It’s crunch time in the NBA with only 10 days remaining in the regular season. The New York Knicks hit to the road to play elite teams in the West, including the Phoenix Suns and LA Clippers this weekend. The New Orleans Pelicans are on the playoff bubble and trying to make up precious ground to snag the #10 seed from the San Antonio Spurs, who lost five games in a row. The Washington Wizards and Indiana Pacers meet again after an insane high-octane shootout last weekend.
We reached the penultimate weekend of the NBA regular season and, thanks to the introduction of the play-in tournament involving the #9 and #10 seeds, there are a slew of relevant games on the slate, especially for bubble teams like the Pelicans, Wizards, and Pacers.
- New Orleans Pelicans at Philadelphia 76ers
- Denver Nuggets at Utah Jazz
- New York Knicks at Phoenix Suns
- LA Lakers at Portland Trail Blazers
- Washington Wizards at Indiana Pacers
- Brooklyn Nets at Denver Nuggets
- Oklahoma City Thunder at Golden State Warriors
- San Antonio Spurs at Portland Trail Blazers
- New Orleans Pelicans at Charlotte Hornets
- New York Knicks at LA Clippers
- Phoenix Suns at LA Lakers
Meanwhile, the #1 seeds in both conferences have yet to be determined. So, it’s a tough fight for the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets in the Eastern Conference, where the 76ers won six-straight games and opened a two-game lead over the banged-up Nets. Out west, the Phoenix Suns trail the Utah Jazz by one game in the race for the #1 seed in the Western Conference.
Friday: Zion in Philly
New Orleans Pelicans (30-36) at Philadelphia 76ers (45-21)… The Pelicans are only 1.5 games behind the #10 San Antonio Spurs in the Western Conference play-in race. Brandon Ingram will miss action this weekend with a sprained ankle. The 76ers are difficult to beat in Philly, where they have the second-best home record in the NBA at 25-7. If you like betting totals, the Pelicans are the second-best team against the over at 40-26.
Denver Nuggets (44-22) at Utah Jazz (48-18)… Could this be a preview of the Western Conference finals between the Jazz and Nugs? The Jazz are trying to hold on to the top spot in the West, while the Nugs are fending off the LA Clippers for the #3 seed.
New York Knicks (37-29) at Phoenix Suns (47-19)… The Knicks have a tough road trip out west and could cough up the #4 seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Then again, the Knicks get to see how they stack up against the best teams west of the Rockies. This a battle between the two best teams against the spread with the Knicks at 42-23-1 and the Suns at 40-25-1.
LA Lakers (37-29) at Portland Trail Blazers (37-29)… LeBron is out all weekend to rest his ailing ankle. The Lakers are also without Dennis Schroder, who is out with COVID-19. Last night, Anthony Davis left the game against the Clippers with back spasms. If you like betting unders, the banged-up Lakers are 40-25 this season as the best under team in the NBA.
Saturday: Wiz/Pacers Rivalry Brewing
Washington Wizards (31-36) at Indiana Pacers (31-35)… These two teams are expected to meet in the Nine-Ten Game in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament. You probably missed the last time these two teams met. It was a 295-point scoring orgy with the Wiz coming out on top thanks to a historic triple-double by Russell Westbrook. Despite the fact all of the players hate head coach Nate Bjorkgren, the Pacers are still in the postseason hunt. The Pacers are fade-worthy with a 27-39 ATS record, yet they’re the top team hitting overs with a 40-25-1 clip.
Brooklyn Nets (43-24) at Denver Nuggets (44-22)… James Harden hinted that he’d return before the season ends, but that’s next weekend. He’s still out and the short-handed Nets lost four games in a row. They face a tough matchup against the Nugs in the Mile High City. MVP-favorite Nikola Jokic already beat down a NYC team earlier in the week when the Nuggets trashed the Knicks and erupted for 24 points in the first quarter.
Oklahoma City Thunder (21-46) at Golden State Warriors (34-33)… Steph Curry has been on one of the craziest scoring sprees in modern NBA history. If the Warriors make the playoffs, it will because Curry has been an unstoppable offensive threat. The two squads met on Thursday and the Thunder were thumped by 23 points.
San Antonio Spurs (31-34) at Portland Trail Blazers (37-29)… The San Antonio Spurs are currently in the middle of a five-game skid, and are in deep trouble with Zion and the Pelicans lurking on the bubble and eying the #10 seed. The Blazers play back-to-back games, but at least they’re at home in Rip City.
Sunday Funday: Buzz City vs Zion
New Orleans Pelicans (30-26) at Charlotte Hornets (32-34)… The Pelicans are in another must-win situation, while the Hornets better not cough up the #8 seed with the Pacers and Wizards on their heels. At least Rookie of the Year favorite LaMelo Ball is back in the lineup to help stave off Buzz City’s current slide.
New York Knicks (37-29) at LA Clippers (45-23)… Julius Randle returns to Hollywood. The Knicks want to make sure they win at least one game while they tour the left coast before returning to Gotham.
Phoenix Suns (47-19) at LA Lakers (37-29)… It’s a tale of two West Coast teams. The Suns are still in contention for the #1 seed, while the banged-up Lakers are clinging to dear life and trying to avoid the play-in tournament. LeBron said he didn’t care about playoff seeds so long as the Lakers are in the postseason.