The NBA regular season is drawing to a close and there’s not much time left for teams to secure a spot in the postseason. The next 10 days provide a lot of action as the race continues, starting with several hot contests tonight.
Embiid Returns Strong For the 76ers
The Philadelphia 76ers have a second game in a row at home, this time hosting the Toronto Raptors. The Sixers have secured a spot in the quarterfinals of the playoffs and come into tonight’s game off a 116-108 victory over the Dallas Mavericks. Joel Embiid, after missing a game due to injury, shined with 25 points and is on his way toward leading the team to a shot at the title.
The Raptors, better late than never, have consecutive wins, most recently a 106-92 over the Miami Heat, in a direct duel to stay alive. The team still has mathematical options to see the postseason, but it cannot fail tonight if it wants that shot. Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby and Scott Barnes will have to step up to make that happen.
The Sixers really have no obligation to win, and that could relax the squad. On their side, the Raptors do have the need to win to stay alive. However, even slowing down, the Sixers win tonight.
Cavs Go After The Knicks
The Cleveland Cavaliers visited the Atlanta Hawks last Tuesday and lost 120-118. Thanks to this setback, they cut a streak of several wins. They’re now 48-29 in the Eastern Conference, reaching fourth in the standings.
The New York Knicks hosted the Miami Heat last Wednesday and won 101-92. That gave them two in a row, leaving behind a streak of 3 losses. At 44-33 losses in the Eastern, they sit in fifth and are trying to hold everything together.
The Cavs are a compact and well-organized team in all aspects of the game. For this reason, they are expected to take advantage of the field. The Knicks have lost some of their energy lately, but this will still be an even duel. However, it leans toward the Cavaliers, especially with Donovan Mitchell on the attack.
Trail Blazers Continue Homestand
The Portland Trail Blazers will have their fifth consecutive contest at home, this time against the Sacramento Kings. The Blazers no longer depend on themselves to fight for something in the season, due to the four losses in a row that they’ve accumulated.
The most recent setback was just against the same rival that will be in front, by a devastating 120-80 score. Without Damian Lillard, still absent due to injury, tonight doesn’t look any better.
On their side, the Kings already punched their ticket to the quarterfinals. They now only want to stay near the top of the standings to avoid an important adversary in the first round. However, coach Mike Brown could also choose to rest some of his figures, such as Domantas Sabonis, Kevin Huerter or De’Aaron Fox, to save them for a title run. This could weigh on the outcome of the match.
The pressure to win falls on the backs of the Blazers, who have one of their last chances to stay alive by entering the play-in competition. It’s a long shot that doesn’t have any real chance of coming true, with the Kings taking another victory.