NBA Point Margin Preview & Syndicate

Jack Wright is turning his hand to basketball as he looks to take on this weekend’s NBA Point Margin Pick 5 pool! He’s playing for a share of the £25,000 jackpot, and you can join him here.

 

Indiana Pacers @ Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers cancelled out a three-game losing sequence with a three-game winning run of their own including a 131-122 victory in Indianapolis, a tough assignment in Toronto has to be contended with before Philly welcome the Pacers for a return in their own back yard. In that most recent meeting, the 76ers blitzed their hosts from beyond the arc, setting a franchise record in the process by making 23 of 40 attempts from down town, bettering the 21 of 43 makes from deep two games previously against Charlotte. With Joel Embiid in white hot form, we could see the hosts rack up another big score, the NBA’s leading point scorer has amassed 89 points across his last two games (prior to the Toronto game) and has now played in 57 of his side’s 60 fixtures so far. With James Harden regularly providing the ammunition – he totaled 14 assists against the Pacers this Philly side is going to be a tough opponent for anyone in the Play Offs. They do show weakness with a general lack of size and athleticism and they will have to keep the improvement in cleaning their defensive boards – but do I think Indiana have it in them to exploit those chinks in the armour? In a word no! The season really can’t end quick enough for them, they have lost eight on the spin and as a result I expect another wide margin win for the home side.

Philadelphia 76ers: 9-12 13-16

 

New Orleans Pelicans @ Memphis Grizzlies

Having started the season with just 3 wins in their opening 19 games the Pelicans have turned things around incredibly well – sitting 9th in the Western Conference having won 31 games since then and are set for the Play-In tournament. CJ McCollum was a great pick up from Portland and he continues to thrive in New Orleans, breaking past the 20’s to post 30-point games pretty consistently with very respectable secondary numbers to back that up.

What a season it has been for the Grizzlies and they just keep producing! In essence this young squad have nothing to play for – but there may just be an incentive to claim the W over the Pels with the possibility, if they beat the Nuggets in the early hours of Friday, another win in this one would set a franchise record for most victories in a season. Other than that, it’s a case of keep everyone healthy and brace for the Play-Offs! I’m taking them to edge this one in a game realistically that could go either way.

Memphis Grizzlies: 5-8 9-12

 

Washington Wizards @ Charlotte Hornets

It’s crazy to think the Wizards season is already over after the fantastic start they made winning 10 of their opening 13 match ups, the loss of Bradley Beal since February was a big blow, compounded by Kyle Kuzma’s absence for the last dozen games, we are unlikely to see him again until next season. It is likely there will be more incentive for Washinton to lose this last game of the season than win it – although a top-10 pick in the NBA Draft may already be secured by the time they tip-off at the Spectrum Center.

As for the Hornets, well they have secured a spot in the Play-In tournament again where they will be hoping for a better outcome than the blow-out from Indiana they received last year! Their offence continues to be one of the best out there, but only the Pacers have conceded more points in the Eastern Conference – one of two franchises to have topped the 9000 points shipped.

Looking like a real dead rubber here – but I expect the Hornets to carry some momentum in to the post season without over extending the likes of LaMelo Ball, Miles Bridges and Terry Rozier – so a narrow win it is.

Charlotte Hornets 5-8 9-12

 

Milwaukee Bucks @ Cleveland Cavaliers

The defending champions have spent the entire season competing for top spot in the East and they will really fancy their chances of taking back-to-back titles. Can Giannis secure his third MVP? Well competition there is tough – but he is in the conversation for sure! The Bucks are still battling with the Celtics for that number 2 seed although their clash prior to this one could decide that argument.

The Cavs have ended the season on a bit of a losing slump but that shouldn’t over shadow what has been a great campaign so far. Kevin Love is still doing bits off the bench as he looks to help his team mates over the line with some crucial contributions, as the lone remaining member of Cleveland’s 2016 title team.

But seven defeats from the last nine for the Cavaliers, means I have to favour this powerful Bucks outfit especially if they have any kind of incentive to go all out.

Milwaukee Bucks 9-12 13-16

 

Toronto Raptors @ New York Knicks

The Raptors have had some back end to the season with Masai Ujiri and Nick Nurse really finding a winning formula bringing a 32-16 run in to these final couple of games. With a Play-Off place in the bag – one thing is for certain; nobody will fancy playing this side in the first round.

It’s been a bit of a disastrous season for the Knicks and really their focus should be to lose any game they can to ensure that top-10 pick. Their signings just haven’t worked out for them and serious injuries to key personnel have certainly not helped although 21-year-old RJ Barrett has had a fantastic end to the season, consistently performing well and will give the Knicks fans some hope for next year.

But for now, this has the makings of a blow out for this impressive Raptors unit as they gear up for the post season.

Toronto Raptors 21-24 25+

Author: Tamara Kim