NBA Games of the Week March 5th-March 11th
Jan. 2, 2018 - Source: Gene Sweeney Jr./Getty Images North America
Monday March 5th
Milwaukee Bucks at Indiana Pacers (7PM EST)
This is the fourth and final game of the season series between these two teams. This game has huge meaning for both teams. The Pacers lost the first game by 21 points before taking the most recent two contests by 13 points and 7 points. Both teams will come into this game having played important games on Sunday that could have huge playoff implications. Winning this game would guarantee that the Pacers hold the head to head advantage over the Bucks.
The Bucks have lost four in a row heading into their game on Sunday with the 76ers. They are currently in the 7th seed in the Eastern Conference and are only a half game ahead of the 8th seeded Miami Heat, but thanks to the free falling Pistons, the Bucks may not be in too much danger. They have to start winning games if they hope to avoid the top seeds in the East.
The Pacers have a huge game on Sunday with the Wizards and winning that game would propel them to the top four of the East. They are currently the 5th seed in the East and being able to host a first round series would be huge for a team that traded away their franchise player in the off-season. They are only one game behind Cleveland for the 3rd seed in the East. What a great season for the Pacers.
Tuesday March 6th
Houston Rockets at Oklahoma City Thunder (8PM EST)
This will be the second game of the season series between these two teams with one more game coming in April. The Thunder won the first match-up by 5 points, but it is important to note that Chris Paul was not active for the Rockets in that game.
The Rockets have been the hottest team in the league and are currently on a 15 game winning streak. They have not lost since the end of January and despite their amazing play, they are only a half game ahead of the Warriors for the number one spot in the West. They are also coming off of a big Saturday night win against the Celtics in a great game that came down to the wire. The Rockets want the one seed and in order to do that they have to continue to win games.
The Thunder have touted that although they have struggled against bad teams, they have had success against the good teams. A win here would give this team more confidence, but a beatdown would put them further down the Western Conference standings. They are currently in the 7th seed and although tied with the 5th and 6th seeds, they are two games back in the loss column to the Spurs, who are in the 5th seed. The Thunder have to get it together, but even if they lose this game, I would not want to see the Thunder in the 1st round if I am the Warriors or Rockets.
Wednesday March 7th
Toronto Raptors at Detroit Pistons (8PM EST)
The Raptors seem to be on cruise control. They are only a game and a half ahead of the Celtics for the number one spot, but they have won 9 of their last 10 games and are on a 3 game winning streak. Looking at their remaining schedule, it is hard to imagine that they will not be the one seed come playoff time.
The Pistons are free falling. They are four games behind Miami and have won just 2 of their last 10 games. It is looking more and more likely that they will not make the playoffs. They dropped a tough game in Miami on Saturday night and with a game in Cleveland on Monday, their playoff chances might take another huge hit coming into this game. It is hard to imagine that their team will stay intact if they don’t make the playoffs. Pretty much every game is do or die for this team.
Thursday March 8th
Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat (7:30PM EST)
This is the fourth and final game of the season series between these two teams. The 76ers won the first two contests in Philly by 6 points and 2 points. The third game in Miami was taken by the Heat with a final score of 102-101. All three games have been close and these two teams are separated by just two games in the standings. This game could shift the playoff picture big time.
The 76ers have to be feeling pretty good. Heading into a Sunday game with the Bucks, the young Sixers have won 8 of their last 10 games and have added some nice pieces to their roster through buyouts. They also went into Cleveland and got a win against a Cavs team that they might see in the 1st round of the playoffs. With that being said, their game in Milwaukee on Sunday starts a four game road trip that is vital for the 76ers. Getting three or four of their road games could propel the Sixers to a higher seed and maybe home court in the playoffs.
The Heat have struggled mightily as of late going 4-6 in their last 10. As I have mentioned though, the Detroit Pistons have stunk and the Heat have not had a great deal of pressure. The Heat are a scary team and with their schedule down the stretch, they could easily shoot up the standings in the East. They are only three games behind Washington for the fourth seed. As if the Heat needed any more motivation for this game, by winning they give themselves a chance to get the head to head advantage over the Sixers. With a loss, the Sixers hold the advantage.
Friday March 9th
Golden State Warriors at Portland Trail Blazers (10PM EST)
This is the third and final game of the season between these two teams. They have split the first two games with Golden State taking the 1st game by 7 points at home and Portland taking the 2nd game by 6 points at home. The third game is in Portland.
The Warriors have “struggled” as of late. However, struggling for them seems to be not winning 10 games in a row. At the moment, the Warriors are not the number one seed in the West and it is unclear if it means anything to them. They will have an easier schedule the rest of the way, but it is unclear if they care about the regular season or if they are ready for the playoffs. They were beaten soundly by this Portland team before the All-Star break and it will be interesting to see if this turns into one of the patented, “You’ve pissed off the Warriors and now you lose by 20” games or not.
The Trail Blazers currently find themselves as the number three seed in the Western Conference after beating the Thunder on Saturday. Portland has somehow become a good defensive team this season and Lillard and McCollum have continued to get buckets. This team does not fear the Warriors despite their struggles against them. The bad news for the Trail Blazers is that only three games separate them from the 9th place Clippers. This means that any stretch of bad play could vaporize their playoff hopes. They have to win games.
Saturday March 10th
San Antonio Spurs at Oklahoma City Thunder (8:30PM EST)
This is the third game of the four game season series between these two teams. They split the first two games with the Spurs winning their home game by 3 points and the Thunder winning their home game by 3 points. The third and fourth games of this season series will be huge because it is likely these two teams will have close records. Winning these games could decide if these teams make the playoffs or not.
The Spurs’ Kawhi Leonard drama has somewhat distracted people from the far more interesting story of the Spurs possibly losing their 50 game winning streak. They are struggling and are 2-8 in their last 10 games. Their schedule does not really get much easier and it is hard to imagine them getting a top four seed in the playoffs and with the Clippers and Jazz playing well, the Spurs are in real danger of missing the playoffs. They need this game, but it comes in the middle of a brutal three game road trip where they will play the Warriors, Thunder, and Rockets in succession. We could see the Spurs out of the playoffs come next week.
The Thunder really need the advantage over the Spurs and really have to buckle down and start winning games. The Thunder seem to struggle against teams they should beat and this wounded San Antonio team should be an easy game for them. Losing this game would be a huge blow to their confidence and playoff hopes.
Sunday March 11th
Utah Jazz at New Orleans Pelicans (4PM EST)
This is the fourth and final game of the season series between these two teams. The Jazz hold the head to head advantage having won two of the three games. The Jazz took the first game at home by 6 points, but lost the 2nd game at home by 10 points. They followed up those two games by destroying the Pelicans on the road by 24 points.
The Jazz have lost two of their five games since the All-Star break, but have remained in 10th place in the standings. They are only two games behind Denver for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The remaining schedule for the Jazz will give them the chance to beat up on some tanking teams and if other Western Conference teams struggle, it would be easy to see the Jazz make it to the postseason.
The Pelicans were supposed to be done after the Boogie injury, but they have managed to stay afloat and actually rise up in the standings thanks to Anthony Davis’ superhuman performances as of late. They have won seven games in a row heading into a Sunday game with the Mavericks. The Pelicans have really surprised people with their play and if they could stay in the playoffs it would be huge for a team that lost an All-Star to injury. They need this game with the Jazz to have a chance for the head to head advantage.