Playoffs are edging closer and closer, as teams that are competing look to finalize their lineups whereas those that are not are looking to salvage the rest of their season.
First up are the Charlotte Hornets hosting the San Antonio Spurs. Both these teams are in similar positions in their respective conferences, out of the playoff bracket by 4-5 games, creating a crunch time game for both sides. Spurs have been inconsistent in recent time, losing by 20+ points to the Kings, Thunder and Lakers in the last 9 games. You can make a similar argument against Charlotte after their 39 point loss to the Pacers, however, I’m willing to let that slide considering that Indiana was out for redemption after getting decimated by fellow playoff contenders Toronto by 46 points, and hornets just so happened to be caught in the cross hairs in an otherwise competitive stretch, and for that reason am tipping the Hornets in an upset over the Spurs as my best of the day.
Celtics host the Nets as the Celtics welcome back All-Star point guard Kemba Walker who will most likely play limited minutes in his return game. Celtics should comfortably take care of the struggling nets and regain the 2nd seed after playing solid basketball in their last 6 games, beating Utah, Clippers, Blazers and narrowly losing to the Lakers and Rockets. I am tipping Celtics to cover the line.
Pelicans ($1.13) take on the Timberwolves ($5.5) in what proves to be an interesting game for many reasons. The Timberwolves have looked much better since making their acquisitions headlined by D’Angelo Russel. However, Pelicans have won 9 of their last 11 games with both losses coming to the Lakers. I expect Zion and Ingram to continue their run towards an 8th seed playoffs berth.
Thunder ($2.19) host the Clippers ($1.63) in a game that Thunder will be hoping to use as a bounce back after suffering a 47 point loss against the bucks, although their task doesn’t get any easier coming up against the hot Clippers who have scored 130+ in their last two games. If Kawhi and George both play, I expect clippers to win comfortably and pile on the pain to the Thunder.
Speaking of teams that are running hot, Golden State are not one of them, losing 9 of their last 10 games to some questionable teams and face the task of travelling to Denver to face a nuggets team that knocked off Toronto by 15 points in their last game. Expect Jokic and the Nuggets to win comfortably.
Booker and the Suns plays the Raptors in a game that should prove troublesome. Raptors rate as the best defensive team in the league conceding fewer points then any of their counterparts and I simply don’t see the Suns scoring enough to beat the Raptors with their superstar in Booker looking tired and ready for the off-season after shouldering so much of the offensive load throughout the season. I am tipping Raptors to win and cover the line.
Lakers play the Sixers in what should’ve shaped to be the game of the day. With Embiid, Simmons and Richardson all looking to miss the game against the Lakers, it will take a miracle for them to overcome the Lakers, and for that reason I am tipping the Lakers.
Kings ($1.42) host the Wizards ($2.74). Wizards have been okay, beating Warriors and the Nets and have been highly competitive against the Jazz and the Bucks in the last 4 games. However, the Kings seem to be playing solid basketball winning 5 of their last 6 games including the Clippers. Home advantage should be the deciding factor here and look for Kings to take care of Wizards.