Game Previews for NBA Basketball
Washington Wizards @ Atlanta Hawks: These two teams square off with Eastern Conference playoff implications on the line on Wednesday night. It is a rematch of the Monday night game that saw Atlanta eke out a victory by the score of 125-124 on a Russell Westbrook missed shot at the buzzer. Atlanta has been one of the pleasant surprises in the East, a conference that currently sees teams like the Raptors and the Pacers outside of the playoff picture. Washington is in tenth place and is vying for one of the spots in the play-in round to determine the eighth and final playoff seed. The Wizards will hope to have superstar Bradley Beal back on Wednesday after missing Monday’s contest with a hamstring injury. Beal is neck and neck with Steph Curry for the NBA scoring title, and is fresh off a Twitter beef war with Curry’s teammate Kent Bazemore. Meanwhile Westbrook officially broke Oscar Robertson’s record with his 182nd career triple double on Monday, and looks to continue the ridiculous statistical streak he is riding. I expect Beal to play on Wednesday, and I do like the Wizards against the spread. They are a team I have been riding the past month or so as they have been a red-hot 12-4 in their last sixteen games. I like the over more once again after the teams combined for 249 points without Beal in the lineup.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Indiana Pacers: On Thursday, the Pacers will try to keep their playoff chances alive when they host Giannis and the Milwaukee Bucks. The Bucks are locked into the third place seed but can catch Brooklyn for second in the conference if they win out and Brooklyn loses. Since that scenario seems a little less likely, I think Milwaukee will finish the season in the third seed, which means that they may opt to rest some of their starters for the last couple games of the year. Indiana on the other hand is battling for their playoff lives and currently sit in ninth place, which means they would qualify for the play-in round to determine the eighth playoff team. At this point, Indiana could potentially catch Charlotte for the eighth seed, but in the grand scheme of things that difference does not mean much. With Myles Turner still on the shelf with a toe injury and Malcolm Brogdon still nursing a hamstring injury, the Pacers will need Domantas Sabonis and Caris Levert to continue to pick up the slack. Keep an eye on the reports of what Milwaukee will do as there could be a good chance that Giannis and others sit this one out to rest for the playoffs. Desperate teams tend to play their best basketball no matter who the opponent is, so I am going out on a limb and will be betting the Pacers at home, most likely as an underdog.
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