How much is the number one play-off seeding worth? Quite a lot. Which is why the Miami Heat’s clash with the Chicago Bulls tonight might be the most intriguing game left in the NBA’s regular season.
Heat v Bulls
Chicago, with a 47-15 record, visit Miami (44-17) who have a healthy margin over their closest rivals for the top spot in the Eastern Conference with just three games left to play. Victory would assure their supremacy, however this is not just a private duel. The two teams would dearly love to finish ahead of the best of the West – with San Antonio and Oklahoma City both hovering on 45 victories. Having rested Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh in Miami’s easy win over Toronto on Wednesday, the Heat's Big Three should be back in unison. Meanwhile, the Bulls have been forced to rest Derrick Rose and Luol Deng in their past two games and coach Tom Thibodeau has hinted that their well-being takes precedence over any single game. With this in mind, it’s worth taking the Heat to scorch the Bulls at 1.40.
Suns v Clippers
Another two teams with a lot at stake meet in Phoenix, as the Los Angeles Clippers maintain their push to pip the Lakers and claim the franchise’s first-ever divisional crown. On a five-game winning streak, the Clips impressively despatched Denver on Wednesday to move just ½ game behind their city rivals. Phoenix Suns, who have won every home clash with the Clippers since 2007, are still a ½ game behind Utah in the chase for the eighth play-off place in the West after their 109-97 loss to Oklahoma City on Wednesday, but they may be forced to rush the legendary Grant Hill back into action for what is a tough run-in. The Suns are favoured at -2 (at odds of 1.91) but on current form, take the Clippers for the win. And go over the line of 197.5. Miami Heat to beat Chicago Bulls.