The second round of the playoffs is here!
Well, sort of.
On Sunday night, the Toronto Raptors and Boston Celtics will open the second round of the playoffs with Game 1 of their series. Following them, the LA Clippers will be looking to stamp their ticket to the second round with a win over the Dallas Mavericks, as will the Utah Jazz with a win over the Denver Nuggets.
Here's everything you need to know about those games.
All win probabilities are per FiveThirtyEight's NBA Predictions model. All times in IST.
Toronto Raptors vs. Boston Celtics (Game 1) - 10:30 p.m. IST
Win probability: Celtics - 53%
The big question for Game 1 is Kyle Lowry's availability.
Lowry, who suffered a left ankle sprain in Toronto's Game 4 win over the Brooklyn Nets in the first round, was originally listed as questionable for Game 1 against the Celtics but has since been upgraded to probable.
Lowry was Toronto's second-leading scorer during the regular season with 19.4 points per game. He also led the Raptors with 7.5 assists per game.
The Celtics are dealing with some injuries themselves: Gordon Hayward is out for Game 1 and isn't expected to play in the series because of a sprained right ankle that he suffered in the first round.
Hayward played a big role in Boston's success this season on both ends of the court, giving them another versatile defender, as well as another playmaker and shooter alongside Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum.
Even without Hayward and possibly Lowry, this should be a highly competitive Game 1 between two of the league's better teams this season.
LA Clippers vs. Dallas Mavericks (Game 6) - 1 a.m. IST
Win probability: Clippers - 76%
The Mavericks face an uphill battle in extending their series with the Clippers now that Kristaps Porzingis has been ruled out with a lateral meniscus tear in his right knee.
Furthermore, Luka Doncic is listed as questionable as of Saturday afternoon with a left ankle sprain.
Doncic has been spectacular in his first postseason, posting 29.6 points, 10.0 rebounds and 8.6 assists through five games. Without Porzingis, the Mavericks will need Doncic to play and be at his best to have any chance of forcing a Game 7.
For the Clippers, all eyes will be on Paul George, who broke out of a shooting slump in Game 5 by scoring 35 points in only 24 minutes of play.
Paul George is the first player to score 35+ points in 25 minutes or fewer in NBA playoff history since 1975. pic.twitter.com/5fk6RmQE7i- StatMuse (@statmuse) August 26, 2020
The Clippers can only hope that's a sign of what's to come as the franchise's pursuit of its first-ever title continues.
Denver Nuggets vs. Utah Jazz (Game 6) - 6 a.m. IST
Win probability: Nuggets - 54%
The Nuggets appeared to be in trouble when they went down 3-1, but Jamal Murray kept their season alive with a historic performance in Game 5 that saw him score 42 points, 33 of which came in the second half to spark a comeback.
Can Murray do it again?
Jamal Murray is on another level 🤯- NBA Fantasy (@NBAFantasy) August 26, 2020
42 PTS (33 in 2nd half)
68.1 FPTS pic.twitter.com/jpKh1k50cM
Hoping to slow him down will be Donovan Mitchell, who is having quite the series himself. Through five games, he is leading the Jazz with 37.6 points, 5.6 assists and 4.0 rebounds per game.
Mitchell already has two 50-point games in this series, the most recent of which came in a Game 4 that saw Murray also go for 50 points.
Spida and Murray went at it 🔥- SportsCenter (@SportsCenter) August 24, 2020
Murray: 50 Pts / 11 Reb / 9 3-Pt FG
Mitchell: 51 Pts / 7 Ast / 17 FT pic.twitter.com/EQGYYzSKr9
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