The NBA Playoffs are almost here, but first, a few more games have to settle the final lineup. The Play-In tournament begins on April 11, and the stage is all but set for a fierce postseason battle. There are only a handful of games on tap for tonight, but they all offer something to watch.
The 76ers Face The Heat
The Philadelphia 76ers hosted the Boston Celtics last Tuesday and won 103-101. Thanks to this, they recovered from the painful defeat against the visiting Milwaukee Bucks in the previous game. The Sixers are now 52-27 in the Eastern Conference, reaching third place in the standings.
The Miami Heat visited the Detroit Pistons last Tuesday and won 118-105. That gave them two consecutive victories, leaving behind a negative streak of several setbacks in a row. The Heat stand at 42-37 in the Eastern and, in seventh place, still have a chance to qualify directly for the upcoming playoffs.
The 76ers are a compact and well-worked team under the command of Doc Rivers. For this reason, they will take advantage of the field factor and score between 105 and 115 points tonight. The Heat is now an orderly and balanced squad, thanks to the work of coach Spoelstra, and could see similar results.
This is shaping up to be a very even duel, although it’s slightly favorable to the Sixers, partly due to the talent of Joel Embiid in the paint. Philadelphia wins and deals Miami a troubling defeat.
The Jazz Take On The Thunder
One of the games that will be played this Thursday in the NBA will be the confrontation between the Utah Jazz and Oklahoma City Thunder. This is a clash between two teams that are not having good results in their latest games. The Jazz pushed the LA Lakers to the max in their most recent game, which didn’t feature a lineup with the usual starters. Despite the good competitive level, they ended up losing in overtime 135-133.
The Thunder, for their part, battled at Chase Center against the Golden State Warriors. However, like the rival they will face tonight, they couldn’t hold up against the pressure and added one more defeat to their record.
Neither of these teams is showing a lot of strength and throughout the season, both have left a lot to be desired in the defensive department. The Jazz is the sixth franchise with the worst record in this area, averaging 118 points against per game. Meanwhile, the Thunder maintain an average of 116.8, a figure that is at least somewhat offset by the offense, which has a current average of 117.6 points.
Utah doesn’t have bad offensive numbers either, which is why a clash is coming. However, the Jazz are going to come out on top in a game that features strong defensive stands.
Suns Target The Nuggets
The Phoenix Suns hosted the San Antonio Spurs last Tuesday and won 115-94. That gave them five consecutive wins as they found newfound success after the return of Kevin Durant. The Suns are now 44-35 in the Western Conference, managing to stay in fourth place in the standings as they prepare to take on the Denver Nuggets tonight.
The Nuggets visited the Houston Rockets last Tuesday and lost 124-103. That put them at 1-4 in their last four games, coming to lower their collective and individual production. However, Denver is currently 52-27 in the Western, putting them on top of the conference.
The Suns have offered an explosive team after the return of Durant. For this reason, they can easily put up as many as 120 points tonight. The Nuggets remain a competitive team despite the absence of Nikola Jokic, but will still find success.
It won’t be enough, though. With Durant on the court, the Suns are going to be able to hold themselves together and snatch a win from Denver.