The NBA Playoffs are just around the corner as there are only nine days left in the regular season. Five of the six division titles have been settled, while San Antonio and Dallas battle for the Southwest title and the top overall seed in the West.
Below is a look at all six NBA games for Tuesday night, including all the key injuries and playoff scenarios for each team.
TORONTO at MIAMI (-11, 205)
Double-digit losers on extended losing streaks are a long-term 65% ATS game over the years, but the Raptors are a risky proposition as they appear to have thrown in the towel on the season. Toronto is 26-51 SU and has lost eight straight since leading scorer Chris Bosh was injured against Milwaukee on March 26. Bosh is now out for the season and led the team in scoring (22.5 ppg) and rebounding (9.2 rpg).
Miami has clinched the Southeast Division, but they still have to play hard as they only hold a 2 1/2-game lead over New Jersey for the second overall seed in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Despite the need to win, the Heat are just 5-6 SU in their last eleven games, including a weak 2-4 SU this month.
Toronto has played well against Miami this season and the Raptors had a 16-point halftime lead in the most recent meeting on March 29. Miami played without Shaquille O’Neal in that game and rallied for an eventual 98-94 win. Toronto is still covered as a 5 ½-point home underdog and overall the Raptors are 3-0 ATS against the Heat this season.
MINNESOTA at MEMPHIS (-11 ½)
The Timberwolves are having a very disappointing season and were long ago eliminated from the playoff race with an SU record of 32-45. Minnesota has been particularly bad on the road going 8-30 SU (16-22 ATS), including a recent 0-13 SU record on the road since early February.
Minnesota made a commitment to youth as the Timberwolves sat out their two leading scorers, Kevin Garnett and Ricky Davis, in Sunday’s 84-83 home win over Atlanta. Garnett had started a league-high 351 straight games as of Sunday and could miss the rest of the season with right knee tendinitis, while Davis is also questionable for a return to play due to a groin injury. .
Garnett leads the team in scoring (21.8 ppg), rebounding (12.7 rpg) and blocks (1.4 ppg), while ranking second in steals (1.4 ppg) and third in assists (4 ppg). .1 pg). Ricky Davis is second on the team in scoring (19.1 points per game) and assists (4.8 points per game) since he was traded from the Celtics in late January.
The Clippers’ loss on Monday has now dropped the Grizzlies to the fifth seed in the Western Conference, which is actually bad news for Memphis as they would now face either Dallas or San Antonio in the first round. Had Memphis remained the sixth seed, the Grizzlies would have faced Denver.
SEATTLE at SAN ANTONIO (-10 ½, 201)
The Supersonics were one of the best teams in the league last season, but they haven’t made it this year and Seattle is out of the playoff race with a 33-43 SU (33-42-1 ATS) record. Despite the disappointing season, the Sonics are actually playing their best basketball of the season and are 6-2 SU/ATS in their last eight games, including an impressive outright win over Phoenix on Sunday as a 4-point home underdog.
San Antonio is currently the top seed in the Western Conference, but they are just a half-game ahead of the Mavericks in the Southwest Division and San Antonio would drop to the fourth seed if Dallas passes them.
The Spurs overcame a nine-point deficit to beat Memphis 83-81 on Sunday and did so without Manu Ginobili, who missed the game with a calf injury. Ginobili is likely to return tonight and leads the team in steals (1.6 ppg), second in assists (3.6 ppg) and third in scoring (15.1 ppg).
NEW JERSEY (-1 ½, 182 ½) at CHICAGO
The Nets remain the hottest team in the league and are 15-1 SU (11-4-1 ATS) over the last month. New Jersey’s only loss during this stretch came last Saturday when they blew an 11-point lead at home against Cleveland. New Jersey bounced back with an easy 95-83 road victory at Milwaukee on Sunday and are now just 2 1/2 games behind Miami for the second overall seed in the Eastern Conference.
Chicago is also in the playoff race and the Bulls are currently a half-game behind Philadelphia for the final spot in the East. Two very different results for the Bulls in their last two games, as Chicago easily won at Philadelphia last Wednesday, 99-92, in which they led by 17 points and never fell behind. The Bulls then struggled against Philadelphia at home on Saturday, losing 89-75 in a game they trailed by 26 points.
PHOENIX in SACRAMENTO (-4 ½)
The Suns have clinched the Pacific division and are locked into the second seed in the Western Conference. The Suns can neither improve nor damage their position and have nothing to play for next week as they are eight games behind Dallas and 6 ½ games ahead of Memphis with only six games remaining.
Phoenix will finish with the third-best record in the conference and will likely rest key players over the next week, including point guard Steve Nash, who is battling a hamstring injury.
Sacramento is currently 41-37 SU and tied with the Lakers for the seventh seed in the Western Conference. The Kings hold the tiebreaker and are just 3 ½ games behind the Clippers for the sixth seed.
GOLDEN STATE at LA LAKERS (-8 ½)
The Warriors were 4-1 SU (5-0 ATS) after losing point guard Baron Davis for the season in mid-March, but have since struggled and gone 0-8 SU (2-5-1 ATS) in the last eight games. The Warriors were also without leading scorer Jason Richardson on Saturday when they lost 95-92 at Denver. Richardson is averaging 23.5 points per game and is expected to return tonight.
The Lakers are currently tied with Sacramento for the final spot in the Western Conference playoffs, but Los Angeles would be the eighth seed due to a tiebreaker deficit.
Los Angeles compromised on defense recently and are 10-2 under in regulation play in their last twelve games. The team is also a solid 8-2-2 ATS during that stretch. The Lakers’ recent success at Under will be put to the test tonight, as Over is 9-1 in the last ten head-to-head meetings against Golden State.
STEVE MERRIL is a professional sports handicapper and a documented member of The Professional Handicappers League. Get your Premium plays here.