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Who Will Gain The Game 3 Upper Hand

There are two Game 3s tonight that will settle split series. First the Indiana Pacers and the Washington Wizards will battle. Later in the evening (around bedtime for most) the Oklahoma City Thunder will face off against the Los Angeles Clippers.

While neither of these series will end either team’s playoff life, it will give one team an advantage over the other going into Game 4, and momentum plays a lot into a playoff series.

Here is a breakdown of tonight’s Game 3 contests.

Pacers @ Wizards

After Marcin Gortat shutdown Roy Hibbert in Game 1, the Pacer’s big man in the middle came out and showed he still had it and if he remains consistent the Wizards are in trouble.

Hibbert was a bit of a laughing stock recently. He logged zero rebounds and zero points in one game. Now the conversation is how to stop Hibbert not how bad he is performing.

On Wednesday, in the Pacers defeat of the Wizards, Hibbert shot 10 for 13 with 28 points and nine rebounds. The game even ended with a Hibbert rebound, symbolizing how intricate he is to the Pacers success.

However, the Wizards have to formula to beat the Pacers: stop Hibbert and win the game. Perhaps the Wizards will get lucky and he will crack under pressure. But more likely than not, Washington is going to have to seriously adjust their game plan to slow the big man’s roll.

The Wizards will have home game advantage, which is enough to make them the favorites to win the game with a –4.5 spread according to the books. These two teams will collide at 8 p.m. ET tonight. You can watch it on ESPN.

Thunder @ Clippers

The Clippers cannot shake the Donald Sterling controversy. It is going to follow them for the whole postseason and beyond.

Sterling’s lifetime ban did not include him forcibly selling the team, so every game the Clippers play is putting money into his pockets, a though not lost on Jamal Crawford as he accepted his NBA Sixth Man of the year award.

He acknowledged how Doc Rivers held the team together and they were playing for each other and not for anyone else.

Whether or not the emotional speech will get credit for a Clippers Game 3 victory, similar to how Kevin Durant’s MVP speech is getting credit for lifting the Thunder over the Clips’ in Game 2, remains to be seen.

After an over-ten-point defeat in Game 2, the Clipper desperately need some momentum from somewhere.

The Thunder have been outplaying the Clippers. Even in a Game 1 loss, Oklahoma City managed to out rebound LA.

The Clippers will be playing at home, which could help their chances. The sportsbooks have LA as the favorites with a –4 point spread. The game starts at 10:30 p.m. ET on ESPN.

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