In the first round of the playoffs 5-of-8 series went to a Game 7. Will we get even one in Round 2? We find out Thursday night.
Indiana Pacers at Washington Wizards (Pacers lead series 3-2). Washington center Marcin Gortat admitted he was dreading going home, where the Wizards have lost both games this series. They’ve already won five road games this postseason and are hoping to avoid becoming the first team to do so without reaching the conference finals. The Pacers, on the other hand, are trying to avoid a total collapse. Their Game 5 blowout loss might have already opened Pandora’s Box. This is a matchup of two teams that might be unconfident — the Wizards in their location and the Pacers in themselves.
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Los Angeles Clippers (Thunder lead series 3-2). When we talk about “playoff experience” we often focus on the nebulous “teams that know how to win” idea. What may be even a bigger part of playoff experience is learning how to deal with and respond to losses. Because there will be losses. The Clippers had a devastating one in Game 5 — up 7 with 49 seconds left they made terrible plays and decisions, plus got a swift kick from the referees, and they lost. The Thunder suffered a painful loss in Game 4, blowing a 16-point lead, but they came from behind to win Game 5 — they showed some poise. Do the Clippers have that in them? Is dealing with loss a lesson they have learned? If so, expect a Game 7 Saturday. If not their season ends.