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Playoffs 2019

NBA Playoffs 2019: Four key things to watch in Nets-76ers, Nuggets-Spurs, Bucks-Pistons and Rockets-Jazz

#Mitchell #Jokic #Russell
(NBA Getty Images)

On Saturday, Day 8 of the postseason, we will have two Game 4s as the Brooklyn Nets try to square their series against the Philadelphia 76ers, while the Denver Nuggets try to do the same against the San Antonio Spurs.

Following the early games, the Game 3s tip-off with the Detroit Pistons hosting the Milwaukee Bucks and the Utah Jazz hosting the Houston Rockets, with both home teams staring down 0-2 deficits.

Here are four key things to watch ahead of the day's games!

Can the 76ers keep up their three-point defence?

While Ben Simmons' powerhouse performance stole the headlines in Game 3 (and rightfully so), the 76ers' three-point defence is worth noting heading into Game 4.

In Game 3, Philly held the Nets to just 8-of-39 from three (20.5%), limiting the impact of Joe Harris (0-of-4), Spencer Dinwiddie (1-of-3), D'Angelo Russell (2-of-9) and Rodionis Kurucs (0-of-3).

It helped that JJ Redick and Tobias Harris combined to go 11-of-15 from deep, but if the 76ers are going to take a commanding 3-1 lead, they will need to make sure the Nets don't get in a rhythm from deep on their home floor.

Will Donovan Mitchell bounce back in Utah?

If the Utah Jazz are going to get back into this series, they need a lot more from second-year star Donovan Mitchell.

The 22-year-old is averaging 15 points per game on 32.4% shooting through the opening two games of the series and has more turnovers (nine) than assists (six) so far and has attempted just five free throws.

While the Jazz as a team must lift their aggressiveness on their home floor, they also just need to hit shots. They were top 10 in three-pointers made during the regular season, but have started the first round shooting just 15-of-65 (23%) from deep.

Can the Nuggets keep the Spurs off the glass?

Through three games, the Spurs have done a great job outrebounding the Nuggets and limiting their effectiveness on the offensive glass.

The Nuggets are averaging just 11.7 second-chance points against the Spurs, down from the 15.5 per game which led the NBA during the regular season.

DeMar DeRozan, LaMarcus Aldridge and Jakob Poetl have led the charge for San Antonio on the glass, which could see Denver coach Mike Malone give Torrey Craig more playing time to help their presence on the boards, especially given Will Barton's offensive struggles. Barton is shooting 9-of-31 for the series.

Can Thon Maker find his rhythm?

The Pistons are up against it in their series with the Milwaukee Bucks, down 2-0 and without their best player Blake Griffin, who will miss the entire first round with a knee injury.

In his place, Thon Maker has been inserted into the starting lineup, but hasn't managed to make much of an impact against his former team, thanks largely to the fact he's been guarding Giannis Antetokounmpo

The 7-footer has scored just 10 points over two games on 4-of-19 shooting and 0-of-9 from the three-point line. Back in front of the Detroit home crowd for their first playoff game at Little Caesars Arena, Maker will be looking to impress after a slow start.

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