There are now just two more weeks remaining in the NBA regular season. The action will wrap up on Sunday, April 9, and there is still a lot to be determined with only five teams locked into the playoffs and four teams eliminated from the postseason at this point. The Western Conference is especially tricky to shake out, and every game has outsized importance there with so many teams circling .500. This is the time to get hot, so we’ll see which teams answer the bell and which teams sputter across the finish line.
NBA Betting Odds at BetRivers Sportsbook
Brooklyn Nets at Miami Heat
The Brooklyn Nets have slowly slipped down the standings after throwing in the towel on the Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving era. Brooklyn has a lot of buyer’s remorse considering what the Nets gave up to land Durant and Irving and how much control the two superstars had over the franchise only to position themselves to leave once things started going south. Since the two were traded away in the span of four days in early February, the Nets are 6-12. Interestingly enough, they have shown they can rise to the occasion with road wins over Boston and Denver, and they beat the Miami Heat in that stretch too.
Brooklyn is a much different team now with Mikal Bridges emerging as the top scorer on most nights. Spencer Dinwiddie has positioned himself in a James Harden type role as the second-leading scorer at 18.0 PPG and is averaging 8.4 APG, but the offense just doesn’t have the same bite.
The Nets have lost five straight games prior to Saturday night’s clash with Miami, and four of those were at home. That has led to Miami moving a half-game ahead of Brooklyn in the standings, and if the Heat win here, it is very likely that they make the playoffs proper while the Nets are forced to take part in the Play-In Tournament.
Miami has won seven of its last ten games. The Heat are a frustrating team to bet on and cheer for considering they have a negative point differential. However, this is a veteran team that knows how to keep things in reserve until the playoffs. Jimmy Butler is coming off a strong outing in a win over the Knicks, and the Heat have taken care of business at home all year. Miami is 25-13 on its home court, so lay the points per the NBA betting line with the Heat on Saturday night.
Philadelphia 76ers at Phoenix Suns
Monty Williams did something smart on Thursday when he called out the recent free throw disparity of late against the Phoenix Suns. Over the course of the season, there are times when the calls go against you, but there is a time and place for bringing it up. It’s best to do it before a particularly tough couple games where you know you are facing a physical team or player, and the Suns are talking about it before Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers come to town for a reason.
Embiid is the biggest physical presence in the game today. His games are the toughest to officiate because of his size and strength as he is a callback to the halcyon days of the center. He is gunning for the NBA MVP and has surpassed Nikola Jokic in the eyes of some with his play over the past month, and Embiid is averaging 33.2 PPG, 10.2 RPG, and 4.2 APG on 58.1% shooting from inside the perimeter.
Phoenix doesn’t really have a big to throw at Embiid with Kevin Durant and Deandre Ayton sidelined due to injury. Torrey Craig and Bismack Biyombo have been the team’s leading rebounders in its last two games, so it’s important that Monty Williams aired his grievances with the officiating now. Officials have a tendency to overcorrect the next couple games, and that is likely to help Phoenix get some calls against Embiid and the Sixers.
Philly’s injury situation might work out in favor of Phoenix too. Embiid is dealing with a calf injury, Harden is dealing with an Achilles’ injury, and Jalen McDaniels is banged up as well. The Sixers are playing a back-to-back on the road against Golden State and Phoenix, so we might see one or two players sit for Philly. That makes Phoenix an even better bet by the NBA betting odds.