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NBA Playoff Primer: May 2, 2013

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We criticized Brooklyn's offensive rebounding, and Brook Lopez and Co. stepped up. Can they do it twice in a row?

They just won't quit. Four different teams - the Nuggets, Nets, Rockets, and Celtics - could have all been eliminated in Game 5. All moved onto a Game 6. And we're left with six of the eight series coming down to crunch time in the first round of the NBA playoffs.

Before tomorrow night's main course of four different Game 6's, tonight's two-game appetizer should be more than enough to whet your appetite. The Nuggets might have finally figured out how to stop the Warriors' shooting, and the Nets got back on track after a tough couple of games in Chicago.

Will either the Warriors or Bulls close it out tonight? Our odds think it might happen for the Bulls more than the Warriors, although both teams playing at home playing at home doesn't hurt either (typically a three to five percent win odds bump).

For specific game predictions, including betting lines and comparable games, check out our numberFire Premium Section. But for the stats we're watching for and the series odds moving forward, read on below.

Game 6: Brooklyn Nets at Chicago Bulls

Most Likely Result: Chicago Bulls in 6

4 Games5 Games6 Games7 GamesTotal Win Odds
Brooklyn0.00%0.00%0.00%23.00%23.00%
Chicago0.00%0.00%60.20%16.80%77.00%

Stat to Know: Nets Offensive Rebounding Percentage

Let's review what I said prior to Game 5, shall we?

"For Brooklyn, that simply won't get it done. Because of Chicago's competitive advantages at effective field goal percentage and turnovers, Brooklyn needs to take advantage of their rebounding ability as much as they can. In the first four games of the series, they simply haven't made it a priority, instead hoping for an outlier shooting performance (such as Game 1) to get the win."

Well, umm, I think a 43.6 percent offensive rebound rate got the job done nicely. Five different Brooklyn Nets grabbed over 10 percent of available offensive rebounds. Two grabbed over 20 percent - Kris Humphries at 23.1 percent and Brook Lopez at 20.6 percent. That's how you take advantage of team strengths.

With so many offensive rebounds, it barely mattered that the Bulls were close in both effective field goal percentage (Brooklyn higher by only .016) and turnover percentage (Brooklyn lower by 2.1 percent). Their extra chances allowed Brooklyn to run away with this one with ease. Now, can they pull the same trick twice in a row?

Game 6: Denver Nuggets at Golden State Warriors

Most Likely Result: Golden State Warriors in 6

4 Games5 Games6 Games7 GamesTotal Win Odds
Denver0.00%0.00%0.00%37.02%37.02%
Golden State0.00%0.00%47.97%15.01%62.98%

Stat to Know: Denver Turnover Percentage

Keeping turnovers in check wasn't Denver's best quality during the regular season, but they were at least decent handling the rock. With a 13.6 percent turnover rate, the Nuggets finished No. 11 in the NBA. And given Golden State's own inability to force turnovers, with their 12.4 percent defensive turnover rate, sitting third-to-last in the NBA, Nuggets ballhandlers thought they would have it easy.

That has held true... most of the time. In Denver's two wins, they turned the ball over on 10.2 percent and 10.6 percent of their overall possessions, respectively. In both games, Wilson Chandler finished with a turnover rate under seven percent and Ty Lawson was at least two percent under his 14.1 percent season rate.

In Denver's three losses, however, the turnovers have... not really reared their ugly heads, but at least erased what was supposed to be a significant Denver advantage. The Nuggets did win the turnover battle in two of those three losses, but they also turned it over at least 13.5 percent of the time in each game. In Game 4, Lawson held an 18.4 percent turnover rate and Chandler a 14.3 percent rate en route to a team 20.8 percent rate that was easily their highest of the series.

As Golden State has not shot under .500 effective field goal percentage since the Paleozoic Era (read: Game 1), Denver needs to grab an advantage where it can. And as evidenced by the 4.5 percent advantage in Game 1 and the 5.0 percent advantage in Game 5, the easiest place to do that is the turnover marker.

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In This Article

Wilson Chandler
GF, Denver Nuggets

Ty Lawson
PG, Denver Nuggets

Brook Lopez
C, Brooklyn Nets

Kris Humphries
FC, Boston Celtics

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