Most teams in the NBA are just reaching the 62-game mark this week meaning only 20 remain. Already it seems that this season’s playoff participants are almost a formality. The top seven in each conference may change order but it’s almost guaranteed that they will be there come May. There are a number of teams still in the hunt for 8th spot in both conferences although Orlando in the East and Memphis in the West look to be in charge of those positions.
There is plenty of basketball to be played between now and April 20th and we have got some big games to look forward to this week.
Toronto Raptors @ Golden State Warriors
When: Thursday 5th March @ 10:30PM
Where: Chase Center
Odds: Toronto Raptors (-8) -108 Golden State Warriors (+8) -108
The Raptors head west in first rematch of last year’s NBA Finals.
Our Pick: Golden State Warriors to win by 1-5 points +555
There’s a lot to take in with this one.
- A first rematch since Toronto clinched their first ever NBA title in June at the old home of the Warriors, the Oracle Arena.
- This game will see the return of Stephen Curry after a 58-game absence.
- The Raptors can confirm their place in this year’s playoffs with a victory on Thursday night.
So, why do we think the Warriors will come away with a narrow win? Golden State’s No.30 would be our go-to answer there. Two-time MVP Curry was tipped by many to challenge for that crown again before injury curtailed his 2019-2020 season. There’s no doubt that his return to the line-up will galvanise the new look Warriors team and they should put in a big performance on their home court.
You should also take into account Andrew Wiggins’ form and Toronto’s injury list. Wiggins registered his only career triple-double against the Raptors earlier this season while still playing with the Minnesota Timberwolves. He’s averaging 20.1 points-per-game since his trade to the Warriors. It will be interesting to see how he performs in tandem with Curry.
Finally, the Raptors have been limping along over the last two weeks. Only nine players suited up in their win over the Suns on Tuesday night with Fred VanVleet, Marc Gasol and Serge Ibaka all out injured recently.
Their recent wins show that they are more than capable of taking a win here but we’re tipping Golden State to win by less than five points. Back the Warriors with VIP.
Memphis Grizzlies @ Dallas Mavericks
When: Friday 6th March 2020 @ 8:30PM
Where: American Airlines Center
7th plays 8th in this Western Conference match-up on Friday night.
Our Pick: Dallas Mavericks
Two potential playoff teams in action here as Dallas host the Memphis Grizzlies on Friday night. The Mavericks can be far more confident of their post-season place with a 38-25 record while the Memphis Grizzlies are in the hotseat with a 31-31 record.
The Mavericks will be looking up rather than down and a home seeding isn’t completely out of the question for Rick Carlisle’s impressive young team. They are only 2.5 games back from the Rockets in 4th. No matter what position they finish they will be a good challenge for any team in the playoffs. Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis are finding their groove as a ‘big two’ while players like Maxi Kleber and Tim Hardway have proven to be great resources on both ends of the court.
The Grizzlies have won three in a row with rookie Ja Morant being their standout player in all three wins. Tyus Jones and Josh Jackson have been very efficient coming off the bench too. That duo has provided valuable points in each of their last three wins, including the victory over Western Conference leaders Lakers.
However, we fancy the Mavericks to take this one on home court. Back Dallas to win with VIP.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Boston Celtics
When: Sunday 8th March 2020 @ 5PM
Where: TD Garden
Two of this season’s standout teams go head-to-head in Boston on Sunday evening.
Our Pick: Boston Celtics
The Oklahoma City Thunder finish their short three-game roadtrip with visit to TD Garden to face the Boston Celtics. The Thunder have already accounted for the Pistons on Wednesday night thanks to a late three-pointer from Danilo Gallinari. They head to face the Knicks in MSG on Sunday night.
There’s no doubt that Sunday’s game will be one of their toughest assignments of the season. The Celtics are a force to be reckoned with at TD Garden. They have won of the deadliest finishers in the game on their roster in Jayson Tatum and they’re not too bad on the defensive end either with Gordon Hayward, Marcus Smart and Jaylen Brown all operating at an elite level.
Tatum is averaging 33.25 points per game over his last eight regular season appearances. OKC may not have a player who can match up with him on defense. Back Tatum, and the Celtics, to win big on Sunday night.
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