OKLAHOMA CITY - APRIL 24: Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder drives to the basket against Kobe Bryant #24 of the Los Angeles Lakers during Game Four of the Western Conference Quarterfinals of the 2010 NBA Playoffs on April 24, 2010 at the Ford Center in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Dilip Vishwanat/Getty Images)

NBA Playoffs: Your Complete Tuesday Night Viewing Guide

Mike Prada rested up last night because there are some incredible NBA Playoff games on tonight. He breaks them all down here.

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NBA Playoffs: Your Complete Tuesday Night Viewing Guide

I won't lie. I zoned out a lot during last night's games and don't have much to say about them. Orlando's too good, Phoenix rebounded too well and the Bucks were on NBATV too much. I also needed to prepare myself for tonight, when we have four outstanding games.

You know what? Let's just get right into them.



Miami Heat at. Boston Celtics: Game 5, 7:00 p.m., NBATV

Game 4 in one sentence: Dwyane Wade dropped 46 points and one love note to his hand in leading the Heat to a stirring comeback win.

Problem the Celtics must solve to win: Ray Allen needs to hit his free throws and Dwyane Wade needs to stop hitting his threes. Considering Allen almost never misses free throws and Wade isn't a great three-point shooter, Boston has to like their chances.

In all seriousness, SB Nation's CelticsBlog was encouraged even by the Game 4 loss, and I agree with them. Wade just got insanely hot. It won't happen again. 

Problem the Heat must solve to win again: Even in victory, Michael Beasley and Jermaine O'Neal had pretty bad games. One of these days, those guys will need to show up if they are to win this series.  

Totally inconsequential thing I want to see happen: As a perfect way to sum up their bad series, I want to see O'Neal and Beasley singlehandily beaten to a rebound by Glen Davis. Davis would then make some sort of shouting face and Beasley and O'Neal will look like they don't want to be there.

Prediction: It ends tonight. Celtics 97, Heat 85.




Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers: Game 5, 8:00 p.m., TNT

Game 4 in one sentence: LeBron James, spurred by that scary look in his eye according to the TV commentators, had a triple double to lead the Cavs in a Game 4 rout of the Bulls.

Problem the Bulls must solve to win: Stop fouling. Perhaps the biggest bad sign for the Bulls was when James Johnson checked in and immediately picked up three fouls in the second quarter. That put the Cavs in the penalty and they dominated thereafter. As SB Nation's Bulls blog Blog a Bull writes:

But then midway through the second quarter the tide started to shift, seemingly right when James Johnson checked in and committed 3 fouls in under two minutes. From then on the Cavs lived at the line, though Johnson's poor play (and any other odd VDN rotation decisions today) was merely catalyst if not a cause: no one thing contributes to a team scoring 75 points in two quarters as the Cavs did in the second and third tonight. They were able to spread the floor beautifully and exploit matchups with LeBron and Antawn Jamison.     

Problem the Cavs must solve to keep winning: In the abstract, they need more games where LeBron orchestrates rather than holding the ball and dominating it. LeBron did more orchestrating in Game 4, and it allowed the Cavaliers' offense to get into a nice flow. This was in stark contrast to Game 2 and 3, when LeBron did a lot of isolating at the top of the key. 

Totally inconsequential thing I want to see happen: This game getting switched to NBATV and pushed back to 9:30 so Mavs-Spurs can go on TNT.

Prediction: The Bulls will scrap and claw, and LeBron will get cocky and hold the ball too much. No matter. The Cavs will still win. Cavaliers 101, Bulls 94.




San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks: Game 5, 9:30 p.m., NBATV

Game 4 in one sentence: George Hill scored 29 points as the Spurs overcame terrible games by their Big 3 to win a wild one in San Antonio.

Problem the Mavericks must solve to win: You mean besides guarding George Hill? Get Dirk Nowitzki more than 10 shots. Here's a crazy stat: Caron Butler had as many shots in the first quarter as Dirk Nowitzki had all game. Since Caron Butler's 10 shots are mostly of the "dribble around, pump fake, contested 20-footer" variety, it's not good for your team when that happens. Earth to Caron: your routine neither helps you or the team.

(I'd say more, but I already wrote 3500 words on Caron Butler today. I'm kind of out of energy there).

Problem the Spurs must solve to win again: Tim Duncan and Manu Ginobili shot a combined 5-25 in Game 4. The Spurs won anyway, but George Hill won't drop 29 points every night. For the Spurs to close out this series, Duncan and Ginobili have to be much better. 

Totally inconsequential thing I want to see happen: A late switch to put this game on TNT at 8 p.m. instead of on NBATV at 9:30 p.m. I can't believe I'm going to have to choose between the two best series in the NBA Playoffs right now.

Prediction: I've told everyone this series is going seven, and I'm sticking to it. Dallas' supporting players will shoot better and the Mavericks will put the pressure back on San Antonio going into Game Six. Mavericks 104, Spurs 97.




Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers: Game 5, 10:30 p.m., NBATV

Problem the Lakers must solve to win: It would help if Kobe Bryant didn't pull his "you want me to set others up so I will just never shoot the ball to prove a point" shtick again, like he did in Game 7 of the first-round series with Phoenix back in 2006. There is scaling back your shooting, and there is not attempting a shot until the second quarter. Kobe has to find that balance.

SB Nation's Lakers blog Silver Screen and Roll, of course, disagrees with me.

Kobe Bryant began the game self-consciously forsaking his own shot, which was 100% the right thing to do. He committed a couple first-quarter turnovers, but otherwise his effort to get the offense functioning as a cohesive unit was thoughtful and well executed. His teammates simply let him down.Andrew Bynum missed good looks. Pau Gasol missed good looks and turned the ball over. Artest could neither hit open outside shots nor finish at the rim. Kobe played within his (physically diminished) self and trusted the talent around him, but that very well-compensated talent didn't come through.    

Alright, alright, fair enough - Gasol and Bynum have to step it up too.

Problem the Thunder must solve to keep winning: Tough to say after a game they played so well, but if they are to win in LA, they're going to need to do a much better job of executing down the stretch than they did in Game 2. They found a way to win Game 3, but a lot of that had to do with some ticky-tack foul calls. OKC's late-game execution has been an issue all year and it can't be in Game 5.

Totally inconsequential thing I want to see happen: Nick Collison taking a charge on his own teammate. He's taken charges on everyone on the Lakers already.

Prediction: It's a close game, and LA wins on late-game execution. Lakers 98, Thunder 94.

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