#6 Charlotte Hornets vs. #3 Miami Heat, Series tied 2-2 (8pm ET Wednesday, TNT)
The Hornets dropped the first two games of the series in Miami, but managed to tie things up at two games apiece with a pair of wins over the weekend in Charlotte. On Monday the Hornets essentially won the game at the charity stripe, as they hit on 25 of 30 free throws, while the Heat made just 14 of 21, an imbalance compounded by Charlotte’s 17-9 turnover advantage. The Hornets’ Kemba Walker led all scorers with a career playoff high 34 points, and Jeremy Lin came off the bench to score 21 on a night when he finally got some foul calls his way, making good on 8 of 9 free throws. The Hornets also managed to keep Miami’s Dwyane Wade in check, as he scored just 12 points, and they limited Hassan Whiteside to 7 rebounds in 25 minutes.
The Heat outrebounded and outpassed the Hornets, but simply gave away too many points, and left too many more on the table, on a night when they’d been down 18, and clawed their way to within 1, only to fall short 89-85.
#8 Houston Rockets vs. #1 Golden State Warriors, GSW Leads series 3-1 (10:30pm ET Wednesday, TNT)
Ugh… After Steph Curry sprained his right ankle in Game 1 of the series, smart money said that Warriors head coach Steve Kerr wouldn’t let the reigning/presumptive MVP back on the floor until Golden State had lost a game. Well, the Warriors got shot down by the Rockets in Game 3, and so Curry was back in action on Sunday, only to suffer a sprained right knee that kept him out of the second half and will keep him sidelined for at least two weeks. Curry managed just 6 points on 2-of-9 shooting, while making 5 turnovers.
But the Warriors are a deep and talented team, and so they once again shook off Curry’s absence, erupting for 41 points in the third quarter, during which Klay Thompson scored 12, and Draymond Green had 11, to give the Warriors a 21-point lead. From there it was just a matter of time. When the dust finally settled Golden State was triumphant 121-94, and had just set the NBA playoff record for 3-pointers made, with 21, breaking the old record of 20 most recently tied by the Cavs just last week.
Golden State can close out the series with a win at home tonight, and should be highly motivated to do so, as these guys are gonna want as much rest as possible if they’re going to be marching forward without Curry for the time being.