We are loving this pressure matches! It is do or die for a lot of teams right now. So who will crack under the pressure, and who has the ability to rise to the top?
We have seeding implications in nearly every game of the night so we have handpicked the five best clashes to provide you with an in-depth analysis and the winner of each of them!
Detroit Pistons @ Philadelphia 76ers – 7PM ET
The Pistons and 76ers are having pretty contrasting starts to the month. The Detroit Pistons have lost 4 games and won 1 so far in May. The Philadelphia 76ers have won all 4 of their games so far. Detroit has a current season record of 2-47, whereas Philadelphia has a 46-21 season record.
The Pistons are not finishing off their season the way they would have hoped, they have lost 7 of their last 9 games. Their offense seems to be struggling as well, finding it difficult to get over 100 points in a number of their most recent games. They are currently averaging 107.1 points per game.
Goodnight, Sixers Twitter. pic.twitter.com/FddKJpCLqG
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) May 8, 2021
Philadelphia is in cruise mode at the moment, everything they touch turns to gold and they are loving life. The 76ers are currently on a 7 game winning streak, and a number of them have been quite convincing score lines at the end.
Philadelphia has 3 players that are averaging double digit points for this season, Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons. The team as a whole is averaging 113.9 points per game. They have the talent, skills and momentum behind them to get the win in this game.
Washington Wizards @ Indiana Pacers – 7PM ET
Both the Washington Wizards and the Indiana Pacers have started off the month with 2 wins and 2 losses. The Wizards should be going into this game confident, as they have won all previous meetings with the Pacers throughout this season. This game will have a lot of impact on who will end up making the playoffs, as the Wizards (currently in 10th in the East) can overtake the Pacers with a win here. Talk about a pressure game!
The Wizards are looking pretty balanced at the moment, and they are getting solid performance out of a number of different players, meaning they can spread the pressure and it doesn’t just fall onto one person’s shoulders.
Washington has won 4 of their last 6 games, but this is really going to be the one that counts. They are also playing for the third time in 4 days, with the last 2 games being on the road, meaning fatigue could be even more of a factor.
The Pacers on the other hand have won just 2 of their last 6 games and they are starting to see their position in the East slip. Their most recent game on Thursday was a win against the Raptors, sso they will be looking to gain some sort of momentum leading into the in-play tournament.
Indiana only has 6 games left, so this game is critical. Looking at the Pacers current form, we are likely the look of the Wizards more to take the win and move into 9th spot.
Memphis Grizzlies @ Toronto Raptors – 7:30PM ET
This Saturday night game will be the second time the Memphis Grizzlies and the Toronto Raptors will play each other this season. Toronto were victorious all the way back in February, but a lot of things have changed since then. At the moment the Grizzlies are fighting hard to gain a place in the in-play tournament, while it looks like the Raptors season is all but over.
The Grizzlies have started the month with 1 win and 3 losses, which really hasn’t helped their in-play tournament chances, but there are still a few games, and they all become crucial for the team now. They are hoping to get their first playoff appearance since 2017, but will have to battle some inconsistencies in their performance, if they want to get there.
— Memphis Grizzlies (@memgrizz) May 7, 2021
The Raptors will be disappointed after their last game OT loss to the Washington Wizards, 131-129. One of the major reasons they are in this position would be due to the number of injuries they have faced throughout the season.
After the high of winning the 2019 NBA Championship, they have fallen hard and may miss the playoffs for the first time since the 2012-13 season, if they experience 1 more loss. With so much pressure on both teams, we think it will be the Raptors that will crack, back the Grizzlies.
Brooklyn Nets @ Denver Nuggets – 10PM ET
There has been a little bit of inconsistency from both teams to start this month. The Brooklyn Nets have lost all 3 of their games in May, whereas the Nuggets have won 2 and lost 2. Both teams are sitting on similarly good season records and are expected to make the playoffs, the Nets have a 43-24 season record and the Nuggets have a 44-23 record.
The Nets need to wrestle some momentum back as we come into the most important part of the season. They are currently on a 4 game losing streak, but if you want to look on the bright side, their last 3 losses in particular were very close.
The Nets are currently averaging 118.5 points per game, thanks to the help of star players like Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden, who are all averaging in double digits for the season in points.
The Nuggets are looking to bounce back after a close loss to the Utah Jazz on Friday night, going down 127-120. Despite this loss they have actually won 10 of their last 13 games and are dinding that all important form leading into playoff time.
The team are averaging 115.1 points per game, with Nikola Jokic leading the way with 26.4 points per game. Playing again on Saturday may see the Nuggets struggle, which is why we like the Nets, who will be well rested for this matchup.
San Antonio Spurs @ Portland Trail Blazers – 10PM ET
Both the San Antonio Spurs and the Portland Trail Blazers are coming off wins on Friday night. The Spurs were able to beat the Kings, 113-104, and the Trail Blazers got a win in the books against the Lakers, 106-101. Their wins bring the Spurs and Trail Blazers season record to 31-34 and 37-29, respectively.
The Spurs did not get off to the start in May they would have hoped for, losing their first 3 games, so a win against the Kings on Friday night was much needed. DeMar DeRozan is having a great season, he is the Spurs’ leading scorer as well as leading in assists, with 21.4 points per game and 7.3 assists per game.
— Portland Trail Blazers (@trailblazers) May 8, 2021
The Trail Blazers are 3 from 4 in their games so far this month. With players like Damian Lillard leading the team, it is easy to see why Portland has been a good team this year so far. But they also have great players like for example, CJ McCollum who is the second leading scorer for the Trail Blazers. With Lillard and McCollum firing on all cylinders, we will the Trail Blazers to get the win in this game.
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.
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