What a week! So much happened in the NBA that it’s hard to believe.
Our Utah Jazz, heroes of the hardwood, finally started moving from the 10th spot after being stuck there for roughly 10,000 years.
We are now sitting pretty at the 5th seed (by dint of tie breaker rules with MIN and SAS) with a 9 game win streak. We took care of business this week, beating the Pelicans in a huge game last Sunday and winning the games we should win against Detroit, Phoenix and Sacramento. It wasn’t always pretty, but we got the job done.
Our schedule this week isn’t nearly as easy as the last week. We start at home vs Atlanta who, last we saw, kicked the unholy crap out of us. Then it’s on the road for 3 games in 4 nights starting in Dallas, then to San Antonio and finally the wounded Warriors of Golden State.
Virtually everything worked to the Jazz advantage last night.
The Jazz edged the competitive Kings
Houston beat New Orleans
San Antonio beat Minnesota
Denver lost to Memphis
The Spurs won; this is only half bad.
Portland beat Detroit
- Bucks beat the Hawks
- Wizards beat the Pacers
- Nets beat the Mavs
- Knicks beat the Hornets
- Cavs beat the Bulls
- Warriors beat the Suns
- The rest of the league had the night off.
Results of last night’s prediction:
- HOU beat NOP
- DEN lost to MEM
- SAS beat MIN
- UTA beat SAC
- POR beat DET
What’s happening tonight:
Oklahoma City travels to Toronto
OKC won big in their first match up @OKC in December. The Thunder are winning the games they are supposed to win with a 5 game win streak and having gone 8-2 in their last 10. They have been holding on to that 4th seed for a while, but a loss here drops them to 30 L’s on the year to join Utah, Minnesota, San Antonio and New Orleans. OKC is an okay road team, winning just less than 50% on the road.
Since losing the first meeting with the Thunder the Raptors have gone 29-7. They are the best team in the east and hold the best home record in the NBA. This game isn’t a must win for them like it is for OKC as they have a decent margin over 2nd place Boston, but the Raps aren’t in the habit of losing games, especially at home.
This is a matchup that will help to show if OKC is a pretender or a legitimate playoff threat.
Boston takes a trip on down to New Orleans.
The scheduling gods are not kind to the Pels. Coming off a close loss to Houston last night, the Pelicans face another top team in the Celtics tonight. They did win the first meeting with Boston this season, which can give them hope, but they are overall trending in the wrong direction having lost 2 in a row and going 6-4 in their last 10 and 1-4 since their big win streak. The Pelicans home advantage isn’t much of an advantage as they win just over half of their home games. A loss here could knock the Pelicans out of the playoffs.
Boston is playing hurt right now, but still winning. They are 7-3 in their last 10 and are coming off a win @ Orlando on Friday. Their record over the last 10 is mostly against bottom teams; against payoff teams they are 1-3 over that stretch. They need this win to have any chance at catching the Raptors, but it’s not a must win for them in the way it is for New Orleans
Houston is in Minnesota
Both teams are playing on the second night of a B2B here.
Minnesota is starting to falter a little as we approach the finish line of the regular season. They are just 5-5 in their last 10 and lost last night to the Spurs. They are a good home team, but have lost to the Rockets at home this season. They are trying to hold on to a playoff spot long enough to get healthy.
Houston is a great anywhere team; they’ve won all 3 meetings against the Wolves this season and none have been close games. While they have a bit of a margin of error to hold home court vs the West, their margin of error for home court throughout the playoffs is very thin so this is a must win game for them.
Portland is at Staples for a match up with the Clippers
The Clippers playoff dreams are becoming more ethereal game by game; they’re 1.5 back from 8th place. They need a big win to keep pace with the 5-8 seeds to keep their hope alive. But if they can manage a win and the Pels or Wolves (or both) lose today, they have a chance to sneak back in. They’re just 6-4 in their last 10 with a 2 game losing streak that took them right out of playoff seeding. They need to end Portland’s 12 game winning streak or they’ll drop below Denver into the dreaded 10th spot.
Portland is on a role. They aren’t going to catch Golden State for 2nd, but they have built a small cushion between themselves and the rest of the field. They’ve won 12 straight, including over the red hot Heroes of Utah. They aren’t as much of a juggernaut on the road and the Clippers do well defending the Staples Center floor.
Predictions for tonight:
- TOR over OKC
- NOP over BOS
- HOU over MIN
- POR over LAC
Playoff match-ups if they started today:
Rockets (1) vs. Pelicans (8)
Thunder (4) vs. Jazz (5)
Blazers (3) vs. Timberwolves (6)
Warriors (2) vs. Spurs (7)
Sorry this is late