With the Jazz and Suns both in action, the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference is up for grabs tonight! Look below to find our picks and predictions for not only their games, but the five best NBA matches on Wednesday’s NBA schedule!
Washington Wizards @ Milwaukee Bucks – 8PM ET
The Washington Wizards are on their way to Milwaukee to face the Bucks on Wednesday night in a game that will undoubtedly affect both teams playoff seeding in the Eastern Conferences.
Thanks to a 154-141 victory over the Indiana Pacers on Monday, the Washington Wizards have an 8-2 record from their past 10 games. As a result, Washington has moved into the 10th seed in the east, currently giving them a spot in the Eastern Conference play-in tournament.
Russell Westbrook scored 14 points on 62.5% shooting from the field in the victory over the Pacers, to go along with a career-high 21 rebounds and career-high tying 24 assists. Westbrook’s big night saw him record the third 20+ rebounds and 20+ assists game in NBA history, a feat that only himself and Wilt Chamberlain have ever reached.
Rui Hachimura (27) and Bradley Beal (26) also combined for 53 points as Washington scored a season high 154 points as a team, moving them within half a game of Indiana for ninth place in the East.
Giannis to the rack 😤
— Bleacher Report (@BleacherReport) May 5, 2021
As for the Bucks, they will enter Wednesday’s clash full of confidence having recently defeated the Nets in Milwaukee to extend their active winning streak to three straight games.
Milwaukee’s big-three of Giannis Antetokounpo (36), Khris Middleton (23), and Jrue Holiday (23) combined for 82 points on 49.2% shooting from the field on Tuesday, while Antetokounpo brought in 12 rebounds and Holiday accumulated 10 assists.
Although Milwaukee are on the second night of a back to back and Washington may get more scoring out of their guard duo (Westbook and Beal) than the Bucks will out of Middleton and Holiday, Milwaukee have an impressive 21-10 record at home this season and the Wizards do not have a suitable matchup for the reigning two time MVP Giannis Antetokounpo.
As both sides are hitting their stride at the right time of the year, this game has the potential to be a tightly contested and high scoring encounter. However, we like the Bucks at home on Wednesday night.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Houston Rockets – 8PM ET
The No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference will face the last seed in the West when the Philadelphia 76ers head to Houston to face the lowly Rockets.
The 76ers will enter Wednesday’s matchup with a five game active winning streak behind them, most recently defeating the Bulls in Chicago on Monday. As a result of their recent winning streak, Philadelphia have reclaimed the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference.
Although Joel Embiid had his shooting struggles against the Bulls (13 points at 30.8% FG shooting), the 76ers remaining four starters combined for 70 points on 70.65% shooting from the floor.
Things are looking good for Philly as we approach the playoffs, as the 76ers have an easy schedule to close out the season, the second best record in the league at home, a clean bill of health and have just shown that they can record a 12 point win on the road even with a poor shooting night from their MVP caliber center.
Contrastingly, things are not looking good for the Rockets, as Houston are limping towards the upcoming offseason with the worst record in the NBA.
Although they defeated a full strength Bucks team on Thursday, Houston have since dropped their next two games at home, going down to the Warriors by 26 points on Saturday and most recently the Knicks by 25 points on Sunday, failing to score 100+ points in both losses.
20 year old Kevin Porter Jr. has been the shining light for the Rockets recently, becoming the youngest player to score 50 points in a game during the Houstons seven point win over Milwaukee.
Given that these two teams are in polar opposite situations, we can’t go past the healthy and in-form 76ers to get a confident win over the undermanned Rockets on Wednesday. Complacency will be the only thing that stops Philadelphia from recording a 10+ point victory.
Phoenix Suns @ Atlanta Hawks – 8PM ET
The Atlanta Hawks will host the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday night, as both teams will be looking for a win to improve on their playoff seeding in their respective conferences.
After dropping three straight games on the road, the Hawks have won their two most recent games in Atlanta, defeating the Bulls by 11 on Saturday and the Trail Blazers by nine on Monday.
In their past two wins, Trae Young has returned to his offensive best, averaging 27 points and nine assists, while Clint Capela and John Collins have continued to dominate the glass. Bogdan Bogdnaovic and Danillo Gallinari have been impressive in their debut seasons with the Hawks, averaging 20 and 18.5 points respectively across the two victories.
Chris Paul recorded his 3rd career game with at least 20 points, 15 assists and 0 turnovers.
Since individual turnovers were first tracked in 1977-78, Steve Nash is the only other player with 3 such games. pic.twitter.com/fXi4GEQg8V
— ESPN Stats & Info (@ESPNStatsInfo) May 5, 2021
As a result of their 134-118 overtime victory over the Cavaliers in Cleveland, Phoenix reclaimed the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference prior to Wednesday’s slate of games that will feature both the Suns and the No. 2 seeded Jazz.
Devin Booker led Phoenix in scoring with 31 points on 51.9% shooting from the field. While Chris Paul continued his late MVP run, leading the Suns to a 16 point win with 23 points on 50% shooting to go along with 16 assists and four steals.
Although Atlanta are hitting good form at the right time of the year and have their near best lineup on the floor, we like Phoenix to win this one on the road. With the No. 1 spot in the Western Conference up for grabs, Chris Paul and Devin Booker’s offense should steer the Suns to an important road victory, while DeAndre Ayton is a solid matchup for Clint Capela.
New York Knicks @ Denver Nuggets – 9PM ET
Two of the in-from teams in the league will face off in Denver on Wednesday night when the Nuggets host the Knicks.
Although they recently had their five game winning streak snapped by the Lakers in Los Angeles, Denver are 8-2 in their past 10 games.
For the first time since Jamal Murray’s ACL injury, the Nuggets offense looked a few weapons short on Monday, as Nikola Jokic (32), Michael Porter Jr (19) and JaVale McGee (10) were the only players to score double digit points.
As for the Knicks, they are the only team in the league with a better recent record than the Nuggets, as New York are 9-1 in their past 10 games. The Knicks will enter Wednesday’s clash with a three game winning streak behind them.
During their active streak, New York defeated Chicago by 19 points, Houston by 25 points and Memphis by 14 in their most recent encounter.
Julius Randle has continued his All-NBA caliber season, averaging 31 points per game throughout the Knicks recent stretch of wins, while Derrick Rose has continued to look like one of the best pickups of the season, averaging 18.3 points off the bench in his past three games.
Prior to Rose’s season debut with New York, the Knicks ranked 22nd in three point percentage, 30th in points per game, and 24th in offensive rating. Since re-joining the franchise, New York ranks second in three point percentage, 21st in points per game, and 13th in offensive rating.
As much as New York have been flying recently, facing the Nuggets in Denver has been one of the toughest road trips for opposition teams over the past few weeks. Denver are 13-1 in their past 14 games at home and we like them to continue this solid form in a close encounter on Wednesday.
San Antonio Spurs @ Utah Jazz – 9PM ET
Two teams with playoff aspirations in the Western Conference will face off on Wednesday night when the San Antonio Spurs head to Utah to take on the Jazz for their second consecutive head to head matchup.
Even with Donovan Mitchell on the sidelines for another week, the Jazz comfortably defeated the Spurs by 11 points on Monday thanks to a game high 25 points from Bojan Bogdanovic and a 24 point, 15 rebound performance from Rudy Gobert.
In Mitchell’s absence, Utah have subsidised his missing offense by being the best defensive team in the league through their past 10 games. The Jazz are holding opponents to just 106.3 points per game, while also conceding the fourth-fewest fast break points and bringing in most defensive rebounds.
Bojan Bogdanovic’s last 12 games:
Stepped up big time with Jazz dealing with several injuries pic.twitter.com/VDBwjEwmGk
— SLC Dunk (@slcdunk) May 4, 2021
Subsequently, the Spurs obviously lost their most recent encounter, failing to score 100 points in the 99-110 loss to the Jazz. Monday’s loss was San Antonio’s fourth in a row.
DeMar DeRozan led the team in scoring on Monday with 22 points, however the Spurs were out-rebounded by 13 boards (six on the offensive end), giving the Jazz too many second chance looks and avenues to the basket.
While San Antonio do have a lot to play for (currently in the 10th seed in the West), the lack of a suitable matchup for Rudy Gobert will be the key to Utah’s success in this matchup.
Currently boasting the best defense in the league, best home record in the league and equal best overall record in the league, we like the Jazz to win this one in Utah with the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference on the line
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*Odds and spreads correct at time of publication, courtesy of FanDuel.
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