Our NBA Tips for the Weekend - 26/3/22

DeRozan Chicago Bulls NBA

James Budgen

Brooklyn Nets @ Miami Heat

Despite this being a matchup between the first seed and the eighth seed, it is two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference matching up in a potential play-off preview for one of the best First Round matchups of all time.

This game seems very important for both teams, but more importantly to the Miami Heat, their last two losses have come against the Philadelphia 76ers and Golden State Warriors, all without their best players, and the viral clip of coach Erik Spoelstra and Udonis Haslem almost fighting Jimmy Butler, has put a lot of extra pressure on the team to perform.

With Kyrie Irving now returning to being a full-time player, it is the perfect time for the Brooklyn Nets to start a winning run, with the play-offs just three weeks away, and his form recently has been outstanding, averaging 38.7 points in his last six games, including 60 points and 43 points in his last two games.

Milwaukee Bucks @ Memphis Grizzlies

Both of these sides sit in the second seeds in their respective conferences, but the win seems more important for the Milwaukee Bucks, as they have the Boston Celtics just half a game behind them in the fourth seed, whilst being just one game back off the Miami Heat in the first seed.

The Memphis Grizzlies are nine games back of the first seeded Phoenix Suns and are 2.5 games in front of a Golden State Warriors team without Steph Curry, but the Grizzlies have an injury problem themselves, as they are without star point guard Ja Morant for the next two weeks.

However, the Grizzlies this season have a 16-2 record without Morant, and recently beat the Brooklyn Nets, with their stars, Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving playing.

The Bucks have had injury problems this season, and have recently welcomed back centre Brook Lopez and guard Pat Connaughton, but they may have doubts over the availability of Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo for this game, which will be a huge miss for the reigning champions with the ramping up competition for the play-offs beginning.

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Boston Celtics

Two of the most in-form teams in the NBA are playing in this game, with the Boston Celtics absolutely tearing through the league as of late, winning 23 of their last 29 games, whilst the Minnesota Timberwolves have been in great form since the all-star break, winning 11 of their last 15 games.

The Celtics defence has been absolutely outstanding since the turn of the new year, giving the best defensive rating in the league, completely turning around their season which has seen them go from a team around the 500. Mark to now being talked about as title candidates, and their recent twenty-eight point blowout victory over the fourth-seeded Utah Jazz really put on show their elite play.

The Timberwolves have been one of the most surprising teams this season, going from the thirteenth seed last campaign to now battling for the sixth seed this season, and a lot of this is down the performances of their star player Karl-Anthony Towns, whose play this season has seen him make a run for a second all-NBA selection in his career.

Philadelphia 76ers @ Phoenix Suns

The best team in the NBA this season, the Phoenix Suns are facing off against a Philadelphia 76ers team, who still seem to be getting used to their new roster with star players James Harden and Joel Embiid.

The Suns’ last game was an impressive win over the Denver Nuggets, but more importantly, it saw the return of their point guard Chris Paul, but it was their other star guard which stole the show, scoring 49 points and delivering 10 assists, and it was his great play that saw the Suns have a 12-4 record without Paul, in which he averaged 30 points in that span.

Despite winning four of their last five games, the 76ers still look to be adjusting with their new acquisition in James Harden, who has really struggled in his last seven games, shooting 36% from the field and 26% from the three-point range, which is completely opposite of the play from his teammate, Joel Embiid, who is averaging 30 points in his last seven games, which has seen him try to carry his struggling co-star.

Utah Jazz @ Dallas Mavericks

Both the Jazz and the Mavericks are fighting for the fourth seed in the Western Conference, and in what is their fourth meeting this season, could be really important for the play-off seedings, and so far this campaign it's the Jazz who have got the better of the teams, winning two of their three meetings.

It’s the Jazz that have been a bit more inconsistent as of late, going 6-6 in their last twelve games, despite their offence still being the best in the league, it's their defence that has really been struggling, with their defensive rating falling to 113.2 in their last twelve games, compared to their season average of 110.3.

The Mavericks have turned into one of the best teams in the league in the second half of the season, and the acquisition of Spencer Dinwiddie has really helped this, with their record being 12-4 since Dinwiddie’s debut.

This has also been helped by Luka Doncic and his incredible play after a very slow start to the season for his standards, averaging 29.4 points, 8.8 rebounds and 7.1 assists in the month of March which has seen him enter the MVP race late into the season.

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