Warriors vs Cavs
NBA

NBA on Sling: Warriors and Cavs Remain on Collision Course, Everyone Else Fighting for Their Lives

This year’s playoffs are kinda like the Jean Claude Van Damme classic Bloodsport — you’re amazed by what great fighters most of the other guys are, but it’s nakedly obvious that the whole thing is gonna come down to a battle between Chong Li and Frank Dux. Yet the fights leading up to the finale are so good you have to watch. The only difference is it’s unclear who’s Li and who’s Dux, the Cavs or the Warriors? Both Cleveland and Golden State looked vulnerable this spring, making their three-match appear to be in jeopardy, but the two teams are now a combined 15-0 this postseason, and show no signs of slowing down. Making things even more perilous for their competition is that the sweeps are allowing the Cavs and Warriors to rest between series, while the other teams beat up on each other.

Toronto Raptors vs Cleveland Cavaliers (Cavs won 4-0)

Going back to Game 5 of last season’s Finals, the Cleveland Cavaliers have now won 11 playoff games in a row. The Raptors looked like they were ready to put up a fight early in Game 4, jumping out to a 21-10 lead eight minutes into play, but that cushion was gone by the end of the quarter, and the Cavs were up 12 by the half. The Raptors would battle back, tying it up with 4 minutes to go in the game, but the comeback would flame out, as the Cavs would complete the sweep with a 109-102 win. LeBron averaged 36-8-5 for the series, and is shooting the lights out from downtown this postseason, draining 46.8% of his 3’s. An ugly season for the Cavs ended on a bad note, as the team won just 11 of their last 26 games of the regular season, but they seem determined to get another shot at the Warriors, and at this point, you’d be crazy to bet against them. Cavs in 4

Washington Wizards vs Boston Celtics (series tied 2-2)

Isaiah Thomas has continued to amaze, scoring 33 in a Game 1 victory before honoring what would’ve been the 23rd birthday of his recently deceased sister by dropping 53 in a 129-119 overtime win. But just as the home team won all four games of their regular season, so goes the playoffs, as the Wiz battled back win a nasty in Game 3, in which Washington’s Kelly Oubre Jr. got ejected for knocking over Kelly Olynyk, after the Celtics big man committed a hard foul. In all, there were 8 technicals and 3 ejections en route to a 116-89 Wizards win. “We don’t like them and they don’t like us,” said Thomas after the game. Game 4 was another big win for Washington, who rode a 26-0 3rd quarter run to victory. Celtics in 7

Houston Rockets vs San Antonio Spurs, series tied 2-2

The Rockets stole home court advantage with a 126-99 blowout win in Game 1 in San Antonio, but gave it away with convincing losses in Games 2 and 3. The Rockets were hobbled in part by a chest cold that had stricken James Harden, but he got healthy enough to lead his team to a 125-104 win in Game 4 to even the series. “I can finally breathe,” Harden said afterward. But Harden’s chest cold wasn’t as debilitating as the Spurs’ loss of Tony Parker, who went down with a ruptured quad in Game 2 that required surgery and will keep him sidelined eight months. Parker’s absence puts a huge load on Kawhi Leonard’s shoulders for what has become a three-game series — as it is, he’s only 2 boards short of leading his team in points, rebounds, assists, and steals, there’s not a lot more the man can do. The Rockets are too healthy and their bench to deep at this. Rockets in 7

Utah Jazz vs Golden State Warriors, Warriors lead 3-0

Tragically for the Jazz, it would appear that the Warriors’ Kevin Durant is healthy. After sitting out Games 2 and 3 against Portland, Durant is leading his team in points (26.7) and rebounds (9.7) in this series against the Jazz. The Warriors are no doubt worried about the health of head coach Steve Kerr who’s been out of action since April 22 with a recurrence of an issue related to the back surgery that kept him sidelined for the start of the 2015 season. Kerr is out indefinitely, and his players are concerned, but they are taking care of business with assistant coach Mike Brown at the reins. This series will be over shortly. Warriors in 4

Monday on TNT

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Golden State Warriors vs Utah Jazz  Game 4 @ 9pm, Warriors leads 3-0

Tuesday on TNT

Houston Rockets vs San Antonio Spurs Game 5 @ 8pm, series tied 2-2

Wednesday on TNT

Utah Jazz vs Golden State Warriors @ TBD if necessary, Warriors lead series 3-0

Washington Wizards vs Boston Celtics Game 5 @ 8pm, series tied 2-2

Thursday on ESPN

San Antonio Spurs vs Houston Rockets Game 6@ 8pm

Friday on ESPN

Boston Celtics vs Washington Wizards Game 6 @ 8pm

Golden State Warriors vs Utah Jazz @ TBD if necessary

Sunday, network TBD

Houston Rockets vs San Antonio Spurs @ TBD if necessary

Utah Jazz vs Golden State Warriors @ TBD if necessary

Watch the NBA on TNT by subscribing to Sling, ESPN by subscribing to Sling Orange, and on ABC by subscribing to Sling Orange + Broadcast Extra

Watch Bloodsport, starring Jean Claude Van Damme and Forest Whitaker on the Starz add-on pack available to Sling subscribers.  

All stats courtesy ESPN and Basketball Reference

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