The Wizards enter this one at 32-49 after 9 losses in their last 11 outings. Bradley Beal still looks on pace for an All-NBA spot after his stellar averages of 25 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists per night. Thomas Bryant has also looked like a nice find at Center, dropping 17 points, 7 boards, and 2 blocks last time out.
The Celtics enter this one at 48-33 after a home loss to the Magic last time out which sealed a playoff berth for Orlando. Kyrie Irving was still at his dynamic best, dropping an impressive 23 points, 6 assists, and 5 rebounds. Al Horford has also stepped up of late, dropping 18 points and 7 assists last time out.
Prediction: Celtics +6
While Boston will certainly rest some guys here, they still have one of the NBA’s deepest rosters. Especially given the Wizards recent form, I don’t see how they’re 6-point favourites here. In what is essentially a meaningless toss-up, I’ll take the value on the large underdog.
The Heat enter this one at 38-42 after a heartbreaking overtime loss to Toronto that may have ended their playoff hopes. Dwyane Wade continues to show out as he nears the end, dropping 21 points and 5 assists. Justise Winslow has also been stuffing the stat sheet of late, adding 15 points, 7 boards, and 6 assists of his own.
The Sixers clinched the #3 seed with a convincing road win in Chicago last time out. Joel Embiid continues to look stellar in his return from injury, dropping 20 points, 10 boards, and 5 assists. JJ Redick has also been an offensive force, adding 23 points and 5 boards of his own.
Prediction: Heat -0.5
With Philly having nothing to play for, I expect heavy rotation from the Sixers in this one. Miami are still in with a shot at the playoffs and will give it everything they have. Expect a vintage D-Wade performance as the Heat keep their season alive.
The Jazz return home at 49-31 after an atrocious uncharacteristic loss to the Lakers last time out. This was despite another strong display from Center Rudy Gobert, who had 21 points and 10 boards on the interior. Utah needs better from Sophomore Donovan Mitchell, who went a poor 5-17 in this one.
The Nuggets opted for some heavy rotation last time out against Portland, narrowly falling late in the 4th. It was definitely a valiant team effort from Denver, who had 6 players score in double figures. Mason Plumlee was probably the pick of the bunch, going for a double-double, 6 assists, and 3 blocks.
Prediction: Jazz -1.5
Utah have been outstanding at home this season, while Denver has been a middling road side. Especially after a poor loss last time out, I expect the Jazz to come out firing to try and lock up the #4 seed. In what should ultimately be a close one, I lean towards the home favourites here.