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Two NBA tips for the NBA Play-In Tournament. One MLB tip exclusively on Patreon.
We finished the regular season 102-70 in the NBA, but none of that matters now. It’s time for the playoffs.
Two big ones tonight as the winners will be off until the weekend while the losers will have to play on Friday in a fight for their playoff lives. It should be fun.
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Cleveland Cavaliers at Brooklyn Nets Betting Tips:
The Nets are the team that everyone is afraid of in these playoffs as they will have Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving healthy for the time being. When those two have played together this season the Nets have a 11-6 record. One the those games was against Cleveland, a game the Nets won by 11 points. The team has scored 123.6 points per 100 possessions with Durant and Irving on the floor after the Harden trade.
The Cavaliers season has been downhill since they lost Jarrett Allen to an injury and he won’t be back for this one. The defense went from great to sixth in the NBA in Defensive Rating over the last fifteen games of the season. That is going to be a big problem in this match-up with the quality of the Brooklyn offense. The Nets are a big favorite here for a reason.
The line has continued to climb with the Nets now a -9.5 favorite. I know that they can win by a number that high, but the question is will they?
I think they can. When I looked at the last 15 games stats I was surprised to see the Nets ranking ninth in Defensive Rating. This team is all about the offense, but Durant is an incredible defender and the lineups with Andre Drummond have defended well. Steve Nash is not shy about playing his players big minutes and a win here means this team won’t play again until Sunday. I think they put the foot on the gas here and don’t let it up until the final whistle.
Pick: Nets -9.5
Los Angeles Clippers at Minnesota Timberwolves Betting Tips:
This is the game of the night and maybe the game of the entire play-in tournament. The Clippers have been a tough out all season and the return of Paul George has really made them look like a threat. They ended the season 4-1 in games George played in since the return. He averaged 22.6 points, 6.8 assists and 5.6 rebounds in those games.
The Wolves really had a breakout this season with Karl-Anthony Towns finally starting to play to his potential. This is really a huge game for him as it is his opportunity to finally prove some of his doubters wrong. The team has really turned it up since the All-Star break as they have the third best Offensive Rating in the league since that time. The Defensive Rating is also in the top half of the league during that time.
Minnesota got the win last time out against the Clippers, but that was a game without Paul George. Prior to that, the Clippers had won six straight against this team.
The Clippers have a huge advantage in the playoff experience department and proven playoff performers. The Wolves had a better record during the regular season, but I’m not sure they are the better team heading into this. The Clippers being 42-40 without having George and Kawhi for much of the season is really impressive. If they had George for the whole season I don’t think they’d be in this play-in game. While the Wolves are playing at their peak to be here.
This is ultimately a battle between youth and veterans, offense and defense. In the playoffs, I lean towards the latter in both categories.
Pick: Clippers +3