Division Leaders and Playoff Hopefuls are Under My Spotlight Tonight

Paul George's Pacers need to keep winning in order to stay ahead of the surging Heat.

Some Division leaders like San Antonio and Indiana are in my sights today but so are teams fighting to remain in the race. Atlanta, Phoenix and Charlotte are examples of organizations fighting like crazy to get into the playoffs in the National Basketball Association.

Utah (+12.5) at Indiana – The Jazz will not be playing in the post-season this year but that doesn’t mean they won’t compete. Competing is not an issue for the Indiana Pacers who do battle every time they step on the court.

The Pacers have won three straight (and seven of their last ten) and that’s good because the Miami Heat are hot on their trail for the top spot in the Eastern Conference just two games behind. Miami has won six in a row.

Utah is just 5-5 over their last ten games are struggling to avoid going through the motions. They are 13.5 games behind the eighth place team in the West and their chances of making an epic run are slim and zero.

Because the Pacers can go in spurts without scoring, I like the Jazz to stay within 12.5 points tonight.

Dallas (+5.5) at San Antonio – The Mavericks stumbled two nights ago at home against Chicago and now hit the road due South for a game with rival San Antonio. Despite the loss, the Mavericks have still won seven of their last ten and sit in the seventh spot in the Western Conference playoff race.

The Spurs have also won seven of their last ten games but they’ve won two straight. San Antonio has been good at home, but not as good as in previous years as they stand at 20-8. Dallas meanwhile has been one of the better road teams in the NBA. They are 17-14 away from their own home which is very good overall and especially in the Western Conference.

Goran Dragic has been a big reason for the Suns' resurgence this season.

Atlanta (+8.5) at Phoenix – At 9.5 games behind Western Conference leader Oklahoma City, the Suns find themselves in the eighth and final playoff spot. They trail Dallas by a game and Golden State by a game and a half. The Warriors are currently sixth.

Phoenix has won five of their last ten games while the Atlanta Hawks come to the desert having won just once in their last ten contests. Despite the brutal stretch, the Hawks still hold the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference by three games over surging Cleveland.

What you’ll want to take special notice of is that while both teams are in the eighth spot in their respective conferences; their records couldn’t be more different. Atlanta is five games under .500 at 26-31 while the Suns are a very good ten games over the .500 mark at 34-24.

That goes a long way towards explaining the big spread for this one. I love the Suns to cover at home.

Charlotte (+9.5) at Oklahoma City – The Bobcats hit the road and their next stop is Oklahoma City. Charlotte has gone 6-4 over their last ten games and continues to hang onto a playoff spot. They currently sit in the seventh spot one half games ahead of Atlanta and one game behind the Brooklyn Nets.

OKC finally got its’ first win of the Post All-Star Break variety and that could be the spring board they need to get going. They hold a one and half game lead over the Spurs and a three and a half games lead over the Portland Trail Blazers for the top spot in the West.

I think the Bobcats will hang tough but ultimately I see the Thunder covering in this game.