Our NBA Tips for the Weekend - 9/4/22

DeRozan Chicago Bulls NBA

James Budgen

New Orleans Pelicans @ Memphis Grizzlies

Both of these teams are wrapping up their regular season with a back-to-back, and on their first night they are playing each other, with the Pelicans looking to secure the ninth spot in the Western Conference, whilst the Grizzlies are potentially welcoming back their star player, Ja Morant.

The Pelicans have turned around their fortunes the second half of this season, having a 18-12 record since February 1st, which has them in a play-in spot for a potential play-off run, and a win in this game will secure them a 9th seed, which will mean they will have to only win one game, rather than two, to get a matchup with either the 7th or 8th seed.

If the Grizzlies manage to win this game, they will tie their franchise record for most wins in the regular season, 56, which was set in the ‘Grit n Grind’ era in 2012-13, which shows how much of an impressive season this team is having, especially considering they have the second-youngest roster in the NBA, and they will have the same hopes that team had of winning an NBA championship.

Indiana Pacers @ Philadelphia 76ers

Just four days after their previous meeting, where the 76ers came out 131-122 victors in Indiana, they meet again, this time in Philadelphia, where the 76ers look to be ramping up their performances ahead of the play-offs, and the Pacers are likely looking to avoid winning to get a higher pick in the upcoming draft.

If the 76ers are going to be making waves in the upcoming play-offs, they are going to have significantly improve, especially James Harden, in his last five games he is averaging, 15 points and 11.8 assists on 31.7% shooting from the field and 27.3% from three-point range, which has seen the 76ers lose four of their last seven games, which was not the ambition when trading for Harden earlier this season.

The Pacers are doing a perfect job of tanking for higher odds for a top pick in the upcoming draft, losing their last eight games but in that their young guard Tyrese Haliburton is really impressing since his mid-season trade from the Sacramento Kings, averaging 17.4 points, 9.6 assists and 1.9 assists in his 24 games for the Pacers.

Milwaukee Bucks @ Cleveland Cavaliers

Just two months ago, the young Cavaliers had a better record than the reigning champions, but since February 11th, the Bucks have had a record of 15-8, whilst the Cavaliers, who have been decimated by injuries, have gone 9-16 in that time span.

The Cavs missing their starting frontcourt in Evan Mobley and Jarret Allen has really put a damper on what has been a very impressive season for this squad, who are now sitting in the play-in spots and look unlikely to progress.

As it stands they face the Brooklyn Nets with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving, with their only hope being a monster game from their young guard Darius Garland, who in the month of March averaged 25.3 points and 10.7 assists.

The Bucks have the ambitions of repeating their championship success of last season, but they still seem to be lacking on the defensive side of their game, since March 1st they have had a defensive rating of 117.7, which would rank last in the NBA, but this has been covered up by their elite offence, which ranks third in the league this season.

Chicago Bulls @ Minnesota Timberwolves

Despite Bulls being the 6th seed in the eastern conference, and the Timberwolves the 7th seed in the western conference, both teams have had opposite fortunes since the all-star break, with the Bulls going 7-14 and the Wolves going 15-7.

Ahead of their play-in game against the Los Angeles Clippers, the Wolves’ last year's no.1 pick Anthony Edwards just put up his most points in a game in his previous game against the San Antonio Spurs, scoring 49 points in a dazzling display by the twenty-year-old ahead of his first taste of the play-offs.

The Bulls have had their injury troubles the second half of this season, and ahead of the playoffs, they will be without Lonzo Ball, whilst other guards Zach LaVine and Alex Caruso are ‘day-to-day’ with their injuries ahead of the franchise's first play-off run in five years, which will put a lot of their hope on DeMar DeRozan, who has averaged 8.0 points, 5.2 rebounds and 5.0 assists in his first season with the Bulls.

San Antonio Spurs @ Dallas Mavericks

After securing a spot in the play-in, which eliminated LeBron James and the Los Angeles Lakers, the Spurs are looking to end the season on a high against Luka Doncic and the Mavericks, in what is potentially the last season of their legendary coach, Gregg Popovich.

The Spurs have ended the season really well, winning seven of the last nine games, which puts them in good form ahead of their play-in game against the New Orleans Pelicans, where they will likely have to win two games to play against either the 7th or 8th seed.

Their hopes of making the play-offs will be with their first-time all-star guard, Dejounte Murray, who this season has taken a leap, averaging 21.2 points, 9.3 assists and 8.4 rebounds, and will be tasked at guarding the other teams’ best player, which in this case is MVP candidate Luka Doncic.

Doncic was taken a lot of flack earlier in the season for being out of shape coming into the season, but in the second half of the season, he and the Mavericks have improved exponentially, averaging 31.9 points, 9.4 rebounds and 8.6 assists since February 1st, with the Mavs having a record 21-8, which has seen them climb to the 4th seed in the western conference, with potential of moving into the 3rd spot.

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