With just over one week of the NBA’s regular season left, several teams are jostling for the remaining play-off positions. Others are fighting to get homecourt advantage. The fortunate few can prioritise rest and recuperation for the important business that lies ahead.
The Philadelphia 76ers are fighting tooth and nail for every win. A run of just three wins from their last ten games has taken Doug Collins’ side from post-season certainties to the cusp of a swift end to their campaign. Tuesday’s meeting with the Indiana Pacers is the Sixers last home game of the regular season and with Milwaukee in hot pursuit to snatch the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference, they’ll be desperate to come up trumps.
The Pacers look certain to hold onto third place in the East after routing Minnesota on Monday. While Philadelphia couldn’t overcome a short-handed Orlando. On current form, take Indiana at +3 on odds of 1.91 and go over 184.5 points.
The Sixers sense of urgency is mirrored by the New York Knicks who have an identical 31-29 record as their rivals. With Tyson Chandler nursing an injury, and Amare Stoudemire still sidelined, they can at least count on a very favourable run-in on the road that takes in trips to New Jersey, Cleveland and Charlotte to solidify their position.
Boston would clinch a fifth straight Atlantic Division title if they beat the Knicks and Philadelphia loses to Indiana. They had the luxury of leaving out Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett in Sunday’s win over Charlotte but both should return here so back the Celtics at 2.30.
There’s also a market on who will be coaching the Knicks next season. Mike Woodson has done everything possible to get a permanent contract at Madison Square Garden and he’s the favourite at 1.90. But no play-offs would increase the chances of a big-name hire. Jeff van Gundy at odds of 8 is a tempting prospect.
Bet of the Day: Take Indiana over Philadelphia at 1.91.