With fewer than 20 games remaining in the 70-game NBA schedule, numerous bubble teams are in must-win situations this weekend, including the New York Knicks, Chicago Bulls, Memphis Grizzlies, Indiana Pacers, Toronto Raptors, San Antonio Spurs, New Orleans Pelicans, and Golden State Warriors. Plus, the Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks meet on Sunday, and the two teams are in a tight fight to win the Southeast Division.
The Brooklyn Nets recently lost James Harden to a hamstring injury, but at least they have Kevin Durant back in the lineup. The Nets and Philadelphia 76ers are fighting for the #1 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Meanwhile, a cluster of five break-even teams in the East continue to jockey for the #4 and #5 seeds, while the other teams seek to avoid the dreaded bubble.
- Memphis Grizzlies at New York Knicks
- Chicago Bulls at Atlanta Hawks
- Philadelphia 76ers at New Orleans Pelicans
- San Antonio Spurs at Denver Nuggets
- LA Lakers at Brooklyn Nets
- Sacramento Kings at Utah Jazz
- Atlanta Hawks at Charlotte Hornets
- San Antonio Spurs at Dallas Mavericks
- Indiana Pacers at Memphis Grizzlies
- Miami Heat at Portland Trail Blazers
Out in the Western Conference, the Denver Nuggets have won seven games in a row and are fighting the LA Clippers and LA Lakers for the #3 playoff seed. The Memphis Grizzlies took advantage of a losing streak by the San Antonio Spurs to move into the #8 seed, but the Spurs and Warriors are lingering right behind them.
Friday: Gotham Ja
Memphis Grizzlies (26-23) at New York Knicks (25-27)… Ja Morant (18.8 ppg, 7.4 assists) visits the Big Apple with a chance to light up MSG. The Knicks hit a speed bump with a 1-5 clip over their last six games. Julius Randle is the reason why the Knicks crawled out of the Eastern Conference basement. Randle has the inside track to NBA MIP. The Knicks are 30-21-1 ATS for fourth-best in the NBA, but the Grizzlies are 31-18 ATS for second best.
Chicago Bulls (22-28) at Atlanta Hawks (27-25)… Nikola Vucevic looks good since joining the Bulls via a trade with the Orlando Magic. Along with Zach LaVine (27.2 ppg), Vucevic and the Bulls are trying to make a run at a playoff spot. The Hawks don’t have John Collins (sprained ankle), but still have the mighty Trae Young (25.1 ppg, 9.5 assists).
Philadelphia 76ers (35-16) at New Orleans Pelicans (22-29)… Joel Embiid vs Zion Williamson. The Pelicans are five games out of the #8 seed, but they could sneak in the back door with a play-in game spot if they can pick up ground this weekend. The Pelicans have the best over record in the NBA at 34-17.
San Antonio Spurs (24-25) at Denver Nuggets (33-18)… The Spurs are in trouble after losing four in a row. They need to stop their skid ASAP, otherwise, they’ll bubble the playoffs. The Nugs keep winning ever since they added Aaron Gordon in a trade. They’re 7-0 and counting. Plus, Michael Porter Jr. is smoking hot from downtown, hitting more than 50% of his treys over the last month. The Nugs are a popular team on which to bet the over at 30-21, ranking #5 in the NBA.
Saturday: Drummond Goes to Brooklyn
LA Lakers (32-19) at Brooklyn Nets (36-16)… This would be the OG Game of the Week if the Lakers’ stars weren’t sidelined with injuries and Harden wasn’t out with a sore hammy. After a sore toe sidelined him for a few games, Andre Drummond gets a chance to put his skills on display at Barclay’s Center in downtown Brooklyn. Kevin Durant returned this week after missing 23 games, and he’s trying to shake off the rust in time for a playoff push. The Lakers have the best under record in the league at 17-34. The Nets are the third-best team in the NBA, hitting the over at 31-21.
Sacramento Kings (22-30) at Utah Jazz (38-13)… The Kings looked like they were about to make a run for a hot second before a reality check knocked on their front door with an April skid. De’Aaron Fox has been playing at an MVP level (29.3 ppg in March). The Utah Jazz hit a rough patch at the start of April with a couple of tough losses against Phoenix and Dallas. Donovan “Spida” Mitchell exploded for 41 points in an OT loss to the Suns. The Jazz are ranked #3 in the NBA with a 31-20 ATS record.
Sunday: Southeast Showdown in Buzz City
Atlanta Hawks (27-25) at Charlotte Hornets (26-24)… Huge Southeast Division showdown. The Hawks have a chance to make up ground on the division leader by taking advantage of the banged-up Hornets. The Hornets held it together when they lost Rookie of the Year candidate LaMelo Ball, but they’ll be hard-pressed to stay above water after losing Gordon Hayward for a month with a sprained foot.
San Antonio Spurs (24-25) at Dallas Mavericks (29-22)… In this battle of two Texas teams, the Spurs are on a downswing while the Mavs are on the upswing. The Mavs are ranked #3 in the NBA, beating the under at 30-20. Luka Doncic has been a one-man band in Dallas and is responsible for the majority of the offense. Doncic is ranked #5 in the NBA in scoring (28.5 ppg) and assists (8.7 ppg). He also averages 8.2 rebounds per game and is ranked #8 in PER at 30.26.
Indiana Pacers (23-27) at Memphis Grizzlies (26-23)… The Pacers are on the bubble and might have to go to battle against the Griz without their MVP. Domantas Sabonis has been nursing a sprained ankle all week. He’d like to play, but will be a game-time decision. The Pacers have the fourth-best over record in the league at 29-20-1.
Miami Heat (26-25) at Portland Trail Blazers (30-20)… Jimmy Buckets vs Dame. That matchup is must-see TV. Dame averages 29.2 ppg — third-best in the NBA. However, he’s been held to 19.7 ppg in April and the Blazers lost three out of four of those games. CJ McCollum averaged nearly 21 ppg since his return from a foot injury.