With only two nights of action remaining before the All-Star break, a clear picture is emerging of the final playoff standings.
The Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Lakers still lead the way in their respective conferences. Milwaukee have been dominant this season and Giannis Antetokounmpo is set to win his second MVP award in a row. Mike Budenholzer’s team are on course to be only the third team to win over 70 games in a NBA regular season.
They face the Pacers on Wednesday night in their last game before the break.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Indiana Pacers
12th February 2020 7:35PM
This Central Division match-up has taken on added importance in the Eastern Conference thanks to the Indiana Pacers’ current losing streak. Nate McMillan’s side spent the early part of the season in the mix with the Eastern Conference big hitters.
However, things have gone downhill since Domantas Sabonis’ All-Star selection and Victor Oladipo’s return to the starting line-up. They have now lost their last six in a row and it’s clear that McMillan is struggling to reintegrate Oladipo back into the starting rotation.
In contrast, the Bucks are going from strength-to-strength at the top of the standings. They have won 14 of their last 15 games including Monday night’s defeat of the Kings without Giannis Antetokounmpo. He looks set to return after the birth of his first child and he has recorded some big performances against the Pacers this season. He has accounted for 44 points and 32 rebounds in their two meetings this season.
Looking ahead to this one, it’s going to be close. The Pacers need a win to get themselves back on track for the final run-in to the playoffs. They will just shade it against the Bucks.
Miami Heat @ Utah Jazz
12th February 2020 9:05PM
4th in the West faces 4th in the East on Wednesday night as Miami head to Utah. It’s fair to say that these teams are evenly matched – both boasting a 35-18 record.
At this stage, Utah are a seasoned playoff team. They have featured in the top half of the Western Conference for the last three seasons although they have yet to make it past the Conference Semi-Finals stage. Their title hopes have been dashed by the Rockets and Warriors in recent years and that pair’s downfall could give the Jazz reason for optimism.
Miami have been one of the surprise packages of the season. They have only won one playoff series since LeBron James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh were on the roster and they finished 10th in the Eastern Conference last year.
Jimmy Butler has led the team in points and assists and he has been ably assisted by fellow All-Star selection Bam Adebayo. They have struggled in the last week losing three of their four games although a home seeding playoff position should be well within their reach.
Utah have one of the best home records in the league and for that reason we’re backing them to win at -200 with CanPlay.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Boston Celtics
13th February 2020 8PM
The Clippers close out their east coast road trip with a visit to TD Garden and Brad Stevens’ Boston Celtics.
It has been a less than successful trip so far with one win and two defeats. Their most recent loss came against the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night where Paul George struggled against Tobias Harris and Ben Simmons.
They face a Celtics team in good form having won eight of their last ten in the Association. That has lifted them up to 3rd place in the East. Jayson Tatum is putting up MVP numbers since his All-Star inclusion was announced.
Expect the Clippers to head back to Los Angeles with another loss on their record. Coach Stevens is constructing a title challenger in Boston.
Bet on the Celtics to win with CanPlay.