Playoff Teams Are Set But There is Still Time for Movement on the NBA’s Final Night

The Bulls' Tom Thibodeau has done another masterful job of coaching without Derrick Rose.

All 16 teams are now locked into the 2014 National Basketball Association Playoffs but there is still a little bit left to determine.

In the Eastern Conference, Toronto and Chicago are currently in a battle for the third seed. The teams are tied with identical 48-33 records and the Raptors hold the tie-breaker. Should both teams win, Toronto would get the three seed and face Washington or Charlotte in the first round.

Speaking of the Bobcats and Wizards… Wins or losses by both teams would  give the Wizards the sixth seed and relegate the Bobcats to the seventh. Should Washington lose and Charlotte win, the Wizards would open in Miami while the Bobcats would get either Chicago or Toronto.

In the Western Conference it’s pretty simple; Dallas plays at Memphis this evening. They both have identical 49-32 records. The winner will take the seventh seed and the loser will get the eighth. Dallas holds the tie-breaker but it’s a moot point because they will both finish with different records after tonight’s game.

What it means is perhaps a lesser of two evils depending upon the point of view. Memphis is desperate to avoid the San Antonio Spurs whom they are 0-4 against this season. Dallas is also 0-4 against the top-seeded Spurs but has a 2-1 advantage over the Oklahoma City Thunder who will be the second seed.

The Grizzlies are 1-3 against OKC this season. Basically, both teams want to avoid the Spurs and that’s why I think you’ll see a pretty competitive game tonight in Memphis.

Note: The Clippers can catch the Thunder for the two seed in the West with a win tonight and a Thunder loss.

Chicago (+1) at Charlotte – The Bulls and Bobcats have each won eight of their last ten games. Charlotte has won two straight while the Bulls won their last outing. The Bobcats are 24-16 at home while the Bulls are just two games above .500 on the road.

Chicago is 3-0 this season against the Bobcats and I like them for the season sweep tonight.

DeMar DeRozan has been a huge reason why the Raptors are headed to the playoffs.

Toronto (NL) at New York – The Knicks have officially entered the Phil Jackson Era as their hopes of making the playoffs were dashed earlier this week. For Toronto, it’s about playoff positioning as I explained earlier.

The Raptors are a surprising four games above .500 on the road while the Knicks are four games under .500 at home. Toronto has won two in a row and eight of ten while the Knicks have also won two straight but are just 6-4 in their last ten.

New York is 1-2 against the Raptors this season but did defeat them last week in Toronto. Keep a close on any late moves from Toronto because your wagering may depend on whether starters are expected to play much and I expect that they will. Take the Raptors to win on the road.

Washington(NL) at Boston – The Wizards and Celtics will tip at 8pmET which means Washington will have a good idea in the second half of what Charlotte has done against the Bulls. That game tips at seven. You will need to really factor that in if wagering on this game.

Boston has pretty much cashed in the season going 2-8 in their last ten games. The Wizards have won three in a row and seven of their last ten.  They are 2-1 against the Celtics and won earlier this season in Boston. All things considered, take Washington.

Dallas (+4) at Memphis – As I layed out above, neither team wants to play the Spurs in round one. The Grizzlies appear to be getting hot at the right time having won four straight and six of ten. Dallas has been good too though winning seven of ten.

I like the hotter team playing at home. Take the Griz to cover.