The NBA Playoffs are just around the corner, as there are only nine days left in the regular season. Five of the six division titles have been settled, as San Antonio and Dallas battle for the Southwest title and the top seed overall in the West.
Below is a look at all six NBA games for Tuesday night, including all the key injuries and playoff scenarios for each team.
TORONTO in MIAMI (-11, 205)
Double-digit underdogs on extended losing streaks are a long-term 65% ATS play over the years, but the Raptors are a risky proposition as they appear to have thrown in the towel on the season. Toronto is just 26-51 SU and has lost eight straight games since leading scorer Chris Bosh was injured against Milwaukee on March 26. Bosh is now out of season and led the team in scoring (22.5 points per game) and rebounds (9.2 points per game).
Miami has clinched the Southeast Division, but they still have to play hard as they have just a 2½ game lead over New Jersey for the second seed overall in the Eastern Conference playoffs. Despite the need to win, the Heat are only 5-6 SU in their last eleven games, including a weak 2-4 SU this month.
Toronto has played well against Miami this season and the Raptors held a 16-point lead at halftime in their most recent meeting on March 29. Miami played without Shaquille O’Neal in that game and posted an eventual 98-94 victory. Toronto is still covered as a 5½-point home underdog and overall the Raptors are 3-0 ATS against the Heat this season.
MINNESOTA in MEMPHIS (-11 ½)
The Timberwolves are having a very disappointing season and have long been eliminated from the playoff race with a SU record of 32-45. Minnesota has been particularly bad on the road at 8-30 SU (16-22 ATS), including a recent 0-13 SU record since early February.
Minnesota has made a commitment to youth as the Timberwolves did not play with their top two scorers, Kevin Garnett and Ricky Davis, in Sunday’s 84-83 home win over Atlanta. Garnett had started 351 consecutive games as of Sunday and could miss the rest of the season due to tendonitis in his right knee, while Davis is also questionable to play again due to a groin injury.
Garnett leads the team in scoring (21.8 points per game), rebounds (12.7 points per game) and blocks (1.4 points per game), while ranking second in steals (1.4 points per game). ) and third in assists (4.1 points per game). Ricky Davis is second on the team in scoring (19.1 points per game) and assists (4.8 points per game) since being traded from the Celtics in late January.
The Clippers’ loss on Monday has now moved the Grizzlies to the fifth seed in the Western Conference, which is actually bad news for Memphis as they would now face either Dallas or San Antonio in the first round. If Memphis had remained in sixth place, the Grizzlies would have faced Denver.
SEATTLE at SAN ANTONIO (-10 ½, 201)
The Supersonics were one of the best teams in the league last season, but they have underperformed this year and Seattle is out of the playoff race with a 33-43 SU (33-42-1 ATS) record. Despite the disappointing season, the Sonics are actually playing their best basketball of the season and are 6-2 SU / ATS in their last eight games, including an impressive outright loss to Phoenix on Sunday as a 4-point home underdog.
San Antonio is currently the No. 1 seed in the Western Conference, but they are just half a game ahead of the Mavericks in the Southwest Division and San Antonio would drop to No. 4 if they are outmatched by Dallas.
The Spurs overcame a nine-point deficit Sunday to defeat Memphis 83-81 and did so without Manu Ginobili, who missed the game with a calf injury. Ginobili is likely to return tonight and leads the team in steals (1.6 points per game), is second in assists (3.6 points per game) and is third in scoring (15.1 points per game).
NEW JERSEY (-1 ½, 182 ½) in CHICAGO
The Nets remain the most popular team in the league, ranking 15-1 SU (11-4-1 ATS) over the past month. New Jersey’s only loss during this span was last Saturday when they blew an 11-point lead at home against Cleveland. New Jersey bounced back with an easy 95-83 road win at Milwaukee on Sunday and are now just 2½ games behind Miami for the second-overall seed in the Eastern Conference.
Chicago is also in the running for the playoffs and the Bulls are currently half a game behind Philadelphia for last place in the East. Two very different results for the Bulls in their last two games, as Chicago easily won at Philadelphia last Wednesday, 99-92, in which they led by 17 points and never lost. The Bulls then battled Philadelphia at home on Saturday and lost 89-75 in a game in which they trailed by 26 points.
PHOENIX in SACRAMENTO (-4 ½)
The Suns have secured the Pacific division and are locked in for second place in the Western Conference. The Suns cannot improve or damage their position and have nothing to play for next week as they are eight games behind Dallas and 6½ games ahead of Memphis with just six games to play.
Phoenix will finish with the third-best record in the conference and are likely to rest key players over the next week, including point guard Steve Nash, who is battling a hamstring injury.
Sacramento is currently 41-37 SU and tied with the Lakers for the seventh seed in the Western Conference. The Kings have the tiebreaker and are just 3½ games behind the Clippers for the sixth seed.
GOLDEN STATUS in LA LAKERS (-8 ½)
The Warriors were 4-1 SU (5-0 ATS) after losing point guard Baron Davis during the season in mid-March, but have since struggled and gone 0-8 SU (2-5-1 ATS) in the last eight. games. The Warriors also didn’t have their leading scorer Jason Richardson on Saturday when they lost 95-92 in Denver. Richardson is averaging 23.5 points per game and is expected to return tonight.
The Lakers are currently tied with Sacramento for last place in the Western Conference playoffs, but Los Angeles would be the eighth seed due to a tiebreaker deficit.
Los Angeles has recently made a commitment to defense and are 10-2 down in regulation play in their last twelve games. The team is also a solid 8-2-2 ATS during that span. The Lakers Under’s recent success will be put to the test tonight, as the Over are 9-1 in their last ten head-to-head meetings against Golden State.
STEVE MERRIL is a professional sports handicap and a documented member of the Professional Handicappers League. Get your Premium plays here.