There NBA has a full slate of games on tap this Friday night. Here’s a look at a few of the key games on the schedule:
Cavs Try To Gain Ground vs. Heat
The Cleveland Cavaliers have won two straight since losing six of the previous seven games and are still in sixth place and five games behind the Miami Heat in a close Eastern Conference race. However, the Cavs have a favorable record on the road at 18-16 and hope to hand the Heat their second consecutive loss at home. On Tuesday night, Darius Garland scored 41 to lead the Cavs to a 127-124 victory of the Indiana Pacers.
Miami is still at the top of the Eastern Conference. Also, they have a comfortable 12-game lead in the Southeast Division standings over the Charlotte Hornets and Atlanta Hawks, who are tied for second place. Their conference lead over Milwaukee is now down to two games as the Bucks are hot once again and have reeled off six straight wins. The Heat are trying to avoid their second straight loss at home after falling victim to the Phoenix Suns 111-90 on Wednesday night.
The Heat have dominated Cleveland at home and will get a close victory.
Jazz Hit the Road Again to Face Spurs
The Utah Jazz have won eight straight games at home but haven’t played there much lately. After a quick one-game homestand in which they defeated the Portland Trailblazers by 38 points, they are back on the road again for the seventh time in nine games to face the San Antonio Spurs. They have now extended their lead in the Northwest Division to two games over the Denver Nuggets after losing to the Warriors last night.
San Antonio has a 25-41 record this season and has lost five of their last six games. They are two games behind the New Orleans Pelicans for that all-important tenth position in the Western Conference standings. The two teams have split the season series, with the Jazz coming out on top in their last matchup in San Antonio.
Even with Bojan Bogdanovic out for this matchup, the second of our NBA picks is that the Jazz will win on the road.
Raptors Face Tough Road Matchup vs. Suns
The Toronto Raptors travel to Phoenix on Friday night to face the Suns as they look for their second straight win away from home. They have cooled off recently after their recent eight-game winning streak and are 4-7 since. Toronto has moved to within five games of the 76ers in the Atlantic Division standings and is seventh overall in the conference with a 35-30 record, three games behind the Cavaliers and eight games behind the first-place Miami Heat.
Phoenix has a lot to be happy about as they welcomed the return of Devin Booker in Wednesday night’s blowout of the Miami Heat on the road. The Suns also became the first team in the league to clinch a playoff spot after the win and have a commanding lead of 8.5 games in both the Pacific Division and Western Conference standings. However, they will have to learn to survive for about the next month without their All-Star point guard Chris Paul, who has already missed the last two weeks with a broken thumb on his shooting hand.
Booker will again dominate as the Suns get their fourth straight win at home.