The only thing you could fit between the 6th and the 12th seed in the Western Conference right now is the thinning patience the rest of the league has with Dillon Brooks. Seven teams are fighting for that guaranteed 6-slot in the playoffs and the four spots in the play-in tournament. You’ll see three of them tonight in ESPN’s doubleheader.
The Warriors, currently 6th at 37-36, are on the road in Dallas. Outside of 90049, Golden State hasn’t been so golden. The defending champs have won just a mind-boggling eight games away from the Chase Center; in last year’s playoffs, they won five. They still have the age-defying Steph Curry who is averaging 31.3 points since the All-Star break and hitting a ridiculous 45.4% from behind the arc. Klay Thompson has rounded into form as well, scoring 23.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 2.3 assists. The Mavericks are just a half-game behind, but both Kyrie Irving and Luka Doncic are questionable heading into the critical matchup. Doncic has missed the last five games with a strained left thigh and Dallas has won just two of them. While their record doesn’t reflect it (6-7), Irving has played well for the Mavs, averaging 28.4 points and 6.1 assists.
Without Kevin Durant, the Suns (38-33) have been jockeying with the Clippers (38-35) for homecourt advantage in a potential 4 vs. 5 series. After winning their first three games with KD, Phoenix has managed just two wins over their last six games without him. For Phoenix, Devin Booker has done most of the heavy lifting; he’s 4th in the league in scoring (32.4 points per game) since All-Star Weekend. In LA, the Lakers have weathered LeBron James’ absence since he “heard a pop” with a 6-5 record. They’re currently on the outside looking in at a play-in spot at 35-37 on the back of Anthony Davis’ All-NBA play. The Lakers finish off the week with three straight home games at The Crypt before hitting the road for a five-game road trip.
With the uncertainty surrounding Irving’s and Doncic’s availability and despite Golden State’s road record, the Warriors are 1.5-point favorites visiting the Mavericks. In the night cap, the Suns are also road favorites in LA at -1.5, too.
While Booker has carried the scoring load, Chris Paul has used the final stretch of the regular season to round into playoff form. After an underwhelming February, CP3 is averaging a double-double in March. Our friends at DraftKings have an enticing quick single game parlay for Suns-Lakers: if Paul scores +20 points and dishes out 5+ assists and grabs 5+ rebounds, DK will give you +600 odds. With one of his banana boat buddies on the sidelines, we’re betting he puts on a show in Hollywood.
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