The Heat enter this one at 36-38 after a disappointing home loss to Orlando last time out. This was despite a fantastic performance from Dion Waiters, who dropped 26 points and 5 made 3-pointers. Dwyane Wade also clearly wants one last playoff berth, going off for 22 points, 7 boards, and 7 assists himself.
A weird blowout win of Golden State aside, the Mavs have been absolutely atrocious of late. Luka Doncic is still putting up phenomenal numbers, dropping 28 points, 12 boards, and 12 assists against Sacramento last time out. Dwight Powell is also showing signs of promise, going off for 21 points and 13 boards in the same game.
Prediction: Mavericks +7.5
Whilst Dallas has been dreadful on the road this season, Miami have largely struggled as favourites. This Mavs side has a lot of players playing for their NBA life and I expect them to be plucky down the stretch. Getting 7.5 points here, they should at least keep this close.
The Rockets have been in some strong form of late, but they do enter this one after a disappointing loss in Milwaukee. James Harden is still having an incredibly solid season, averaging 36 points, 7.5 assists, and 6.5 rebounds per contest. Clint Capela also looks all the way back from his injury, averaging 16.5 points and 12.5 boards.
Denver makes the trip to Houston at a strong 50-23 after a home win over Detroit last time out. Jamal Murray delivered an offensive masterclass in that one, going off for 33 points and 5 assists. Nikola Jokic was again outstanding on the interior, adding 23 points and 15 boards of his own.
Prediction: Over 218 points
Whilst Denver has been strong defensively this year, I expect them to struggle against James Harden and Co. Expect Jokic to be picked apart defensively as Houston goes wild here. The Denver offence can easily also exploit this Houston defence, making for a high-scoring encounter.
San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs find themselves mired in a mini slump, losing 3 of their last 4 games. DeMar DeRozan has still been putting up quality numbers, dropping 30 points and 8 boards against Charlotte last time out. LaMarcus Aldridge also continues to show his quality, adding 20 points and 15 boards of his own.
The Cavs continue to be one of the worst sides in the NBA, losing each of their last 3 to sit 19-56. Kevin Love has admittedly provided a spark for this team, averaging 15.6 points and 11.3 boards over his last 8 games. Collin Sexton is also showing some potential, dropping 24 points and 3 assists against Boston last time out.
Prediction: Spurs -13
Whilst they’ve struggled somewhat of late, the Spurs are still a dynamite 29-8 at home this season. Cleveland has nothing left to play for and is really just playing out the string here. Expect DeRozan and Aldridge to get the Spurs back on track in this one.