Tue, Apr 10, 8:14am by Staff Writer
The playoffs begin next week and with five teams separated by 2.5 games in the Western Conference, we are set for one of the most exciting finishes to the regular season in recent memory.
The only two sides who have locked in their seeds are the Rockets and Warriors, who will be in first and second, but all the other spots are up for grabs with two games remaining for each team.
Both of the games we’ve covered below are from the West and with three of the current top four on the floor, some high quality play will be on display.
Golden State Warriors at Utah Jazz
Wednesday 11th March 2018, 11am at Vivint Smart Home Arena
The Jazz have surprised many this season and their win over the Lakers on Monday, which was their fifth in a row, clinched their place in the postseason and if they can topple the Warriors in this one, they could finish as high as third.
The defending champions have had a horror run of injuries of late, with Steph Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson all spending time on the sidelines. The downward spiral which has ensued means that the highest that Steve Kerr’s side can finish in second, which could mean they elect to rest more of their stars ahead of sixth consecutive playoffs.
The Warriors (58-23) picked up a win over the Suns on Monday but had consecutive losses to the Pelicans and Pacers and dropped three in a row earlier in the month.
Donovan Mitchell has been a standout for the Jazz this season, averaging 20 points per game, and if it wasn’t for the exploits of Ben Simmons, he’d be a shoe in for Rookie of the Year honours.
The Jazz have trounced Golden State in their last two clashes and we’re taking them to make it three in a row here.
Best bet: Jazz for the win by 1-10 points
Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers
Wednesday 11th April 2018, 12.30pm at Staples Centre
The Lakers have exceeded all expectations this season with 34 wins, but they’ll go in as huge underdog when they host the No.1 seed Rockets on Wednesday (AEST), who’ve already racked up 64 wins this campaign.
These two sides were involved in a shoot-out the last time they met with the Rockets prevailing 148-142 but the way the Rockets are playing right now, they have the firepower to blow any team off the court.
The Lakers have dropped their last two fixtures to the Jazz and the Timberwolves. Julius Randal remains a key man for Luke Walton’s side averaging 16 points per game, expect him to feature heavily against Houston.
Houston will run out comfortable winners in this clash with the duo of Chris Paul and James Harden causing the Lakers too many problems. Mike D’Antoni’s side will go through the gears and clock up another win on the road to the playoffs.
Best Bet: Houston to win by 1-10 points
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