With just two days to go in the NBA regular season, a bunch of playoffs seedings are still up for grabs, particularly in the Western Conference. Wednesday offers a massive 11 game slate in the association and we are here to preview the key games of the day and give our betting tips below.
One of the more important matches of the day in context sees the Charlotte Hornets travelling to Cleveland to take on the Cavaliers. The Hornets currently sit one game outside of the Eastern Conference playoffs with two games to play. Luckily for them, they have winnable games against the Cavaliers and Magic to come, however, the team they are pursuing, the Detroit Pistons, also have two very winnable games against the Grizzlies and Knicks.
The Hornets will be praying that the Pistons slip up in one of those two games, albeit unlikely. Charlotte has won their last three games in a row and seven of their last 10 to give themselves a chance at playing playoffs. They were fantastic against the Pistons on Monday, claiming a 13 point win away from home after defeating the Raptors by two points the game before.
It might all be too little, too late for the Hornets, however, they’ll be sure to do all they can to give themselves the best chance. Against a depleted Cavs line-up and with so much on the line, the Hornets should cover here.
The Miami Heat have lost their last four games in a row and most likely lost their chance of playing playoffs along the way. They currently sit one game behind the eighth placed Detroit Pistons but also trail the Hornets by tiebreaker. The Heat have two relatively tough games against the 76ers and Nets and will be no chance of making the top eight in the East if they don’t win both games.
The 76ers are locked into the third seed in the Eastern Conference, sitting 6.5 games behind the Raptors in second and 2.5 games ahead of the Celtics with just two games to play. They’ll likely ice some players over their last two games, namely star centre Joel Embiid, who is battling knee issues at the moment.
Superstar Heat player Dwyane Wade could have just two games left in his NBA career, which should give Miami extra motivation to win their remaining two games and send Wade off with a playoffs campaign. They start as slight favourites here and should win at home against a Philly line-up sans Embiid.
As it currently stands, Wednesday’s matchup between the Rockets and Thunder would be a preview of the first round 3v6 matchup in the Western Conference. With just one game to play, the Rockets can lock up the third seed at worst with a win on Wednesday while a win and two Denver losses to Utah and Minnesota would see the Rockets jump into the second seed.
The Thunder are right in the midst of the battle to avoid the Warriors in the first round of the Western Conference playoffs. They currently sit in sixth place, just 0.5 games ahead of the Spurs and Clippers but could easily fall to eighth if they lose to the Rockets and Bucks in their final two games of the regular season.
The Rockets have been dominant over the last few weeks, winning their last six games in a row and eight of their last 10 to jump up into third place in the Western Conference. We think they make it seven in a row here to secure that third place and the easier first round matchup.
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