The Raptors Rule the East, the Rockets lead the West. The playoff race is coming to a close with the Jazz, Timberwolves, Bucks and Heat looking to stave off the competition and hold their places within the Top 8 of their respective conferences.
The Pelicans were flying high earlier in the week notching wins against the Lakers, Pacers, Mavericks and Celtics before travelling to Houston where the Rockets grounded them winning by a 25 point margin.
The Cavaliers have found a new lease on life since Ty Lue was dealing with health troubles. LeBron has led his side to five straight wins in the meantime and looking to stay ahead of the Pacers who are a game behind last year's Eastern Conference Champions.
LeBron has recorded his most successful month since February 2010 as he is averaging 31.5 points per game.
Don't look now though because Anthony Davis on the other side of the ledger is having a year to remember. He's currently leading the league in blocks per game whilst averaging over 28 points per game. Tremendous production from the Kentucky product.
We see the fourth and fifth best offensive teams in the competition square off here and I'd be a liar if I said I wasn't looking to play the overs in this one. As for the results, I really don't want to bet against LeBron. He's playing like a man possessed and when there's a big name on the opposition such as Davis, the King seems to elevate his game to another level.
Look for Cleveland to build on their impressive 25-11 home record.
Tip: Cleveland Cavaliers -5
The Clippers travel to Portland with their backs against elimination. The Clippers on 39 wins are the Western Conferences lowest ranked team yet to have been eliminated from playoff contention.
Portland have been sneaky good this season. They recently rattled off 13 straight wins before going down to the Celtics and Rockets.
Surprisingly, Portland boasts the fifth best defensive record of the NBA, only allowing 103.2 points per game. Fantastic numbers considering it was a clear area of weakness last campaign.
The Clippers have surpassed expectations since dealing Blake Griffin to the Pistons. The Clips are also looking to get some revenge on Portland after falling 122-109 earlier in March. Unfortunately for the Clippers, they would need stellar performances from Lou Will, DJ and Tobias Harris to stand a chance, and I just don’t see it happening. Lillard’s offensive output and the stout defensive structure of Portland should get them the W in this one.
Tip: Portland Trail Blazers -5
How good is this, not only do we get a Raptors v Celtics battle, but we get two more before the playoffs begin.
The Raptors have seen better days with three wins and three losses outlining their last six outings. Good thing for us bettors is for all intents and purposes, the Raptors have been fielding a full strength line-up. They’ll be looking to make amends after going down to the Clippers recently.
The Celtics are in shambles health wise but somehow after losing Kyrie Irving have kept their winning ways. The Celtics have won their last four games and are poised to maintain their run for top spot.
The Celtics have been winning with their defence, holding their last four opponents to 100 or fewer points. That shouldn’t be a surprise considering they’re the league’s 3rd best defensive team.
The Raptors have more than enough talent to hang with the C’s as they handily beat them 111-91 in early February.
The Celtics have definitely got their hands full here. The Raptors boast the league’s 3rd best points per game record, 6th best assists record and 9th best defensive record. Without Kyrie this is going to be a tough ask. Look for a defensive battle with DeRozan and Lowry proving too much in the end.
Tip: Toronto Raptors -5