There are just three games on the National Basketball Association schedule tonight but the headliner should be a classic as Miami invades San Antonio. Northwest Division leader Oklahoma City is in Phoenix and the battle of Los Angeles takes center-stage in Staples Center.
Miami (+3) at San Antonio – LeBron James scored a career-high 61 points and then followed that up with 22 points in a loss to the Houston Rockets. As easy as the 61 came to James though the 22 came just as hard. Now LeBron and the Heat head to San Antonio for an NBA Finals rematch with the Spurs. Both Miami and San Antonio have won eight of their last ten games and each has something in common heading into tonight’s showdown.
Both teams sit in the second spot of their respective conferences and are closing in on the top teams. The Spurs trail OKC by a game and a half while the Heat are behind the Indiana Pacers by two games. I can see both teams catching their prey prior to the playoffs starting but I like Miami’s chances a little more than I do San Antonio’s.
I fully expect a bounce-back performance from LeBron James tonight despite a strong effort by the Spurs. Take Miami and the points tonight.
Oklahoma City (-5) at Phoenix – The Thunder are fresh off a blowout win over the lowly Philadelphia 76ers. The game featured 42 points from Kevin Durant and a triple-double from Russell Westbrook. His triple-double by the way took all of 20 minutes.
The Suns find themselves in an absolute dogfight for playoff positioning in the Western Conference. Currently in eighth, they are a half game up on Memphis, a half game behind Dallas and one and a half games behind Golden State.
Bottom line? The Suns have to win far more than lose down the stretch with 22 games remaining.
Since dropping three-straight after the All-Star Break, Oklahoma City has won three in a row and has won six of their last ten games. They hold a game and a half lead over San Antonio for the top spot in the West and bring to Phoenix a 20-9 road record.
The Suns have a solid 21-12 home record but have gone just 5-5 in their last ten games. I think OKC is heating up at the right time and I expect them to cover in Arizona tonight.
LA Clippers (-10.5) at LA Lakers – OK, raise your hand if you remember the last time the Clippers were favored by double-digits over the Lakers? Not surprised to see hands missing from the air…. Believe it or not, the new darlings of La-La Land are favored by 10.5 points tonight as the “visitors” in this series.
What this means is that yes , the Lakers have fallen this far and yes, the Clippers have risen this far. It’s a tough time for Lakers’ fans who aren’t used to seasons such as this especially ones in which Kobe Bryant has seen so little action due to injury.
The Clippers are in a logjam in the Western Conference right now. They are tied with Houston and Portland at 4.5 games behind conference leading Oklahoma City. With Golden State 4.5 games behind them, it’s likely these three will battle for positions three, four and five down to the very final week.
The LAC have won five straight and eight of their last ten while the Lakers who are dead last in the West, have won just three times in their last ten. I expect a decent effort from the Lakers tonight but I have to go with the surging Clippers to cover.