A pair of Game 2 match-ups tip off Wednesday night, with similar storylines. The Cleveland Cavaliers are seeking to even the series at home against the Chicago Bulls, and the Houston Rockets are hoping to avoid another home loss to the Los Angeles Clippers.
Here’s a quick breakdown of each game, along with the key details to watch for:
Bulls at Cavs
The Bulls roared out to a 12-point first quarter lead in Game 1 at Quicken Loans Arena and held back a Cavs team sorely missing injured power forward Kevin Love, with point guard Derrick Rose netting 25 points and big man Pau Gasol totaling 21 points and 10 rebounds. Chicago was quite sharp from the field overall, shooting 50 percent, but was even better from deep range at 10-for-18.
However, Rose suffered a right shoulder stinger and though he said he’s good to go for Game 2 all eyes will be on how the oft-injured former MVP responds to the injury.
Failing to hold home court even though they went an excellent 31-10 during the regular season, the Cavs will look to their superstar veteran. LeBron James converted 9-of-22 shots from the field for 19 points, but also racked a game-high 15 rebounds and nine assists. James was forced to work the glass more than usual with Love now out, and point guard Kyrie Irving poured in 30 points and six assists. But the Cavs were a dismal 7-for-26 from three-point range, with Irving and James combining for just one field from behind the arc on eight attempts.
Love is done for the rest of the playoffs, and Cleveland will also be without reserve shooting guard J.R. Smith for a second straight game. Smith was suspended for hitting Boston’s Jae Crowder in the face during final game of the first round.
Swingman Jimmy Butler led Chicago with 26 points in Game 1 in 44 minutes of action. Bulls head coach Tom Thibodeau decided not to play Tony Snell, who might be called upon in Game 2 to defend James.
Start Time: 7 p.m. ET
TV Channel: TNT
Live Online: A live stream is available at TNT Overtime
Betting Odds: Cavs -5.5, 195 points o/v
Prediction: Cleveland over Chicago, 98-95
Clippers at Rockets
With All-Star point guard and first-round hero Chris Paul out with a hamstring strain, Blake Griffin responded with his second-straight triple-double, and third overall this postseason, in the Clippers' 117-101 Game 1 victory over rested and shocked Rockets squad.
Griffin became the facilitator with Paul out, piling up 13 assists, and snagging 14 rebounds to go along with his 26 points. In its third straight road victory, L.A. also received some clutch three-point shooting from veteran Matt Barnes, and guards Austin Rivers filling in for Paul. Rivers netted 17 points while going 4-for-6 from deep.
Paul could return in Game 2, but Clippers head coach Doc Rivers said his floor leader has a “50-50” chance to play.
There was sloppy play in Game 1 (L.A. had 23 turnovers and Houston had 24), but the Clippers made Houston pay by netting 34 points off the giveaways. The main culprit was Rockets leading scorer James Harden, who netted 20 points but coughed up nine turnovers.
Center Dwight Howard came through with 22 points and 10 rebounds, and swatted five shots, but the Rockets lost control in the second half and were outscored by 20 points in the final two quarters.
Start Time: 9:30 p.m. ET
TV Channel: TNT
Live Online: TNT Overtime
Betting Odds: Houston -7, 214 points o/v
Prediction: Houston over Los Angeles, 120-111