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NBA Weekend Playoffs: Preview and Picks

Fri, Apr 27, 8:42am by Staff Writer

The NBA playoffs continue this weekend with a number of game sixes in both the Eastern and Western Conference, as well as the start of the second round series between New Orleans and Golden State.

Toronto Raptors at Washington Wizards

Saturday, 28 April 2018 at 9.10am AEST

Washington is in a must-win situation when they host Toronto in game six of this best-of-seven series.

Toronto had to battle for the best part of four quarters before opening up a game-winning late in the fourth quarter against the Wizards in game five.

Washington could not find its shot late and managed only four 3-pointers at under 20 per cent in a poor shooting performance from the visitors.

They are $1.83 home favourites at Sportsbet to force a game seven, with Toronto $2.02 underdogs.

There is little to split the two sides in the handicap market, with the Wizards narrow 1.5-point favourites at $1.95.

Washington crushed Toronto in game three at home in this series behind big games from their backcourt duo of John Wall and Bradley Beal, with both scoring 28 points.

The team shot 44 per cent from 3and will need a similar performance in game six.

We aren’t convinced Toronto are the real deal yet, but they are the best final quarter scoring team in the NBA.

It will be interesting how they handle to pressure of a close-out game on the road. We are tipping the Wizards to win and force game seven.

Best bet- Washington Wizards to cover 1.5-point handicap at $1.95 at Sportsbet 

Cleveland Cavaliers at Indiana Pacers

Saturday, 28 April 2018 at 10am AEST

Indiana host game six of this series after losing game five in heartbreaking circumstances. A LeBron James triple at the buzzer ensured victory for the Cavs after they led for much of the match.

Cleveland had a ten-point lead late in the fourth quarter before a furious run by Indiana to almost pinch game five on the road.

The Pacers are $1.83 home favourites for game six with Cleveland $2.02 outsiders.

In both of their matches in Indiana this series, the Cavs have gotten off to brilliant starts. In game three they were chased down and in game four they ran out dominant winners.

Victor Oladipo had a poor game in game five shooting just 2-15 and 1-7 from 3, with the bulk of his twelve points coming from the free throw line.

Conversely LeBron James had another tremendous performance scoring 44 points including the game winner.

Indiana won’t lie down in this match up and LeBron James mentioned as much in the aftermath of game five. Their home crowd will have a big influence in this match, but LeBron James has been in this situation many times before in his career and will close out the series with another big game in Indiana.

Best bet- Cleveland Cavaliers to win at $2.02 at Sportsbet 

New Orleans Pelicans at Golden State Warriors

Sunday, 29 April 2018 at 9.10am AEST

The New Orleans Pelicans were unstoppable in their series with Portland as they swept the Blazers 4-nil.

They now face the Golden State Warriors who are accustomed to playoff basketball nowadays and recently beat the Spurs 4-1.

The Warriors start game one as clear favourites, giving a 7.5-point start at $1.95 at Sportsbet and are $1.28 in the head-to-head.

New Orleans are big outsiders at $3.85.

Jrue Holiday and Anthony Davis were brilliant against Portland through a combination of feisty defense and exquisite offense. They will need to continue that play against the more highly fancied Warriors.

San Antonio didn’t have enough scoring weapons to deal with Golden State, but New Orleans will provide a challenge for the Warriors, who will have difficulty guarding Anthony Davis.

In their most recent regular season match, the Pelicans prevailed in Oakland 126-120 thanks to big games from Davis, Holiday and Nikola Mirotic. Kevin Durant scored 41 points in that game and will once against provide a defensive headache for Pelicans coach Alvin Gentry.

The Warriors are likely to be without Steph Curry for this match and are limited at point guard, with Quinn Cook coming off the bench.

Both teams will be well rested heading into this match and it’s hard to turn down the big start with the Pelicans who will be hungry to make a statement in game one.

Best bet- New Orleans to cover +7.5-point handicap at $1.95 at Sportsbet

Elsewhere in the playoffs, Utah will be looking to end its series with Oklahoma City after giving away a 25-point lead in game five before losing by eight points. OKC will need more of the high-powered offense they got from Russell Westbrook and Paul George if they are to stand a chance. The Thunder are $2.92 outsiders with the Jazz heavy favourites at $1.43.

NBA Weekend Playoff Odds – Sportsbet

Toronto $2.02 v Washington $1.83

Cleveland $2.02 v Indiana $1.83

OKC $2.92 v Utah $1.43

New Orleans $3.85 v Golden State $1.28

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