Ready to crash the boards and throw down some bets? It’s time for the NBA playoffs, where every bucket is bigger with BetMGM.
In this edition of the Showstopper, we’re previewing an action-packed postseason weekend, including Nuggets vs. Warriors, Nets vs. Celtics, and Bulls vs. Bucks. From updates on Steph Curry to Zach LaVine, we’ve got the injury news you need to know.
Denver Nuggets vs. Golden State Warriors
Saturday, April 16 | TV: ABC
The big news that broke Thursday is Steph Curry remains on track to play in Game 1. The Warriors star will likely be on a minutes restriction, but he was able to make it through scrimmage without any setbacks. Curry’s been out of action since March 16 due to a left foot sprain. The Warriors have won five in a row and sport a 31-10 record at home, but they lost three of their four games against the Nuggets during the regular season. Curry scored 34 in his last meeting with Denver, so the Warriors will lean on his 3-point shooting, along with Klay Thompson and Jordan Poole, to try to counter the Nuggets’ top-10 offensive attack.
Golden State has struggled to stop Nikola Jokic in the paint thus far. The Joker is averaging 28 points and 15.7 rebounds in the head-to-head series with Golden State. The Nuggets will play without point guard Facundo Campazzo, who was suspended for Game 1 after shoving Lakers’ Wayne Ellington in the regular-season finale. Campazzo hasn’t played any significant minutes, however, so this has little impact on Denver’s backcourt. If you’re looking for the hot hand on prop bets, Klay Thompson has topped the 30-point mark in three straight games, averaging 36.7 points per contest over that span.
Brooklyn Nets vs. Boston Celtics
Sunday, April 17 | TV: ABC
The Nets are riding a five-game win streak, including an impressive 115-108 play-in tournament victory over the Cavaliers. The Celtics have also been hot, winning seven of their last 10 games heading into the playoffs. Brooklyn has found its groove behind the stellar play of Kyrie Irving, who’s topped 30 points in four of his last six games. While all four of their head-to-head games were high-scoring battles, the Celtics triumphed 3-1 in the regular-season series with the Nets. Brooklyn will definitely be game-planning to stop Jayson Tatum, who dropped a whopping 54 points and hit eight 3-pointers the last time these two teams met.
The Celtics are preparing to play without center Robert Williams, since he continues to rehab a torn meniscus in his left knee. There’s a chance he could return at some point in the playoffs, but Boston will have to make do with Daniel Theis and Al Horford for now. That’s a plus for Kyrie’s chances of getting into the paint consistently. And despite the rumors around Ben Simmons’ potential debut, it’s more likely that Simmons returns later in the series or in the next round, should the Nets advance.
Chicago Bulls vs. Milwaukee Bucks
Sunday, April 17 | TV: TNT
The Bulls are getting healthy just at the right time. Both Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso were full participants in Tuesday’s practice. LaVine, who provides a huge boost on offense, should be fresh after getting some time to rest his sore knee. Likewise, Caruso is feeling good after resting his sore back, and his defense will absolutely be needed to stop Milwaukee’s dangerous trio of Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday. While the Bulls have been able to keep things competitive, the Bucks swept them 4-0 during the regular-season series.
The Bulls dealt with their share of road woes during the regular season, going 19-22 away from the United Center. If they want to find more success in this first-round matchup, the Bulls will have to find an answer to stopping Milwaukee’s big men. Outside of Nikola Vucevic and Patrick Williams, the Bulls are lacking in the size department. Giannis has averaged 26.7 points and 13.5 rebounds per game against Chicago. The Bucks have also gotten key contributions from Brook Lopez and Bobby Portis to control the paint and provide a rebounding edge.