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NBA Weekend Preview
As the NBA regular season draws closer and closer to its conclusion, the stretch of games to come is vital for teams looking to secure the best possible playoff positioning. That puts some extra importance on games around the NBA this weekend, where statement wins could lead to big time momentum heading into the stretch run and eventual postseason play. These are the games you need to keep an eye on in the NBA this weekend.
1. Miami Heat vs. Toronto Raptors
Both of these teams have been red hot as of late, with the Miami Heat looking to continue to climb the standings in the Eastern Conference as they currently sit in fourth place. Of course, if Miami stays in fourth place in the East, they will play the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second round of the playoffs, setting up a huge series against former Heat member LeBron James. Miami has won seven of their last ten games.
Toronto, meanwhile, is just two games back of the top seed in the Eastern Conference, and recently defeated the Cavaliers at home behind a massive effort from all-star guard Kyle Lowry. Another home win here would keep them in position to fight for that number one spot until the final day of the regular season. Toronto has won eight of its last ten games, and has only lost seven times at home this year.
2. Oklahoma City Thunder vs. San Antonio Spurs
So far this season, the San Antonio Spurs have been great, but nobody can possibly be as great as the Golden State Warriors have been this year. That has put the Spurs clearly in the second spot in the Western Conference, while the Oklahoma City Thunder have clearly put themselves in the third spot despite some inconsistent play. This game could be a huge opportunity for the Thunder to prove that they are a bigger threat to the Warriors than the Spurs are.
Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook are clearly more talented than any one player on the Spurs, but the Spurs’ ball movement and depth blow Oklahoma City’s out of the water, and should be what sets the two teams apart in this crucial Western Conference clash. One matchup that won’t receive much press but will be very interesting will be the battle between power forwards, as San Antonio’s LaMarcus Aldridge and Oklahoma City’s Serge Ibaka are two of the best in the league at that position on the floor.
3. Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Los Angeles Clippers
It will be interesting to see which Cavaliers and Clippers teams show up to this game, as both teams have been wildly inconsistent as of late. Both teams need to continue winning in order to keep their current seeding in their respective conferences, and a win here could be a huge momentum boost for either team as they look to finish the regular season strong. Expect DeAndre Jordan of the Clippers to have a big day against an undersized Cleveland team.
By: Jason M. Sanin