The Toronto Raptors (39-14) continue to set franchise records during their 14-game winning streak. However, as hot as the Raptors have been, they’ve been unable to make up ground against the Milwaukee Bucks (45-7), who continue to win at an astonishing clip that will put them on pace for 71 wins. Meanwhile, the Boston Celtics (37-15) strung together a seven-game winning streak that fell below the NBA radar during the Raptors record-setting run.
Several teams are in the middle of a downslide. They’re hoping to snap their losing streaks before the All-Star Break begins this upcoming weekend. Most teams will play two more games before the break, and everyone would love to head into the All-Star Weekend on a positive note.
The Indiana Pacers, Chicago Bulls, and Charlotte Hornets all lost five games in a row, while the San Antonio Spurs are in the middle of a four-game skid.
The Pacers (31-22) are the only team among those four losing squads with a solid spot in the postseason. If the season were to end today, the Pacers would secure the #6 playoff seed in the Eastern Conference. They won only one game since Victor Oladipo returned to the lineup after missing 53 weeks rehabbing from a knee injury.
Fuego: Celtics, Bucks, Raptors Hot Streaks
The Bucks, Raptors, and Celtics are hot, and each ensconced in a winning streak. The trio also represent the three top teams in the Eastern Conference. It’s no surprise that the best teams in the east have separated themselves from the second-tier playoff teams.
The second tier consists of the Miami Heat (34-18), Philadelphia 76ers (34-18), and Indiana Pacers (31-22). The Heat and Sixers share a similar problem in that they’re unstoppable at home, yet struggle on the road.
The Celtics would love to extend their winning streak, but Brad Stevens’ squad faces two tough West Coast teams before the All-Star Break. The Celtics play at Houston on Tuesday, and host the LA Clippers on Thursday.
Win Streak – NBA Hot Teams
Toronto Raptors 14-0
Boston Celtics 7-0
Milwaukee Bucks 13-1
Meanwhile, the east is so shallow that the potential #7 and #8 playoff seeds have losing records.
The Brooklyn Nets (23-28) are 21.5 games out of first place, yet they have a solid spot at #7. The Nets and a regularly banged-up Kyrie Irving are five games under .500 with 31 games remaining.
The Orlando Magic (22-31) are playing some of their best ball of the season, but they’re nine games under .500. Despite that, they somehow hold a three-game edge over the eastern playoff bubble teams. It’s insane to think that 19-win teams like the Chicago Bulls and Detroit Pistons are one big winning streak away from challenging the Magic for the #8 seed.
According to William Hill’s latest update, Giannis “the Greek Freak” Antetokounmpo and the Milwaukee Bucks are 3/1 odds to win the 2020 NBA championship. The Boston Celtics are 19/1 odds, while the defending champion Toronto Raptors are 25/1 odds to win the NBA title.
Step Into the Freezer: Pacers, Bulls, Hornets, T-Wolves
When you hit the skids in the NBA, it can get really ugly. The Minnesota Timberwolves (16-35) recently ended a 14-game losing streak with a shocking 142-115 upset over the LA Clippers. Now that the trade deadline is over, Karl-Anthony Towns and his new teammate, D’Angelo Russell, can focus on trying to win one game at a time.
In the meantime, the T-Wolves are still the second-worst team in the Western Conference. Only three other teams have fewer wins than the T-Wolves. They face the hottest team in the NBA on Monday night with a date in Toronto against the defending champions. The Raptors are 14-0 and haven’t lost since early January.
Losing Streak – NBA Cold Teams
Indiana Pacers 0-5
Chicago Bulls 0-5
Charlotte Hornets 0-5
Minnesota Timberwolves 1-14
The Indiana Pacers (31-22) are experiencing an adjustment period with the re-introduction of Victor Oladipo to the starting lineup. Oladipo will eventually shake off the rust in time for the playoffs, but how far back will the Pacers fall in the meantime? At this point, they can’t go any lower than the #6 seed in the east. At least the Pacers are fixable as a team that’s in a mini-slump while readjusting the rotation.
The Chicago Bulls and the Charlotte Hornets are both bad teams with inexperienced players. The Hornets are in deep trouble in Buzz City without a bonafide scorer and veteran like Kemba Walker. Looks like the Hornets are in tank mode once again, and playing for a lottery pick instead of a postseason berth.
The banged-up Bulls could turn their season around with a well-timed winning streak in their final 28 games. They’re only 3.5 games behind the Orlando Magic in the east. The Bulls big problem is their lack of consistent scoring. The Bulls average 106.2 points, which is fifth-worst in the NBA. Losing Wendell Carter, Jr. and Lauri Markkanen for extended periods of time didn’t help the Bulls. In their absence, Zach LaVine stepped up as the team’s leading scorer. LaVine averages 25.1 points per game, which ranks him #11 in NBA scoring.
According to William Hill, the Indiana Pacers are now 45/1 odds to win the 2020 NBA championship.