Tue, Apr 3, 9:19am by Staff Writer
While the Rockets and Warriors have secured the top two seedings in the Western Conference, there are still seven teams in the race in the West as the clock ticks down to the playoffs, which begin on April 15.
In the East, the Raptors have all but confirmed their status as the number one seed and the Celtics are assured of a top two finish. It does get interesting after that though with the 76ers aiming to steal third spot from Cleveland.
We’ve picked out two of Wednesday’s (AEST) high calibre match-ups, with the Cavs hosting the Raptors and the injury hit Warriors heading to Oklahoma City to take on the Thunder.
Toronto Raptors at Cleveland Cavaliers
Wednesday 4th April 2018, 9am at Quicken Loans Arena
Cleveland will be aiming for nine wins from their last 10 games on Wednesday (AEST), when they welcome the number one seed Toronto Raptors.
LeBron James made his 17th triple-double of the season as he and his teammates needed a fourth quarter rally to get past the Mavericks over the weekend. The game also saw the “King” surpass Michael Jordan for the most consecutive 10+ point games.
Cleveland (47-30) are half a game ahead of the 76ers so this one is not only a crucial assessment of where they are at ahead of the playoffs but it’s also a must-win encounter for last season’s runners-up.
The Raptors (55-21) have stumbled of late, losing to the Clippers at home and then the Celtics on the road, but they do have six games remaining, including another blockbuster clash with the Celtics, which could turn out to be a battle for the top seed.
A huge factor in the favour of the Raptors at the moment is that they are one of the few teams in playoff contention who have a healthy roster. DeMar DeRozan is one of those healthy players, he had 32-points in the loss to Celtics and will be eager to prove himself against James and the rest of the Cavs in this one.
The last time these two sides met it was the Cavs who got over the line 132-129 and we’re expecting a similar result here, it could well go down to the last basket again.
Best bet: Cavs for the win by 1-10 points at Sportsbet
Golden State Warriors at Oklahoma City
Wednesday 4th April 2018, 10am at Chesapeake Energy Arena
This match-up has been all about the relationship between Russell Westbrook and his former teammate and now Championship winning Warrior, Kevin Durant.
The Thunder can wrap up a regular season series win over the Warriors with a win here and if they can get over the line then it would give them a huge confidence boost ahead of a potential match-up in the first round of the playoffs.
The hosts will fancy their chances against a Warriors side who will be without Steph Curry but amazingly a loss would see them fall to seventh on the standings, which could see them meet the Warriors in the playoffs.
While Curry is obviously a huge loss for the defending Champions, they are starting to get their best players back on the court, with Klay Thompson returning to the floor in the Warriors 117-107 win over the Suns on the weekend.
The Thunder head into this clash on the back of an impressive 109-104 win over the Pelicans, thanks to a Russell Westbrook triple-double.
We’re taking the Thunder to rise to the occasion here, they have too much to play for and Russell Westbrook always steps up against Kevin Durant.
Best Bet: Thunder to win at Sportsbet
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