There are only two weeks remaining in the 2020/21 NBA regular season!
As the regular season draws to a close and we prepare for the upcoming playoffs, make sure you aren’t missing out on our free moneyline picks for the five best games on the NBA’s schedule!
Atlanta Hawks @ Philadelphia 76ers – 7PM ET
In what will be the second night of a back to back for both teams, the Philadelphia 76ers will host the Atlanta Hawks on Wednesday night.
Philadelphia currently sits second in the Eastern Conference with a 40-21 record, one game behind the conference leading Nets. In their last outing, the 76ers welcomed Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons back to the lineup, after the All-Star duo missed Philadelphia’s second consecutive game against the Bucks on Saturday.
Embiid’s 21 points led the team in scoring during Tuesday’s 31 point victory over Oklahoma City, however a fellow five 76ers added 10+ points in what was a solid team performance against a struggling Thunder franchise.
Sixers record when Joel Embiid & Ben Simmons both play this year
28-6 (.823) 🔥🔥
Big if both healthy for playoffs pic.twitter.com/VDvPm6uPnl
— John Clark (@JClarkNBCS) April 27, 2021
As for the Hawks, they have won seven of their last 10 games, despite most recently going down to the Pistons in Detroit by 14 points. Atlanta’s recent stretch of form has been tainted by an unfortunate run of injuries. Kevin Huerter suffered an injury against Detroit, joining Lou Williams in the list of doubtful starters against Philadelphia, with Trae Young and De’Andre Hunter both already on the sidelines.
However, Clint Capela and Bogdan Bogdanovic will still be taking the floor for Atlanta, both of whom have seen an upturn in form since the All-Star break. Averaging 15.5 points on 59.5% shooting to go along with 14.7 rebounds, 2.1 blocks and 0.7 steals per game rebounds per game, Capela will have the opportunity to go toe to toe with one of the best centers in the league, Joel Embiid.
Having been handed a heavy defeat by the lowly Pistons in their last game, the undermanned Atlanta Hawks are going to struggle to compete with the full strength 76ers in Philadelphia. Especially when considering that Philadelphia have a top 3 record in the league at home this season.
Charlotte Hornets @ Boston Celtics – 7:30PM ET
Two sides on the cusp of the sixth playoff spot in the Eastern Conference will face off when the Boston Celtics host the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday.
After defeating a full strength Phoenix Suns lineup without Jaylen Brown on Thursday, it looked as if Boston were ready to make an end of season run to propel themselves into the top four seeds in the East. However, the Celtics have since dropped games against the Nets, Hornets and most recently the Thunder, leaving them in the mix for a spot in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.
The Celtics took on an inexperienced Oklahoma City lineup in Boston on Tuesday without Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker and Robert Williams, and suffered a 119-115 loss as a result. Jaylen Brown (39) and Payton Pritchard (28) combined for 67 points in the loss.
Similarly, the Hornets lost their most recent outing, going down to the Bucks by 10 points in Milwaukee. Although Devonte Graham put up a team high 25 points, Terry Rozier managed just eight points on 23.5% shooting from the field.
Kemba Walker won’t be reevaluated until Thursday, however Boston will likely welcome both Jayson Tatum and Robert Williams back to the lineup for Wednesday’s rematch against Charlotte.
With that in mind, we like the Celtics to return to the winners list on Wednesday, redeeming themselves for Sunday’s 21 point loss to the Hornets with an important win in Boston.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Washington Wizards – 7PM ET
The Washington Wizards will host the Los Angeles Lakers in the nation’s capital on Wednesday night.
After winning their eighth consecutive game against the Cavaliers on Sunday, Washington were on their longest active winning streak since 2001, when Michael Jordan was on their roster.
However, the Wizard stretch of wins came to an end the following night, going down 146-143 to the Spurs in Washington on Monday night. 45 points for Bradley Beal and a 22 point triple-double for Russell Westbrook wasn’t enough to keep Washington’s winning streak alive.
Westbrook leads the team in rebounds, assists, steals and minutes played this season, while also scoring the second most points per game. The 2017 MVP was the key to Washington’s overtime victory against the Lakers in the two team’s last outing, putting up 33 points, 14 rebounds and nine assists in the three point win.
Russell Westbrook has:
– 20 triple-doubles in his last 30 games
– 18 triple-doubles in his last 25
– 16 triple-doubles in his last 20
– 13 triple-doubles in his last 15
– 9 triple-doubles in his last 10
Oscar Robertson never had any spans of this kind in his career. pic.twitter.com/y1HdcoPIf2
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) April 24, 2021
Contrastingly for the Lakers, they snapped a three game losing streak in their last outing against the Magic, defeating Orlando 114-103. Monday’s victory was Anthony Davis’ first win since returning to the lineup, as the All-Star big man added 18 points and eight rebounds. Kyle Kuzma, Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and Andre Drummond combined for 66 points on 62% shooting in the victory.
As Los Angeles continues to get minutes into Davis, while also waiting for LeBron James to return to the lineup, a cross country road trip to face a fiery Wizards team (that is fighting for a playoff spot) is not what the reigning champions need.
As Washington have won their last five games by an average of 8.4 points while shooting 49.3% from the field, the Wizards are clearly playing their best basketball of the season. With that in mind, we like Washington to return to the winners list at home on Wednesday.
New Orleans Pelicans @ Denver Nuggets – 9PM ET
With both sides coming into this matchup after resounding wins in their most recent games, the Denver Nuggets will host the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night.
As a result of their 24 points victory over Memphis on Monday, Denver have continued their solid run of form since losing Jamal Murray to an ACL injury earlier this month. The Nuggets have won seven of their past 10 games, largely thanks to the increased production of Michael Porter Jr.
MPJ is averaging 24.8 points on 55%/42.2%/81.8% shooting splits in his last 10 games, to go along with 7.5 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 35.9 minutes per game. However, while Porter has admirably filled the void left by Murray, Denver would not be the No. 4 seed in the Western Conference unless Nikola Jokic continued his MVP caliber season.
Jokic ranks top five in the league for total points (third), rebounds (fifth) and assists (second) this season, and has arguably been the most durable superstar in the league this year.
The Pelicans are also entering Wednesday’s matchup fresh off a double digit victory, having defeated the Clippers by 17 points in New Orleans on Monday. Zion Williamson led the team in scoring with 23 points on 72.7% shooting from the field, while Brandon Ingram, Willy Hernangomez, Lonzo Ball, Eric Bledsoe and Wenyen Gabriel all added 10+ points in the win.
Williamson recently became the first NBA player since Michael Jordan to score 2,000 career points before his 80th game, averaging 26.9 points per game this season (10th in the league) at 61.8% shooting from the field.
Considering Denver boasts an 18-6 record and the third best offense in the league since the All-Star break, we like them to record a third consecutive win at home on Wednesday. Especially when considering that Steven Adams is expected to miss the game for New Orleans, which will move a bench center onto the MVP favorite Nikola Jokic. Jokic already averages 33 points per game in the Nuggets two encounters with the Pelicans this year.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Phoenix Suns – 10PM ET
Two of the best teams in the league will face off in Phoenix on Wednesday night, when the Western Conference’s second seeded Suns host the third ranked Los Angeles Clippers.
Los Angeles recently had their four game winning streak snapped by New Orleans on Monday, going down to the Pelicans by 17 points without Kawhi Leonard. Paul George hit just one of his six three point attempts in the loss.
Although Leonard is expected to return on Wednesday, Serge Ibaka and Patrick Beverly have already been ruled out, and Paul George and Nicolas Batum are listed as doubtful for this match.
Los Angeles have been one of the best teams in the league since the All-Star break, however as we approach the final 10 games of the regular season, the Clippers need to get their best lineup on the floor together.
As for Phoenix, they recently brought an end to New York’s nine game winning streak. After suffering losses to the Celtics and Nets on their east coast road trip, the Suns defeated the Knicks 118-110 on Monday, bringing an end to their own two game losing streak.
Chris Paul puts the game away from deep at MSG! pic.twitter.com/x288QBb1nn
— NBA (@NBA) April 27, 2021
Devin Booker scored a game high 33 points on 53.8% shooting from the field in New York, while Chris Paul and Mikal Bridges added 21 and 20 points respectively.
Although Los Angeles defeated Phoenix each of the last two times these teams have faced off, including a 113-103 victory on April 8th, we like Phoenix to win this matchup at home. Quite simply, the Clippers are seriously undermanned for this game, while the Suns have a clean bill of health and will be returning home, where they have an impressive 23-9 record.
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.
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