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NBA Wednesday: 76ers and Lakers our picks

Tue, Mar 13, 9:09am by Staff Writer

There is plenty on the line when the 76ers take on the Pacers in an important clash between two Eastern Conference playoff contenders. Both of these sides will be looking for the win to avoid a clash with the likes of the Raptors and the Celtics and if Ben Simmons and his Philly teammates can finish the season well then they’ll clinch home court for the first round of the playoffs.

The Lakers won’t be featuring in the post season action but they’re still offering plenty of promise for 2019 but Luke Walton’s charges have improved this season and suddenly the famous Western Conference side seem like an attractive option for marquee free agents. LA’s next contest is Denver Nuggets on Wednesday.

Here’s our best bets for the two aforementioned contests.

Indiana Pacers at Philadelphia 76ers

Wednesday 14th March 2018, 9am at Wells Fargo Centre

The Pacers head to the city of brotherly love on the back of an impressive win against the Celtics. Indiana were able to hold off a fast finishing Boston in the clutch 99-97 win, which gave them a real shot of clinching third seeding in the Eastern Conference playoffs.

The 76ers are looking at their own slice of history this season with a return to the playoffs and a win against the Pacers would help Philly close the gap on the Wizards in fifth spot in the East.

Philly need to find some way to build some consistency with a spotty record over the last couple of weeks. Brett Brown’s men haven’t reached the playoffs for some time and are on track to break their duck and a win over the Pacers will help avoid a shoot out with the Miami Heat.

The 76ers were able to share the scoring in a Monday win over the Nets, with Joel Embiid scoring 21 points, Robert Covington 19 points and Ben Simmons coming close to another triple-double with 11-points, six assists and six rebounds.

The Pacers have looked like a genuine threat throughout the season to the likes of the Celtics and the Raptors and currently sit third in the standings at 39-28.

The success story for Indiana would have to be the form of shooting guard Victor Oladipo. The former OKC guard helped himself to 27-points against the Celtics.

The odds haven’t been released yet but the 76ers will start favourites. We’ll update the odds once the markets have been released.

In Simmons and Embiid Philly have two players who will dominate the league for years to come. The 76ers have the goods to this in a tight clash at home.

Best bet: 76ers for the win by 1-10 points at Sportsbet

Denver Nuggets at Los Angeles Lakers

Wednesday 14th March 2018, 12.30pm at Staples Centre

With the brand of basketball the Lakers are playing right now, having them in the playoffs would represent an interesting prospect. It won’t be happening this season though and they’ll be off to try their luck at the lottery but the make-up of the 2019 Lakers will be an interesting proposition if they continue on their upward trajectory.

The Lakers have taken some huge strides forward in recent weeks and collected some big scalps along the way, with the Cavs the latest to fall victims to another ambush at the Staples Centre. The Lakers haven’t beaten the Nuggets in their last three regular season meetings, but you get the feeling they are due for a win over Denver.

Los Angeles are coming off a famous win over the Cavs and considering their deadline day deals, Isaiah Thomas will feel he was owing LeBron James in the Lakers 127-113 win. LA are 30-36 in the Western Conference and simply have too much ground to make in the race to the playoffs.

The Nuggets sit in ninth and half a game behind the Clippers and won’t have any sympathy for the Lakers. There’s was a fair amount of bad-blood between the two teams, with the Nuggets walking away from the clash on the right side of the ledger 125-116.

Jamal Murray was called out by Luke Walton for his behaviour when these two sides last clashed. Expect this to be a tough encounter for the Nuggets as a loss here could be devastating for their playoff hopes.

The Lakers will be hungry to bounce back and IT and Lonzo Ball will be out to do some damage. Expect the Lakers to get over the line at home.

Best Bet: Lakers to win at Sportsbet

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