The competitiveness of the NBA play-in tournament picked up on Wednesday, with both games in the Western Conference going down to the wire. With the games for the eight-seed in each conference set for Thursday and Friday, here are a couple of potential plays to take us into the weekend.
Thursday: Indiana Pacers at Washington Wizards
I don’t have a very good feel for this final play-in game in the Eastern Conference, especially when it comes to taking a side. I very well might just sit this game out altogether, but if there’s anything that does stand out to me, it’s the terrific matchup for Sabonis in what should be a rapid-paced game. These are two of the fastest paced teams in the NBA, and we saw it play out that way the last time they matched up, with Washington edging out a 133-132 victory in regulation.
The Wizards have a glaring hole in the middle of their lineup, with significantly below average options at power forward and center. That’s led to Sabonis absolutely feasting in these matchups. In the three meetings between these teams, he’s averaging 32.3 points, 14.3 rebounds and 9.3 assists, including an insane 30-13-13 line in the last go-around earlier this month. It’s a big number here on the combo prop, but Sabonis has been good for it, especially against this Washington frontcourt.
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Friday: Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors
Saturday: Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets
First off, to be clear, this parlay is for the Warriors to win Friday’s play-in game against the Grizzlies, and then the Nets to defeat the Celtics in Game 1 of their first-round series on Saturday.
I’m pretty bullish on this parlay, and will likely have a multi-unit play on it. I was very high on the Warriors in Sunday’s regular season finale, hosting Memphis to land in the eight-seed of the play-in tournament, and I think we get a similar result here with even more on the line. The Warriors were masterful defensively in their narrow loss to the Lakers, and Steph Curry will continue to present a huge mismatch.
There’s a chance we really see the Warriors roll on Friday, but I want to play it safe with the moneyline. The way to get that juice back, and even push this to plus-money, is by getting the Nets involved. Jayson Tatum got hot in Boston’s play-in win over the Wizards, but Brooklyn won’t be as kind a matchup. Tatum may score, but keeping up with a motivated Kevin Durant, James Harden and Kyrie Irving should prove much too tall a task. I expect the Nets to finish this in four or five, but they’ll never be trailing in this series.
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