NBA PREVIEWS – AUGUST 19TH:
Brooklyn Nets vs Toronto Raptors
The Nets didn’t have a chance in Game 1 against the Raptors and, based on the strength of both sides, the scenario is not likely to change much ahead of the second game of the series, which opens up Wednesday’s four-game slate. The Nets have some quality players in Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen, but the Raptors are deeper, more experienced, more talented, and are also coming off a Game 1 win in which they never let Brooklyn grabbed any sort of advantage. The Raptors shot 47 percent from the field, including 22-of-44 from deep, in the series opener. Meanwhile, the shorthanded Nets gave up 14 turnovers, which amounted to 17 points for their opponent, and need to beef up defensively to have a shot at an upset.
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Utah Jazz vs Denver Nuggets
The series opener between the Jazz and the Nuggets was, without a doubt, one of the most thrilling games in the 2019-20 NBA Playoffs so far, as Donovan Mitchell scored 57 points for the Jazz but Jamal Murray carried the Nuggets to the win in overtime. Utah won’t have Mike Conley for Game 2, but the veteran point guard should be ready for Game 3 and there’s no question the Jazz need him because otherwise, Mitchell and Rudy Gobert take too much of a burden on offense. The Nuggets might not have a margin for error, as they blew a 12-point lead in Game 1 before icing the game out on overtime, and will be without Gary Harris due to a hip problem. Another slow start of defensive lapsus court hurt Denver’s chance enormously.
Philadelphia 76ers vs Boston Celtics
The Celtics escaped with a Game 1 victory over the 76ers, but they suffered the loss of Gordon Hayward, who will be out for four weeks due to a sprain — this might even the playing field for a Sixers team that won’t have Ben Simmons for the remainder of the postseason. Boston might have won Game 1 by a relatively comfortable margin — 109-101 — but the contest was competitive at both ends, with neither team leading by more than 11 points at any point of the contest. The Celtics will hope Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown can carry them to a Game 2 victory, while the Sixers will rely heavily on Joel Embiid to pull the upset. Philadelphia won the regular-season series by a 3-1 score, but Boston have a clear edge based on what happened in Game 1.
Dallas Mavericks vs Los Angeles Clippers
The Mavericks fell short in their quest to pull the upset against the Clippers in Game 1 of their series Monday, but they were quite unfortunate since they were forced to play the majority of the second half without Kristaps Porzingis, who was ejected. Dallas saw a dominant effort from Luka Doncic, who broke the all-time record for most points in a playoff debut with 42, but that wasn’t enough to defeat a resilient Clippers team. Los Angeles have the experience and the depth to contend with any team in the league and, even though they’re favorites here, all signs point towards another high-scoring duel and another stellar individual battle between Doncic and Kahwi Leonard. The 2019 NBA Finals MVP notched 29 points, 12 rebounds, six assists and three steals in Game 1.