Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics: The Wizards will look to rebound after losing game one of this series in Boston. After falling behind 16-0, the Celtics were unstoppable offensively in the final three quarters. Both teams have defensive stoppers on their roster, but nobody decided to play defense in the first game. Both teams will try to make adjustments to their defensive strategies, and the team that makes the better adjustments should win game two. Isaiah Thomas was unstoppable for the Celtics, so the Wizards will need to come up with a game plan to limit his impact. Thomas is undersized, so their plan should include being physical with him. The Wizards have one of the best starting units in the NBA, but they’re a very top-heavy team. They’ll need to get more contributions from their bench if they want to pull off this upset. Markieff Morris sprained his ankle in the first game, and may not be able to play in game two. If he does play, it’s safe to assume that his mobility will be limited. This isn’t a must-win game for either team, but this game will determine which team has the home-court advantage in this series.
Utah Jazz at Golden State Warriors: The Jazz and Warriors begin their second round playoff series in Oakland. After sweeping the Portland Trail Blazers in the first round, the Warriors had time to rest heading into this series. Coach Steve Kerr is still sidelined indefinitely because of complications from his back surgery, but Mike Brown has done a stellar job in his absence. Superstar Kevin Durant was injured in their first round series, but he should be fully recovered by now. The Jazz needed seven games to eliminate the Clippers in their first round series. They have dealt with injuries all season, and unfortunately those injury problems have continued in the playoffs. Rudy Gobert missed multiple games with a knee injury, and still seems a bit limited in his movements. Derrick Favors stepped up admirably in his absence, but he’s dealing with nagging injuries too. Even if the Jazz are at full strength, they’ll be heavy underdogs in this series.