One Week Until The NBA Playoffs

THE NBA REPORT

The clock is tick, tick, ticking down on the final days of this here-and-now 2017-18 NBA regular season and there's still plenty of storylines and subplots on the table.So, we're gonna spend par

t of today's Jim Sez column examining the biggest storylines/subplots as we approach the conclusion of this regular season on April 11th.

THE EAST - First things first, and that means the battle for the conference's numero uno seed is still at stake with Toronto exiting Tuesday's 112-106 loss at Cleveland cutting the Raptors' lead to just two games against the Boston Celtics. If Toronto's gonna hang on - and you better believe the Raptors want/need that #1 seed - then winning home games against Boston, Indiana and Orlando is a must before season-ending road games at Detroit and Miami. Best guess: Toronto wins the East but it may well take a final night win in South Beach to get "mission accomplished".
There's also a spirited battle for the #3 seed with Cleveland, Philadelphia and Indiana all within two games of one another and so Friday's Cavs at Sixers showdown figures to be the most important game left in the docket for both teams - but don't sleep on the Pacers who could sneak into the top four and get home court in Round I.

THE WEST - There's no such fight for the #1 seed here as the Houston Rockets (63-15) wrapped up the conference's top spot while Golden State (57-21) is entrenched at the #2 seed and Portland - even with the recent ankle injury suffered by megastar G Damian Lilliard - is pretty well set at #3 but there's major drama between San Antonio and Utah (both teams are 45-33 while entering the Wednesday night sked) while there is a major skirmish with Oklahoma City, Minnesota, New Orleans, Denver and even the Los Angeles Clippers all in a battle royal for the remaining playoff berths ... hey, the $64,000 question is will Western Conference clubs prefer playing Houston in a second-round series or would that really rather play an oft banged-up Golden State squad?
Best head-to-head matchups these final few days of regular-season play include Thursday's Minnesota at Denver tilt to go along with Saturday's Portland at San Antonio tilt and Monday's Portland at Denver clash.

Here's some key NBA Pointspread News ...

  • Toronto is 0-9 ATS (against the spread) as it enters Wednesday's home game against Boston ...
  • New Orleans has failed to cover its last four games entering Wednesday's home bash against Memphis ...
  • Portland is 35-17-2 ATS since the early stages of this 2017-18 season ...
  • Los Angeles Clippers are 20-8-1 ATS in their last 29 road games ...
  • Minnesota is just 33-42-3 ATS this year and that includes a shoddy 5-17 spread mark away ...
  • Finally, Denver's just 2-7 spreadwise in its last nine home games