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NBA Midweek Best: Hawks, Blazers to round-off season in style

Wed, Apr 12, 12:27pm by Staff Writer

The curtain comes down on the regular season with the Hawks looking to bounce the Pacers’ playoff hopes in Indiana. The Trailblazers will be looking to put the fire out on the Pelicans’ season. At we have you covered for the best bets on the hardcourt action.

Note: This article was edited after publication

Hawks @ Pacers

Bankers Life Fieldhouse, Indianapolis –  Thursday 13 April, 10.00am

TV: Live on ESPN

The Hawks soar into Indiana coming off back-to-back victories over the reigning champs, the Cavs. After clinching a playoff appearance for the 10th straight year, the Hawks capped off a memorable week by overcoming a 26-point deficit to stun LeBron James and company. The OT win is the largest comeback since the Lakers overcame the Mavs in 2002. That will give the Hawks some genuine self-belief heading into the playoffs.

Paul Millsap dominated against the Cavs with 22 points and 9 rebounds and Tim Hardaway Jr. backed up with 21 points and 9 rebounds.

Their subsequent 106-73 win over the Hornets has secure them fifth spot in the East,

But there is a lot more at stake for the Pacers in this. The equation is simple. They win, they make the playoffs. They lose, then they are done.

The Pacers are on a four game run that includes wins over the Raptors and the Bucks. Paul George has posted some big numbers for the Pacers over the last couple of weeks, and has led the side with a 23.6 scoring average.

In the 120-111 win over the 76ers, George was devastating with 27 points and five assists. Myles Turner had 13 rebounds and 18 points against the 76ers and his duel with Dwight Howard will go a long way to deciding the winner of the match-up.

The markets tell you everything you need to know about this game. The Pacers are $1.06, while the Hawks, who are expected to rest a host of stars, are $10.50.   

The Pacers have more to play for and you’d expect them to do what they need to make the cut and win easily

BEST BET: Pacers to beat the line (-13) at $1.95 

Pelicans @ Trailblazers

Moda Centre, Portland – Thursday 13 April 12.30pm

TV: Live on ESPN

Throw-back to the All-Star Weekend and things were looking up for the Pelicans. Anthony Davis had picked up the MVP with 50+ points, and the Pelicans had signed DeMarcus Cousins.

They have shown moments of brilliance during the regular season, but injury and inconsistency have crippled their chances at the playoffs. They have dropped five out of the last seven games, including back-to-back losses to the Nuggets and the Warriors. They face the Lakers before travelling to Portland on the final day of the season.

All-Star duo Davis and Cousins have missed the last three games due to injury, and the Pelicans will be needing them both back on court.

The Trailblazers have been riding the wave of a three game streak, including a recent win over the Spurs. The Blazers were able to pull together for a one-point win after giving a breather to Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum.

One of the highlights for the Blazers was the form of Shabazz Napier.  Napier scored a career-high 32 points as the Blazers won three straight to take the eighth playoff spot.  Noah Vonleh had 11 rebounds and 12 points to back up the performance of Napier.

The Trailblazers start $1.26 favourites, with the Pelicans as $4.00 outsiders.

The Trailblazers will come into this match-up determined to make a statement for the playoffs. Look for Lillard and McCollum to attack from the backcourt, and Napier to take advantage of the absence Davis and Cousins. I’m tipping the Trailblazers to come away for the win ahead of the playoff battle with the Dubs.

BEST BET: Trailblazers to win and beat the line (-8) at $1.95

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