OK, so maybe these games aren’t “do or die” but they’re pretty darn close! Each game features a team or teams fighting for either a playoff spot or key playoff positioning. I find it it interesting when people wonder why a team would want to fight so hard to get the final playoff spot n a conference just to get beat by the number one seed.
First of all, you get paid for making the postseason but you also don’t often get a shot to pull off the rare 8-1 upset either. After all, it just takes one opportunity to make history doesn’t it?
Toronto (+4) at Boston – The Raptors and Celtics each have one game remaining after tonight’s game. The stakes are high for both teams but certainly more for the Celtics who are still fighting just to get into the postseason. Boston is currently the seventh seed but has just a game lead over Brooklyn and Indiana. Basically, we’re talking about three teams vying for two spots.
Toronto is currently tied with Chicago for the third seed in the East but owns the tie-breaker. While they could slip down to the fifth spot, the third or fourth is more likely. Both teams have played well of late as the Raptors have won three in a row and the Celtics have been victorious in their last four.
Trends: Toronto has won six of the last ten games against Boston… The Celtics are 6-4 against the spread in their last ten games versus the Raptors… Boston has lost two straight at home against Toronto.
The Pick: I like the Celtics tonight at home.
Washington (+7) at Indiana – The Wizards are pretty much locked in at the five spot in the Eastern Conference but could get to the three with some help. Indiana is the real story here. The Pacers have won five in a row and seven of their last 10. As I mentioned above, the Pacers are battling two other teams for just two spots.
Trends: The Wizards and Pacers have five wins apiece in their last ten games… Washington has won three in a row in this match-up… Indiana has lost their last two games at home to the Wizards.
The Pick: I really want to take the Pacers to cover but I can’t. Give me the Wizards and the points.
LA Clippers at Phoenix – The Clips played Denver late last night and now finish the regular season by visiting Phoenix. Depending upon what they did last night, the second seed might not be out of the question. They currently trail the San Antonio Spurs by one half game and they have just one game remaining.
While the Clippers have won nine of their last ten and five in a row, the Suns have dropped four straight and nine of ten as their playoff chances are now over. Pay special attention to the outcome of the Clippers’ game against Denver because a loss will likely mean that Doc Rivers will empty his bench and rest his starters tonight.
Trends: The Clippers have won eight of the last ten against the Suns… Phoenix has dropped six straight to Los Angeles… LAC is 6-4 against the spread in their last ten games against the Suns.
The Pick: I like the Clippers regardless of what they did against Denver last night.