NBA Playoff Picks and Predictions for Tuesday May 5

NBA Playoff Picks and Predictions for Tuesday May 5

NBA Playoff Picks and Predictions for Tuesday

Our team of writers and handicappers hand out their NBA picks and predictions for Tuesday, May 5.

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Atlanta Hawks at Cleveland Cavaliers, 8:05PM ET

Coach Mike Woodson spent much of the last two weeks insisting that his Atlanta Hawks had to defend an entire team, not just one player.

Now that the Hawks have advanced to the NBA Eastern Conference semifinals after beating Dwyane Wade and the Miami Heat, Woodson knows the next challenge, facing newly crowned league MVP LeBron James and the top-seeded Cleveland Cavaliers, will be much harder.

``They've got one thing on their mind, just like we do,'' Woodson said Monday. ``They're trying to win a title, and we're trying to do the same thing.''

One day after coasting past Miami for a Game 7 victory that advanced Atlanta to the second round of the playoffs for the first time in 10 years, Woodson gathered his players for a brief pep talk.

Not that it was some kind of news flash, but Woodson wanted to hammer in the Hawks' minds that they must manage their emotions in a venue where Atlanta has lost four straight and eight of 10.

NBA Free Pick: Cleveland | Best Line: -11.5 Sports Interaction

Dallas Mavericks at Denver Nuggets, 10:35PM ET

So, the Dallas Mavericks want to toughen up to hang with the NBA's new ``Bad Boys''?

Dirk Nowitzki knows better.

``I don't think we can play as physical as them. We don't have the personality for it,'' Dallas' center acknowledged Monday, 24 hours after getting knocked around like a pinball in a 109-95 loss to Denver.

The rough-and-tumble Nuggets were quicker, stronger, tougher and much more athletic than the Mavericks in the opener of their second-round series that left Dallas' players grabbing more bags of ice than usual and their coach threatening to rat out the officials to the league.

On Monday, Dallas coach Rick Carlisle backed down, declaring: ``The officials didn't lose the game for us yesterday. We lost the game because we turned the ball over too much and we were too soft in our physical disposition.''

So, the Mavericks have been searching for ways to match Denver's aggression.

NBA Free Pick: Dallas | Best Line: +6.5 Sports Interaction

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