The playoffs continue to come into view, and the battle for positioning heats up this week with three major games that could prove to be vital when the postseason rolls around.
Toronto Raptors @ Philadelphia 76ers – 02/05/19
The Raptors suffered a tough loss against the Milwaukee Bucks last week that saw them give up the tie breaker for the number one seed in the East. Their four game lead over the Boston Celtics and Philadelphia 76ers holds them steady as the number two seed and win over the 76ers would help cement that position.
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid continue to lead their team into a strong position in the post season seedings, currently fighting with the Celtics for the third position and being chased by the Indiana Pacers they will need to beat the Raptors to keep those in the hunt for home court advantage in the first round at bay.
San Antonio Spurs @ Portland Trailblazers – 02/07/19
Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum will put their one-two punch offensive barrage to the test against the San Antonio Spurs in the Moda Centre. Currently the fourth seed the Blazers are 7-3 in their last 10 games and have built some momentum entering the week on a three game winning streak as they sit one game behind the Oklahoma City Thunder for the third seed.
It will be clash of two hot ball clubs as the Spurs are also 7-3 in their last 10 but hold a five game win streak at the start of the week. LaMarcus Aldridge recently passed 18,000 career points and was selected as an All-Star for the seventh time in his career last week. He will have to dominate in the game to help the Spurs to a win this game and put them in the fourth seed ahead of their opponents on Thursday.
Thunder @ Rockets – 02/09/19
A battle of All-Stars and MVP candidates will take place in Houston as James Harden will do battle with Paul George. Having Chris Paul back has provided a boost for the Rockets, as the star Point Guard has battled injuries this season. However, when paired with Harden in the backcourt the two have always proved to be a difficult matchup for the best of teams in the regular season.
The Thunder boast their own combination of superstars though as Paul George and Russell Westbrook have combined all season to give the Thunder the third seed in the West. Paul George’s recent play has thrust him into the MVP conversation and saw him voted as an All-Star starter last week. Meanwhile Russell Westbrook has had a string of good performances culminating in a number of triple-doubles.
By Sonny Cohen