Basketball

NBA regular season comes to an end with exciting matchups

Friday, April 06, 2018

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Week 25 of the NBA regular season ends this weekend and, with less than two weeks to go before the playoffs, seeds #3 to #8 in both conferences are too close to call. The first and second seeds are basically set in the East and West, but their respective opponents in the first round of the play-offs will determine the level of resistance they will face. The see-saw at the bottom of both tables will continue until April 11th, but the battles will be intense and NBA fans are in for a treat.

Some of the strong contenders are sputtering to the end of the regular season, while others with 'average' seasons (including LeBron James' Cleveland Cavaliers) are charging towards the post-season with renewed ambition. In the East, the Philadelphia 76ers are on an 11-game win streak and the Cleveland Cavaliers have won 9 of their last 10. In the West, both the Utah Jazz and the San Antonio Spurs have also won nine of their last 10. This augurs well for basketball fans who are hoping for keenly contested matchups in the play-offs.

The Golden State Warriors are closing the season with surprisingly inconsistent performances, but still remain (only slight) JustBet favourites at $2.10 to win the league. The Houston Rockets, who have already had their best season ever with 63 wins, have continued to widen their lead in the standings and are now being offered as a close second favourite at $2.50.

The listing of games for this weekend is provided below and full details of all the betting options and odds are available at the nearest JustBet location or online at www.justbetja.com.

There are a number of key games listed, but here is a look at some must-see matchups for this weekend.

OKLAHOMA CITY THUNDER (45-34) at HOUSTON ROCKETS (63-15)

In part one of a blistering double-header this Saturday night, the scorching hot Houston Rockets will welcome an Oklahoma City Thunder team that is hell-bent on beating themselves. On Tuesday night the Golden State Warriors visited Oklahoma City and, despite a 44-point, 16-rebound performance by Russell Westbrook, came out with a 111-107 victory. After a game where Carmelo Anthony and Paul George combined for nine-of-35 shooting, the team is now left in a precarious position where they may not only miss out on home court advantage in the first round, but may miss the post-season altogether. The Rockets will therefore face a desperate team this weekend and Westbrook will make every attempt to energise his 'star-quality' teammates.

This will be the last of three meetings between these teams in the regular season and they split the first two which were both played in Oklahoma City. The Rockets faced the Thunder in late December without Chris Paul and lost 107-112 with Westbrook, Anthony and George all contributing significantly. They again visited Oklahoma City in early March, this time armed with Paul (plus a 15-game win streak) and, despite balanced contributions for the Thunder's big-three, emerged 122-112 winners. The Thunder team will be frantically trying to improve their #6 ranking over the few remaining games, but the Rockets are currently 33-6 at home and James Harden is hell-bent on taking home the MVP award this year, therefore his opponents will be facing an uphill battle in this game. Westbrook aside, the Thunder's good shooters are missing a lot of good shots and it's hard to see anything changing for this game. Westbrook will keep it close, but, he's finding good help hard to come by. A Rocket win is anticipated.

NEW ORLEANS PELICANS (44-33) at GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (57-21)

In part two of an intense double-header on Saturday night which unfortunately will have the same start time as part one, the Western Conference #2 seed will host the current #8. This will be the fourth and last meeting of these teams in the regular season, and the Golden State Warriors are leading the series 3-0 with an average victory margin of 11 points. However, in the first three meetings the Warriors were at full strength, but are now shorthanded with Stephen Curry, Andre Iguodala, Draymond Green and Shaun Livingston out or listed as day-to-day due to injuries.

While the Warriors have safely cemented the #2 spot in the Western Conference, they are struggling for momentum heading into the play-offs. Their victory over the Thunder on Tuesday night would have contributed significantly to the confidence level, but the win had less to do with the Warriors' strong performance and more to do with their opponent's lack thereof.

The New Orleans Pelicans are currently perched perilously at the last play-off position in the Western Conference and will need top-shelf performances from Anthony Davis and Rajon Rondo to maintain or improve their standing. A few weeks ago the result of this game would have been a foregone conclusion, but with the spate of injuries to key Golden State players the scoreline is expected to be close. However, the Warriors are at home, pride is on the line and the chance of them losing is highly unlikely.

JustBet still offers the best odds and bet options for the NBA and European basketball so place your bets early at one of the over 100 locations on the prediction of your choice for maximum winnings. Additionally, to enhance the betting options, JustBet offers odds on selected player points spread.

The NBA Playoffs are a few weeks away, but if it started today, the standings would be as follows:

Friday, April 6 - Week 25
TIME HOME TEAM AWAY TEAM
19:00 Detroit Pistons Dallas Mavericks
Orlando Magic Charlotte Hornets
Philadelphia 76ers Cleveland Cavaliers
Washington Wizards Atlanta Hawks
19:30 Boston Celtics Chicago Bulls
NY Knicks Miami Heat
Toronto Raptors Indiana Pacers
20:00 Memphis Grizzlies Sacramento Kings
22:00 Phoenix Suns New Orleans Pelicans
22:30 LA Lakers Minnesota Timberwolves
Saturday, April 7 - Week 25
TIME HOME TEAM AWAY TEAM
15:30 LA Clippers Denver Nuggets
19:30 New York Knicks Milwaukee Bucks
20:00 Chicago Bulls Brooklyn Nets
20:30 Houston Rockets Oklahoma City Thunder
Golden State Warriors New Orleans Pelicans
21:00 San Antonio Spurs Portland Trail Blazers
Sunday, April 8 - Week 25
TIME HOME TEAM AWAY TEAM
13:00 Charlotte Hornets Indiana Pacers
Philadelphia 76ers Dallas Mavericks
Boston Celtics Atlanta Hawks
15:30 Memphis Grizzlies Detroit Pistons
18:00 Toronto Raptors Orlando Magic
LA Lakers Utah Jazz
21:00 Phoenix Suns Golden State Warriors
Monday, April 9 - Week 26
TIME HOME TEAM AWAY TEAM
19:00 Detroit Pistons Toronto Raptors
19:30 Brooklyn Nets Chicago Bulls
Miami Heat Oklahoma City Thunder
NY Knicks Cleveland Cavaliers
20:00 Milwaukee Bucks Orlando Magic
Minnesota Timberwolves Memphis Grizzlies
20:30 San Antonio Spurs Sacramento Kings
21:00 Denver Nuggets Portland Trail Blazers
22:30 LA Clippers New Orleans Pelicans

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