Eight storylines to watch in NBA’s weekend action

Eight storylines to watch in NBA’s weekend action

The Sports Daily

Eight storylines to watch in NBA’s weekend action


This weekend is packed with second-round action in the NBA playoffs you don’t want to miss.

Here are eight burning questions that might be plaguing basketball fans heading into the weekend.

How will Spurs perform without Tony Parker in the lineup?

The San Antonio Spurs will be without their floor general for the remainder of the playoffs after the team announced Thursday that Parker has a ruptured left quadriceps tendon. Parker suffered the injury in the fourth quarter of San Antonio’s 121-96 victory over the Houston Rockets in Game 2 on Wednesday night.

Parker was the Spurs’ second-leading scorer in the playoffs, and is the team’s most experienced player, particularly in the postseason where his 221 playoff games rank fifth all-time in NBA history.

That said, the Spurs are equipped to carry on without Parker. Patty Mills is a decent replacement at the point guard position. In eight starts during the regular season, Mills averaged 12.1 points and 5.9 assists. Kawhi Leonard is also capable of handling the lead guard duties in a point forward role for San Antonio.

Can Wizards continue home-court dominance and even the series?

After losing Games 1 and 2 on the road against the Boston Celtics, the Washington Wizards returned home to handle business in Game 3, picking up a 116-89 victory on Thursday.

The Wizards have yet to lose a playoff game at home. Meanwhile, the Celtics continue to struggle on the road against Washington, and here are the stats to prove it:

Considering how poorly the Celtics have played at Verizon Center this season, there’s a good chance the Wizards even the series with a victory in Game 4 on Sunday.

Will both Warriors, Cavaliers sweep their opponents?

The Golden State Warriors and Cleveland Cavaliers have been on cruise control so far in the playoffs. Neither team has yet to a lose game up to this point, and it doesn’t look like they will anytime soon.

Despite having the No. 1 ranked team in points allowed during the regular season, the Utah Jazz have been no match for Golden State’s high-scoring offense, and the injury to George Hill hasn’t helped the situation. After missing Game 2 on Thursday with a toe injury, it’s unclear if Hill, the team’s second-leading scorer and starting point guard, will be able to play in Game 3 on Saturday.

Meanwhile, in the East, the Toronto Raptors are dealing with an injury of their own. Star point guard Kyle Lowry suffered a sprained ankle in Game 2 on Wednesday and might not be available for Game 3 on Friday. The Raptors are going to need all the help they can get against a Cavaliers team that has dominated the series so far. Cleveland’s latest victory came by 22 points after shooting 54.7 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from 3.

Can DeMar DeRozan rebound from poor performance in Game 2?

J.R. Smith was all over DeRozan in Game 2, holding the Raptors star to 0-of-9 from the field before checking out of the game. By the final buzzer, DeRozan finished with just five points on 2-of-11 shooting. That can’t happen if the Raptors want to even the series this weekend.

With Lowry questionable for Game 3 with a sprained ankle, it’s up to DeRozan to carry Toronto. If he continues to struggle, then the series is practically over.

Can Rockets’ role players step up again?

The Rockets won Game 1 of their series against San Antonio mainly because they got big contributions from their role players that night. Trevor Ariza, in addition to chasing Leonard around all game long, scored a game-high 23 points in Game 1.

However, in Game 2, Ariza had just two points. The same can be said about Eric Gordon and Lou Williams, who followed up a strong performance in Game 1 with a poor showing in Game 2.

The Rockets are at their best when everyone gets involved on offense, and they hope to have that happen in Games 3 and 4 this weekend.

Will Stephen Curry’s ankle injury linger throughout playoffs?

There was some concern about Curry’s health after the Warriors star point guard missed Wednesday’s practice with ankle soreness, but it didn’t seem to bother him in Game 2 on Thursday. Curry had 23 points and seven assists in the 115-104 win over Utah, looking like his usual self.

Anytime the word ankle and Curry are mentioned in the same sentence, there’s bound to be some concern, given his injury history, but it doesn’t appear to be anything serious. It’s normal around this time of the year for players to be feeling sore as they continue to rack up minutes in the postseason.

Is LeBron James even guardable right now?

James is killing teams in the postseason. He averaged 32.8 points in the first round against the Indiana Pacers and shot 54.3 percent from the field and 45 percent from 3. In two games against the Raptors, the Cavaliers star forward has averaged 37.0 points while shooting 62.2 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from 3.

Cleary, James is getting better as he goes deeper in the playoffs, and at times, he’s making it look way too easy. For instance:

We’ll get the answer to this question after Games 3 and 4 this weekend, but it doesn’t appear that James is guardable right now. He’s just on another level and peaking at the right time for Cleveland.

Will Steve Kerr’s absence affect Warriors?

There is no timetable for Kerr’s return to the Warriors sideline as he deals with pain related to his 2015 back surgery. The San Francisco Chronicle’s Connor Letourneau has confirmed that Kerr won’t travel with the team for Games 3 and 4 in Utah. Assistant coach Mike Brown will continue to coach the team as he’s done for the past four games.

Draymond Green told reporters earlier this week that the team is preparing like Kerr won’t return for the playoffs, and it hasn’t seemed to affect them so far. They’ve handled their business on the court in Kerr’s absence. However, it will be interesting to see if that changes as Golden State goes deeper into the playoffs.

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