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NBA Returns Tomorrow

NBA Returns Tomorrow

It’s been a week since the NBA has taken its All-Star Break, but we are back tomorrow with a huge 12 game slate! 

There’s plenty of certainty when it comes to playoff basketball this season, with the likes of Boston, Cleveland and Bucks all just about locked in.

Only 3 games seperate 4th and 8th in the East, with New York making a case to lock in their rights with the Top 3, whilst Philly are hanging on by a thread to stay out of Play-In contention and it’ll all come down to the health of Joel Embiid.

 

Out West, Minnesota, OKC, LA Clippers and Denver have things just about sewn up too. 

But outside that Top 4 in the West, there’s a log jam for playoff entry! 

There’s only 3.5 games separating 5th and 9th out West, and now with the Suns back to full health, you’d like to think they’re just about assured of playoff basketball.

 

East: 

Philadelphia 76ers (5th): Talk about incredibly tough runs! They face off against some of the elite in the East over the next week.

v Knicks, v Cavs, v Bucks and @ Celtics.

Good luck with that! The only thing in their favour is that 3 of the 4 are at home, but are also every chance of finishing that stretch 0-4. This team will be teetering on the edge of Play-In contention the rest of the way, and it’s hard to see them avoiding it if their star big (Embiid) is done for the season.

 

Indiana Pacers (6th): Indiana have a favourable end to the month, with a 4 game home stand against teams they should be favoured to beat, the tougher match ups v Dallas and New Orleans. Now that this team is back to full health, they’ll be one to watch finishing the season, with Haliburton and Siakam duo a deadly one at that. This team will avoid the play-in on talent alone and finish with a 5 seed.

 

Orlando/Miami: It’s a battle of who takes home the Southeast division title. Both are tied for the 7 and 8 seed, Orlando have the better run home and playing better basketball. Experience may be the only thing that separates these two teams, as when it comes to late season wins, Jimmy and Bam know how to get it done. Either way, even if both teams make the Play-In Tournament, both get themselves into the playoffs this season ahead of the likes of Atlanta and Chicago.

 

West:

Where do we start!

New Orleans Pelicans (6th): The Pels have gone under the radar this season to find themselves 1 game ahead of Dallas in 7th. You just don’t know what you’ll get with this team, but as long as they finally stay healthy, they’re loaded with talent. Dyson Daniel’s is a big loss considering how well he was guarding the elite guards, but it’s all going to come down to the health of Zion Williamson, as if they can finally get him into the playoffs, they’re not a team you’d want to face early.

 

Dallas Mavericks (7th): Dallas are riding high on a 6 game winning streak, and we are treated to some incredible basketball tomorrow. Dallas go head to head with the Phoenix Suns in Dallas, a battle that may very well flip these two teams around. Luka and Devin Booker always put on a show, and as much as the Mavs had a very poor end to last season, this season will be very different, as they’ll avoid the play-in tournament and finish 6th at the very least.

 

Sacramento Kings (8th): The West is as loaded as it’ll ever be when you have someone like Sacramento down in 8th position and they’re great record. One thing the Kings have to do for the remainder of the season is start winning games on the Road, as 16-14 won’t cut it. They do have a bulk of home games to finish the season, and the beam is going to be Lit a lot, with the Kings sure to make a run at the 5-6 seed and make the playoffs.

 

LA Lakers/Golden State (9/10): It’s hard to put a line through either of these teams, but who do you remove from the playoffs for either?

Both of these teams will feature in the Play-In Tournament and will have to win on the road just to make the playoffs (as you couldn’t see them finishing any better than they are now).

Given they’re well below average on the road (24-29 combined) it’s hard to make a case for either team. At the same time, put a line against teams with LeBron/AD and Steph Curry at your own risk! 

 

The next 2 months of hoops is going to be incredible and the playoff push begins tomorrow for all teams wanting to punch their tickets this season! 

 

Cheers,

Bauky 

@TrashTalkwithDBauk 

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