Just six days left to play in the NBA regular season and playoff seedings are still on the line for a bunch of teams! Saturday, the 6th of April boasts a monster 13 game slate, headlined by a clash between the Celtics and Pacers that could end up deciding who gets home-court advantage in their 1st round playoffs series. See our preview and tips for the key games of the day below.
The Hawks captured a fantastic win over the 76ers at home in their last game and they'll be looking to continue their stellar back half of the season on Saturday when they travel to Orlando to take on the Magic. The Hawks have been out of the playoff race for some time, but you wouldn't think that if you had been watching them over the past few weeks. Rookie Trae Young continues to make his case for Rookie of the Year honours while big man John Collins is one of the breakout players of the year.
The Magic currently sit just inside the top eight in the Eastern Conference, holding onto their position by tiebreakers alone over the Miami Heat. With just three games to play, the Magic will likely need to win at least two to ensure a spot in the playoffs, which could be a tough ask with games against an in form Hawks team followed by the Celtics away from home.
The Magic start as strong home favourites here, which seems right given they have won eight of their last 10 games. However, the Hawks have been arguably one of the in form teams in the competition at the moment, even if their record doesnt suggest it. They have lost just two games by double digits since the All-Star break, a span that stretches 21 total games. We think they cover a high line here.
What a massive game for both the Boston Celtics and the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. The two teams currently sit in fourth and fifth place respectively in the Eastern Conference, deadlocked with the same record and seperated only by tiebreakers. The Celtics have won all three of their matchups against the PAcers this season, so even if they lose this one and the two teams finish the season with the same record, Boston will hold the advantage.
It's likely, however, that the winner of this match will win the fourth seed and the home court advantage in the first round that comes with it. The Celtics seem to have come good at the right time of the season, winning their last two games in a row in back to back performances against the Heat. They also captured a great two point win at home over the Pacers just last week as Kyrie Irving exploded for 30 points.
Extremely tough game to call here, but down the stretch we think the Celtics have more to give. Their star power is on a different level to that of the Pacers and we have seen at times throughout the year they have shown the ability to flick the switch when needed, none more prevelant than the win over the Pacers last week and the back to back wins over the Heat. Celtics should hold firm here.
The Blazers have fought gallantly through the heartbreak of losing their star centre Jusuf Nurkic with a broken leg to win their last two games in a row and eight of their last 10. With four games left to play, they currently sit fourth in the Western Conference and maintain a two game advantage over the Utah Jazz. They'll be eyeing off the third seed, however, as they currently trail the Rockets by just 0.5 games.
The Nuggets also have four games left to play in the regular season and with 1.5 games up to the Warriors and down to the Rockets, it's likely that they'll finish in the 2nd seed this season. They have somewhat stumbled towards the finish line, winning just six of their last 10 games and suffering some uncharateristic losses over the last few weeks.
Given the form the Nuggets have been in lately, we think the 6.5 point line in their favour is a touch high. The Blazers have barely missed a beat since losing Nurkic and have only lost one of their last 13 games by 7+ points.
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