The National Basketball Association is getting down to serious business as the playoffs are around the corner. Here’s my look at four games on tap tonight.
Brooklyn(+2.5) at New York – It’s amazing to think that the New York Knicks are just one game out of the playoffs right now but that’s exactly where they find themselves. A 7-3 stretch over their last ten games combined with poor play by the Atlanta Hawks has allowed the Knicks back in the race.
While Brooklyn hasn’t officially clinched a playoff spot just yet, they are basically going to be in as they are currently in the fifth spot. Like the Knicks, the Nets have won seven of their last ten games.
So far this season the two have traded wins on the other’s home floor. I really like the Nets getting the points on the road.
Detroit (+10) at Indiana – To say that the Indiana Pacers are in a bit of a slump is an understatement. They’ve lost three straight and six of their last ten games to fall into second place in the Eastern Conference standings behind the Miami Heat.
Conventional wisdom says that if the Pacers have any chance to get to the NBA Finals then they’ll have to get home advantage for a potential match-up with Miami. That shouldn’t be further from the Pacers’ minds right now as they struggle. They scored fewer total points than any other team in the NBA in the month of March and that has to change.
As for the Pistons, it looked briefly like they were going to make a run at the final playoff spot but that ship sailed and then sank when they lost to Philadelphia who had lost 26 straight games.
I expect the Pacers to get a bit healthy with a win over the Pistons tonight and I like them to cover.
Chicago (-2) at Atlanta – The Bulls are already in the playoffs while the Hawks are hanging on for dear life. Winners of just four of their last ten games, Atlanta leads the Knicks by just a game for the eighth and final playoff position.
The Bulls have picked things up considerably in recent weeks going 7-3 in their last ten games. They are currently in the fourth spot but are tied with Toronto at 9.5 games behind Miami. The Bulls would love nothing more than to jump into the third spot and avoid playing the Nets in a four-five series.
The third spot would more than likely put them up against Washington or Charlotte which would be a better match-up for them either way. Chicago has been a very good road team this year going 18-18 while the Hawks are 21-14 at home.
I like the direction of the Bulls right now so give the points.
LA Clippers (+2) at Phoenix – The Clippers have moved into the third spot in the Western Conference and just may be able to catch the Oklahoma City Thunder who they trail by two games for the second position. The LAC will face a monster challenge however in Phoenix tonight as the Suns are fighting for their playoff lives.
Both the Suns and Clippers have won eight of their last ten games although the Clips have won three-straight while the Suns recently dropped a game.
Phoenix is currently tied with both Dallas and Memphis who are the seventh and eighth seeds respectively right now. All three teams are 14 games behind the top-seeded Spurs but the Suns are the odd team out because of tie-breakers.
Therefore tonight is a huge game for both teams. The Clippers are 22-17 on the road while Phoenix 25-13 at home. The LAC currently lead the season series 2-1 with one win coming at home and the other on the road.
As desperate as the Suns are, I like the Clips on the road especially getting the points.