NBA late-season situational handicapping
|Submitted by |Tags: NBA __
I started a thread in the Sportsmemo posting forum about the late season playoff push and Western Conference teams playing for the final playoff spots. Here is a list of the teams battling for a playoff position and a top-8 spot along with their remaining schedules.
5. Memphis (35-25)... at Minn, NO, at Char, Port, Cleve, Orl
6. Dallas (34-27)...at Utah, Hou, GS, at Chic, at Atl
7. Denver (33-27)...at Hou, LAC, at Phoenix, Orl, at OKC, at Minn
8. Houston (32-28)...Denver, at Dallas, at NO, GS, at Miami, NO
9. Phoenix (31-29)...Port, OKC, LAC, Denver, at Utah, SA
10. Utah (31-30)...Dallas, at Port, Orl, Phoenix, Port
Phoenix holds the tiebreaker advantage over Utah while the Jazz have the tiebreaker edge over Houston and Denver.
The Nuggets beat the Rockets last night in Denver and play at Houston tonight in a home and away back-to-back. The Suns are a huge, adjusted favorite (-11) over the Trailblazers tonight after Portland saw their final outside chance at the playoffs slip away with a last second loss at Sacramento Sunday.
Utah has a huge game tonight at home against the defending champion Dallas Mavericks. And the situation and scheduling could not get much better for the Jazz. Utah is 21-8 at home and historically has dominated teams coming off back-to-back games. The Mavericks lost at LA against the Lakers in overtime last night. Now playing their fourth-straight road game and fourth game in five nights, the Mavericks will struggle to bring anywhere near their best at altitude tonight.
Meanwhile, the Jazz enter off back-to-back losses with an extra day of rest. Utah must have this game, and while many teams ‘bleed’ in time of need, the motivation, energy and effort should be supreme for Utah tonight. The Jazz are missing four key players – Josh Howard, Raja Bell, C.J. Miles and Earl Watson – all out with injuries. Utah’s late game execution on offense has been suspect recently, as has the coaching of Ty Corbin. But even Corbin and the Jazz can’t mess up this positive situation and profile tonight. The Jazz play with same season triple revenge against Dallas, and have actually lost seven-straight times
to the Mavericks. Combined with the scheduling and additional late-season situations, a wager is warranted on the Jazz tonight.
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