I’ve got my eye on four games for this Monday evening and each one has playoff implications regardless of how far out you think the Knicks are. Let’s get to the games for tonight.
Denver (+6) at Charlotte – The Nuggets come to North Carolina after playing last night in New Orleans while the Bobcats had the night off. This time of year, that clearly favors the home team. Charlotte is still hanging on in the Eastern Conference where they are currently in the seventh spot while Denver has been a victim of the tougher Western Conference.
The Nuggets have won two straight but have won just three of their last ten games. They are a full nine games out of the final playoff spot in the West and I see little chance of them making a play for the postseason. While the Bobcats are just three games over.500 at home, that’s far better than Denver is on the road which is typical but this is enough to make me think the Bobcats will cover.
Washington at Miami – We know this much for sure about the Miami Heat in regards to the Eastern Conference playoffs; they either going to be the one seed or two see behind Indiana because of the significant lead each has over the current third seed Toronto. After ripping off seven straight wins, the Heat has lost three in a row but so have the Pacers. Indiana in fact had a players’ only meeting following their most recent loss but regardless, one of these two teams will be the one and the other the two-seed.
Washington is in a position where they could easily be the three seed or fall as far as the sixth. You almost get the feeling the Wizards realize how important grabbing a high seed is as they’ve won two in a row and eight of their last ten. Going into Miami is a different story however.
I expect a Heat victory to get back on track this evening and I see them covering as well.
Phoenix (+10) at LA Clippers – The Suns are in that difficult position where they are the seventh seed right now in the Western Conference. That’s the good news because they are tied with eighth seed Dallas at just a half game ahead of Memphis who sitting in ninth. Phoenix has gone 6-4 over their last 10 games but now they head into Staples Center where the Clippers are playing very well.
Winners of seven-straight and eight of their last ten, the Clippers are starting to put themselves in the conversation of just who the best team in the West really is. There are arguments to be made for San Antonio, Oklahoma City, Houston and even Portland but the Clippers wouldn’t have to back down from any of those teams. Doc Rivers has clearly found a way to take these guys to a level just a little higher than what Vinny del Negro could and sometimes a little change is all a team needs.
Despite the Suns needing to win each and every game here on out, I like them to keep it close enough to take them getting ten but I like the Clippers to win the game.
Philadelphia (+15.5) at New York – As rumors surround the Knicks’ organization about whether Phil Jackson will take the reins or not, the Knicks continue to be a mess on the court but have suddenly won three-straight games. As poorly as this season has gone, New York finds itself just three and a half games out of the final playoff spot currently held by faltering Atlanta.
What can really be said about Philadelphia that hasn’t already been said? They are in the midst of a 16-game losing streak and are now “threatening” Milwaukee for the worst spot in all of the NBA. The Knicks might be seven games below .500 at home in the Garden but Philly is just 7-23 on the road. Take the New Yorkers to keep the losing streak alive for the Sixers.