The 2015-16 NBA regular season is nearing the end as there is only two weeks until the playoffs begin. Each match increases in importance and there is a big one televised on ESPN for Australian viewers with the playoff bound Los Angeles Clippers looking to maintain a top 4 spot as they take on the Minnesota Timberwolves. Continue reading for our NBA March 31st Preview and Betting Tips.
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Los Angeles Clippers at Minnesota Timberwolves (Thursday 11am AEDT)
The Clippers slumped to four straight losses last week but have been able to turn things around and are currently on a three game winning streak. It took a J.J Redick buzzer beater to defeat the Trail Blazers but in their next two matches they blew out the Nuggets and Celtics in two impressive performances. They have had a two-day break and will be refreshed when they take on the Timberwolves. They will still be without Blake Griffin but reports are saying he is close to returning which will be interesting to see how they go with the super star back in the line up after being sidelined for the majority of the season.
The Timberwolves season has been all about development but they were able to win the last game when these two sides met. It was under controversial circumstances after Chris Paul was given a technical foul in the final seconds but the side still managed to hold its own throughout the contest. Andrew Wiggins will need to take advantage of his match up at small forward but it will be a tougher ask this time around after the Clippers were able to acquire Jeff Green before the trade deadline and he is starting to find his feet in the team. The Clippers will be far too strong despite being on the road in this one as they pick up a comfortable victory.
Atlanta Hawks at Toronto Raptors (Thursday 10.30am AEDT)
This will be an incredibly interesting match up with the Hawks within striking range in the Eastern Conference of the Raptors whilst they are still looking over their shoulder at the Heat creeping up behind them. The Hawks have the second best record in the league behind the Warriors over the last 15 games as they have gone 13-2 and 9-1 over their past 10.
Meanwhile the Raptors have hit a bit of a form slump after excelling throughout February. Demar Derozan and Kyle Lowry has cooled off whilst still being strong but they were blown out in their last match at home against the Thunder. They will have spent the last day to regroup and correct a few things defensively before taking on the Hawks in this one.
Despite their latest loss on home court, the Raptors are 28-9 and have a definite home court advantage in this one as the Hawks are just 21-17 on the road. Taking this into account we will be backing the Raptors to earn the victory in a close one.
New York Knicks at Dallas Mavericks (Thursday 11.30am AEDT)
The Mavericks have fallen out of the top eight in the Western Conference and this is match they need to win if they are going to reach the playoffs. They fell to the Sacramento Kings but bounced back to defeat the Denver Nuggets on the road. They will be without Deron Williams who has an abdominal straight but JJ Barea stepped up in his absence as he scored 18 points and earned 11 assists. Everyone on the side will need to continue to play their part as the Knicks have improved over recent weeks despite having a two-game losing streak.
The Knicks defeated the Bulls in back-to-back matches and Kristaps Porzingis has begun to regain the form he showed in the earlier parts of the season. He and the Knicks will be looking to finish he season strongly but with the Mavericks on home soil and everything to play for, they will come out on top in a close one.
Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz (Thursday 12pm AEDT)
The Jazz are currently holding onto the 7th spot in the Eastern Conference and their season has been a massive success despite losing Australian point guard Dante Exum prior to the season beginning after he suffered an ACL injury. In their last match they handed the Lakers their equal biggest loss in the teams history as they defeated them by 48 points and it was on the back of Rodney Hood’s career night where he scored 30 points on 8/9 shotting from beyond the arc in just 29 minutes of basketball. You can’t expect Hood to put up those numbers often and especially not against the defence that the Warriors will put up compared to the Lakers.
The Warriors will be playing the second game of a back-to-back and they will be playing their full squad despite having the one speed practically locked down as they continue to chase the 95-96 Bulls record of 72-10. They need to win six of their last eight games to beat the record and it is certainly within reach. Stephen Curry had a minor form slump when he shot 3-21 over three games from beyond the arc but he seems to have put that behind him as he shot 6-8 from three point land in their win against the Wizards. The Warriors have a chance at history and that should get them the win in this one and clear the line.
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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