a voice, but our users compete with others in our leaderboard. We give out points to every prediction you make, depending on the accuracy. Users also get points when they test their Sports IQ at our mini-games and even get a chance to win cash prizes by predicting the exact scores of NBA games. To get you started, here is the Prediction Data for May 5 to help you out:
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The Washington Wizards continued their giant-slaying ways when they upset the top seeded Hawks in Game 1 of their Eastern conference semi-finals series.
After giving up 37 points in the first quarter and trailing 53-63 at the half, the Wizards shut down the Hawks' offense in the second half and limited Atlanta to just 35 points (on 37% FG shooting) in the final two quarters including 5-28 from the field in the payoff period to take Game 1 and steal home court advantage from the Hawks.
With the win, the Wizards became the first team in the history of the NBA to win four consecutive playoff series openers on the road and improved Coach Randy Wittman's playoff road record to 8-1 over the last two season, which is the best ever playoff start for any coach in NBA history.
SG Bradley Beal waxed hot with 28 points, despite playing with a sprained ankle. His back court partner and Wizards' main man John Wall added 18 points and 13 assists while veteran forward Paul Pierce continued to impress with 19 points.
The Wizards won despite getting only a combined 12 points and 15 rebounds from Marcin Gortat and Nene Hilario up front. Their Atlanta counterparts Al Horford and Paul Millsap were dominating with their aggregate of 32 points, 29 rebounds and 15 assists. But the Wizards got the needed bench support from young Otto Porter and veteran Drew Gooden who combined for 22 points and 16 rebounds off the Washington bench to supplant their starting frontcourt's production. In Game 2 though, Gortat and Nene must play better for the Wizards to have a shot at beating the Hawks again.
While the Wizards' defense clamped down on the Hawks in the second half of Game 1, part of the Hawks struggles were self-made after they made just 15 out of 49 uncontested shots. With Game 2 still at the Philips Arena, nobody expects the Hawks to shoot poorly for a second straight game.
Injuries are a slight concern for the Wizards as their dynamic backcourt of Beal and Wall hurt their ankle and wrist respectively. However, both are expected to be leading the Wizards' charge tomorrow. On the other hand, Atlanta's injury concern is only the controversial Thabo Sefolosha. So with a complete and healthy line-up, these 60-22 Hawks are still favored despite losing Game 1.
The Grizzlies played smart and hard in Game 1 but they were simply overwhelmed by the talent level of the Warriors. Steve Kerr emptied his bench and played 13 players in Game 1 with ten of them playing at least 11 minutes in the game. Of the 13 players who saw action, 10 were able to score and five were in double digits led by Stephen Curry's 22 points.
Of course we know by now that Curry's been named as this season's MVP and deservedly so. Curry averaged 23.8 points during the regular season where he broke his own single season record for most three pointers made with a total of 286. Curry got 100 of 130 first place votes and easily beat out James Harden and LeBron James for the season's top individual award. In doing so, Curry became the first Warriors payer to be named MVP since Wilt chamberlain in 1960.
Helping Curry do the daamage in Game 1 was his Splash Brother Klay Thompson who pumped in 18 points while do-it-all forward Draymond Green added four triples. The Warriors shot 46% from three point distance in Game 1 and shot 52% on contested shotsin a dazzling display of offensive firepower.
Making matters worse for the Grizzlies was the absence of PG Mike Conley who is the motor of their offsense. Without Conley, the Grizzlies turned the ball over 16 times which was their most in a playoff game since 2012. Defensive stopper Tony Allen had his hands full against the Warriors' backcourt and wingmen but their depth proved too much without Conley and with the resulting weak spot that was played by Beno Udrih and Nick Calathes.
But perhaps even if Conley were to play in Game 2, it wouldn't matter much to the Warriors who have lost just twice at the Oracle Arena all-season long. They went 39-2 during the regular season and are 3-0 in the playoffs. If Memphis doesn't have something big under their sleeves, the Warriors are going to run away with this series pretty fast.
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