There is just over a week to go in the 2018-19 NBA regular season and the battle for playoffs seeding is heating up! There's a great nine game slate this Tuesday, the 2nd of April and we take a look at some of the key games below.
The Boston Celtics captured a good win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday to jump into fourth place in the Eastern Conference standings but couldn't back it up as they went down by 14 points to the Nets in Brooklyn on Sunday. Fortunately for Boston, the Pacers also lost their game on Sunday, meaning the Celtics retain their fourth place seeding.
The Heat currently sit in eighth place in the Eastern Conference, just 0.5 games above the Orlando Magic and will need to be good over a tough run home which features back to back games against the Celtics as well as games agains the Raptors, 76ers and Nets to round out the season.
The Celtics start as __ point favourites here which we think is about right given they are back at home. They have a 27-12 record at the TD Garden this season but are just 20-19 at home, against the spread. The Heat, on the contrary, are the best road team in the NBA against the spread at 25-12. We think they cover here.
The Blazers have won eight of their last 10 games but suffered a serious blow last week as their starting centre, Jusuf Nurkic, went down with a broken leg. They maintain the fourth seed in the Western Conference by two games over the Utah Jazz and currently sit just 0.5 games behind the Houston Rockets. The Trail Blazers went down by nine points to the Pistons in Detroit on Sunday and will be on the road once again in Minnesota on Tuesday.
The Wolves captured a fantastic overtime win against the Warriors at home on Saturday as Andrew Wiggins was impressive with 24 points and 9 rebounds. They have won just three of their last 10 games and currently sit 11th in the Western Conference with a 34-42 record.
The Wolves start as 3.5 point underdogs at home, which we think is good value given the Blazers have to adjust to playing a completely different style without Nurkic. The Wolves have no real reason to tank as they sit three games in front of their nearest rivals in the West and have been fairly competitive at home throughout the regular season with a 24-13 record.
The Hornets were trounced by the Warriors on Monday and will continue their Western Conference road trip with an away game against the Jazz on the second night of a back to back on Tuesday. They currently sit in 10th place in the Eastern Conference with a 35-40 record and will need something mireaculous to happen over their last six games to jump into playoffs contention.
The Jazz have one of the easier runs home in the Western Conference and they'll be looking to take advantage of that to ensure they remain in fifth place. Wins against Charlotte, Phoenis, Sacramento and the LA Lakers to round out the season should be enough to ensure they avoid the Warriors/Rockets/Nuggets in the first round.
Cant's see the Hornets staying competitive here with so little to play for and on the second night of a road back to back. We think the Jazz win this one comfortably.
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