With Thursday signaling the start of the NCAA Tournament, there are just a few games being played in the NBA on Thursday. They still have important implications for playoff standings, with two games sure to mix up the standings. First up we have the Jazz taking on the Hawks, followed by the Pacers playing the Warriors. Check out the odds and see your best picks below!
Game 1: Utah Jazz (42-29) @ Atlanta Hawks (24-48)
Atlanta is eliminated from the playoffs, but that doesn’t mean they can’t still win games. Utah is playing on the second night of a back-to-back, making tonight’s matchup with the Hawks a perfect scenario of a game they shouldn’t lose, but still might. The Jazz are certainly favorites, but don’t be surprised if they look sluggish.
The Jazz romped the Knicks in New York last night, nothing new for Utah in the midst of a 5 game win streak. The Jazz have won their last 5 games by an average of 19 points, although they’ve only played one playoff team in that stretch. With losses all over the Western Conference, the Jazz now find themselves in sole possession of 5th place.
- 19-17 in games played on the road this season.
- Utah is 1-0 against Atlanta this season.
- 7-5 in second game played in back-to-back scenarios.
- Donovan Mitchell is having an excellent March, averaging 27 points on 45% shooting from the field and 42% from three (compared to 42.5% and 34.5% on the season).
- Covered the pointspread in their last 4 games, and 6 times out of the last 10 games.
While the Hawks are officially eliminated from the playoffs, they’ve still got young players needing minutes to grow. Trae Young and John Collins in particular have had excellent years, with both averaging more than 18 points per game. Young is only 20 and Collins is 21, meaning their record should be nothing to despair. Atlanta has a good pair of players to look towards the future with.
- Only 13-22 at home this season.
- Last time the Hawks played Utah, Trae Young went for 28 points and 9 assists, while John Collins added 19.
- Just 2-6 record in last 8 games.
- Miles Plumlee is out with a knee injury.
- Have not covered the pointspread in the last 2 games, but have covered 6 times out of the last 10 games.
Pick: Utah -7.0
This game is really a clash of two good cover teams recently. Both have covered the pointspread in 6 of their last 10 games, but Utah is certainly a favorite tonight. Playing on the second night of a back-to-back will certainly slow them down, but the Jazz have been dominating the past 5 games. Atlanta won’t be able to keep up with Utah’s defense. The Jazz win tonight.
Game 2: Indiana Pacers (44-28) @ Golden State Warriors (48-22)
The final game of Thursday night will showcase the Pacers visiting the Golden State Warriors. The Warriors dominated Indiana last time they met and it doesn’t appear tonight will be any different. Indiana is in the midst of a late season slump, while Golden State has started to find some consistency. Both teams have heavy competition for their place in the standings, so both need a win tonight.
Indiana has overachieved much of the season and is now starting to realize the effects of that. The Pacers are in the toughest stretch of their season, an 8 game stretch in which they play OKC, Denver, Portland, the Clippers, Golden State, Denver again, OKC again, and finally Boston. All of those teams will be in the playoffs. Indiana is currently 1-3 in the middle of that stretch, which gave the 3rd seed in the East to streaking Philly.
- Impressive 27-9 road record this season.
- Just 2-5 in their last 7 games.
- Just 2 games left against non-playoff teams.
- Darren Collison is questionable for the game. Collison scored 13 points and dished 8 assists in a 132-100 loss to Golden State back in January.
- Have not covered the pointspread in the last two games, and have covered just 4 of the last 10 games.
Despite all indications pointing towards turmoil within Golden State, the Dubs have won a few key games and still hold 1st place in the Western Conference. Now that KD has returned from injury, the Warriors just need to be themselves to hold on to it. The Warriors blew the Pacers out last time they met, tonight shouldn’t be any different.
- Lackluster 24-10 home record for the Dubs this season.
- Just 3 games against playoff teams after tonight.
- Curry had 26 points on lights-out 10/13 shooting in the win against Indiana in January.
- Kevin Durant is healthy and will play. DeMarcus Cousins is expected to play.
- Covered the pointspread last game and 3 of the last 4. Only covered 4 times in the last 10 games though.
Pick: Golden State Warriors -11.5
This game is a no-brainer, and will likely favor Golden State even further as we get closer to the start of the game. The game is being played in Golden State, the Warriors will have their starting lineup, and the Pacers are slumping lately. Because the Dubs are such heavy favorites, you might consider picking against them and betting on the spread, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see a complete blowout tonight. Either way, Expect Golden State to win.