The National Basketball Association may be winding down the regular season but tonight’s schedule is light. Although there are just two games on the schedule this evening, both have playoff implications. At this current point, there are still teams fighting for a spot in the playoffs and there are teams already in yet battling for seeding.
Tonight’s games feature exactly that scenario.
San Antonio (+2) at Dallas – The Spurs have been in the playoffs since sometime in 1996. OK, maybe not that long but you get the picture.With five games to go, they hold a 3.5 game lead over second seeded Oklahoma City. What that means is that the Spurs will be the number one seed. They are already resting Tony Parker and I think you’ll see similar activity with Tim Duncan and several others.
The Mavericks have a game lead over Phoenix right now with three games to play. Memphis is currently on the outside looking in but gets shots at both teams in the next week. Normally catching the rival Spurs right now would not be such a good break but considering they are resting starters, the timing couldn’t have worked out better.
If you had to look twice at the line for this game then you can point to both the situation and the fact Gregg Popovich is resting his studs. Oddsmakers are expecting great effort from the Mavericks and much less than that from San Antonio.
One thing we must consider here is who would the Spurs rather see in the first round? Of the Mavs, Suns and Grizzlies, I’m guessing Memphis would be the least desirable team for the Spurs. Those things in mind, take Dallas this evening even giving the points.
Denver (+12) at Golden State – The Nuggets come to Northern California having lost their last two and seven of their last ten. It’s been a less than stellar year for Denver who will need serious work in the offseason to get back into the swing of things in the Western Conference.
The Warriors are headed to the playoffs and trail Portland by one and a half games for the fifth seed. Trailing them in the standings are the aforementioned Mavericks who are just a game back. Basically, the Warriors are looking at being the road team in any potential first round match-up. Should the Warriors stay in the sixth spot, they’ll likely face the LA Clippers.
If they slip into the seventh spot then that means a meeting with the Oklahoma City Thunder in the first round and that has to be something they’d like to avoid. So far this season, the Warriors and Nuggets have split their two meetings with each winning on the other’s home court.
Despite some turmoil in Golden State that has seen Mark Jackson under fire and an assistant coach fired, the Warriors will still be a difficult out for anyone in the first round and they’ll be a difficult challenge for the Nuggets this evening.
With all things considered, I like Golden State to win but I can’t get past the 12 points they are giving. Take Denver and the points.