It's one thing to be good, it's another to be lucky. But to be both good and lucky at the same time is very special.
That's what the Golden State Warriors are this season. After winning eight of nine games by an average of 13 points, the Warriors came from behind to beat the Clipper 110-106 last Tuesday. No, that wasn't lucky. That was heart. The first nine games was the Warriors being good, being very good. But against the Suns last Thursday, luck may had a part of their 107-106 win:
The Warriors have many weapons, but on a broken play where Harrison Barnes got the ball, then nearly dropped it winning at the buzzer on a night they "struggled" should be more lucky than good.
On Saturday, the Warriors continue their record breaking season in Dallas. Will the Warriors add to their 11 straight wins? Or will the Mavs stop the run and prove they are legit contenders? That game and the nine others in Saturday's schedule are the topics of this post. We'll break down each game, give your our picks and the SportHold Super Prediction score which is derived from the SportHold prediction data.The SportHold Data is based on the collated predictions of SportHold users. Our users enter their predictions in our challenges page and we come up with a set of picks based on those. Those picks become our voice- or the voice of the crowd. The more predictions we get, the stronger our voice is. Remember that there is strength in numbers. Here at SportHold though, we just don't come up with a voice, but our users compete with others in our leaderboard. We give out points to every prediction you make, depending on the accuracy. Users also get points when they test their Sports IQ at our mini-games and even get a chance to win cash prizes by predicting the exact scores of NBA games. To get you started, here is our Prediction Data for April 4 to help you out with making your own picks:
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After losing to the Pacers on Friday and the Celtics four days before that, the Hornets find themselves at the 11th place in the East with barely seven left to play for them. As it is right now, Boston is #9 and Indiana #10 after Brooklyn and Miami, respectively. But all is not yet lost for Charlotte as they are still just two games behind the Heat. However, it has become an "all or nothing" theme for them.That "all" gets a reprieve tomorrow when they play the 76ers who have lost four in a row and are 3-7 in their last 10 games. And although Charlotte has lost 10 of their last 14 games, they have beaten the Sixers in five of the last seven outings.
What makes it better for Charlotte is that they play this one at home. And while their 18-20 home record isn't impressive, the Sixers have lost 18 of 19 on the road and are an NBA worst with 6 total road wins this season.
The Hawks have taken their foot off the gas pedal after clinching the East last week. At 3-5 in their last 8, this is not the Atlanta Hawks we know they are. Coach Mike Budenholzer has rested his starters in a handful of games to avoid injuries and keep them fresh for the playoffs.
So you would think they would do the same against the Nets on Saturday but then think again.
The Hawks own the Nets 2015 pick by virtue of the Joe Johnson trade of 2012. So should the Nets fail to make the playoffs, that lottery pick belongs to the Hawks. With another game on the Nets after Friday, and Brooklyn just 1.5 games up on #9 Boston, the Hawks pretty much have a say on the Nets' destiny.
But the Nets are on a roll right now behind Brook Lopez's 27.1 points, 10.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks in the last nine games where they've won eight, including six in a row. They've taken 7th place in the East and although that isn't a lock yet, they have all the tools to keep it.The key here is the Hawks' motivation and that this one is played in Atlanta where the Hawks have been the 2nd best home team in the NBA at 32-5.
Although the Heat have lost two in a row, they have reclaimed solo 8th place after the Celtics' loss to the Bucks on Friday. But instead of being thrilled, the Heat are very worried right now.
Superstar Dwyane Wade bruised his left knee in Thursday's loss to the Cavs and remains questionable for this game. Without Wade, Udonis Haslem (who's missed the last two) and Chris Bosh who is out for the season, the Heat are an entirely different team.
Detroit has lost 2 in a row just like the Heat, but at 6-4 in their last 10, they are one win better than Miami. But more than records and streaks, it's Wade's possible absence that is the show-stopper here. Against the Pistons, the Heat have won seven in a row. Unfortunately, it was Wade who led them in all seven victories with an average of 27.1 points per game so you get the idea of how the picture changes without D-Wade.
The Celtics have fallen to #9 after a loss to the Bucks last Friday but with just a 0.5 game deficit to overhaul against the Raptors, they live to fight another day. But their next opponents won't be patsies.The Toronto Raptors are the 4th best team in the East right now. Although they dropped 14 of 22 since February 21, Toronto has slowly picked up the pieces by going 6-4 in their last 10 despite missing Kyle Lowry in the last five. Lowry remains questionable for this one as he's still dealing with back spasms but with the Raptors winning 3 of their last 4 games, the Raptors are tough to beat, especially at their home court.
Toronto's a solid 26-13 at home and has a 29-17 record against East teams this season. With Boston sputtering to a 4-6 record in their last 10 games, the Raptors are in good shape for this game, putting the Celtics' playoff chances in dire straits.
With a playoff spot booked, the Washington Wizards have been resting some of their starters lately. Veteran Paul Pierce has sat out their last two games (which were wins) while Nene Hilario didn't see action in their win over the Knicks last Friday. It's unclear whether Coach Wittman will apply the same strategy against the Grizzlies because the Wizards are just two games behind the Raptors at #4 and a first round home court advantage.
What is clear though is that the Wizards have not won in Memphis since November 2004. The Grizzlies are in Game 3 of a four game homestand where they've won the first two. They are 29-9 at home, fifth best in the NBA. Washington won their first meeting this season but Memphis sat out four starters on that night. But with Memphis in a race against Houston for #2 in the West, no one should be resting on Saturday and that's bad news for Washington.
There is little left to do for the Warriors except win the NBA title in June. But with the mindset of this team, you know they will go at it every single night.
Despite already securing home court advantage for the entire post season, the Warriors are not slowing down. They have won 11 in a row and 16 of 17. Their 62 wins are a franchise record, well it has been since it was 60 but so far there has been no let up.
Dallas looks invincible on paper with Parsons, Rondo and Stoudemire added to their team aside from the return of Tyson Chandler. But it's been a season of struggles and adjustments for the Mavs. And allthough they've dropped five of seven, they are most certainly going to end up as the #7 seed in the West.
The Mavs are 25-13 at home but will be without Parsons in this one. Parsons has some swelling on his right knee although Rick Carlisle doesn't think it's serious. The Warriors are serious however with the best road record in the NBA at 27-11. They should come out business as usual and take care of the Mavs.
The Bucks finally have some momentum going for them after a rought 3-13 patch that saw them reeling in the standings. After beating the Celtics last Friday, the Bucks have improved to 4-2 in their last six games, giving them a good run as they are about to enter the playoffs after being the worst team in the leauge last season.
That good run may have another win waiting at home as the Bucks host the struggling Magic.
Orlando snapped a 12 game road losing streak and four game losing streak overall against the Wolves on Friday. But we all know that the Wolves are playing without almost everybody these days. If we take that win out of the equation, Orlando's lost 10 of 11 overall and are the second worst road team in the NBA since the turn of 2015 at 2-15 (Only the Sixers are worse at 2-20). The Bucks meanwhile are a good 22-15 at home and should take this light assignment.
The Clippers remain at #5 in the West but are just 2 games back of number 2. And while they can't control the destiny of the other teams in the West, they are taking charge of theirs right now.
The Clippers are on their third consecutive 50 win season and are peaking at the right time, except for that loss to the Warriors last week which ended a 7 game winning streak, the Clippers have been L.A. fabulous lately. Chris Paul has averaged 25.4 points and 11.6 assists over this 9 game stretch where they've lost just once. Blake Griffin's return has really made the Clippers better and CP3 more effective.The Clippers have lost just twice since the return of their leading scorer.
Denver is the opposite right now. After firing Brian Shaw, the Nuggets have played better but not good enough to get them wins. They have won just thrice in the last 10 games and have lost three in a row, including a crushing 123-93 loss to the Spurs on Friday. With morale really low right now, the Nuggets are there for L.A.'s picking. Denver is just 17-20 at home this season and against a Clippers' team which has gone 23-15 on the road, this one's easily a Clippers game to pick.
The Suns' playoff hopes may be setting with just six games left to play and a four game deficit to overcome. But until the fat lady sings, the race to the playoffs isn't over yet.
The Suns only have themselves to blame for their current slate. With five consecutive losses and four wins in their last 10 games, the Suns practically shot themselves in the foot. But with the mathematical probability still there, the fight continues against a Utah Jazz team which has improved in the second half of the season.
The Jazz have been 5-5 in their last 10 but have won three games in a row right now so they won't be pushovers especially with Rudy Gobert and Derrick Favors at the helm.Phoenix is worse at 4-6 in their last 10 but with the slimmest of pllayoff hopes still there, this 21-18 home team should have enough to muster a victory over the Jazz.
With four consecutive wins, the Pelicans have put themselves within striking distance of the OKC Thunder at just one half game back. A win on Saturday allows them to move into a tie with OKC for that final playoff spot in the Western Conference. Unfortunately for the Pelicans, they have to do it at a building that is hollowed for them.
The Pelicans haven't won in Portland since November 2010 and their 6-14 record there is their fourth worst in any NBA homecourt. The Blazers have won five of their last six games and have just clinched the Northwest on Friday. Another win gets them to 50 wins in back to back seasons. And with the Clippers breathing behind their back for home court advantage, the Blazers have a lot of reasons to win this game. At 30-8, the Blazers are the third best home team in the league. The Pelicans are desperate, but winning in Portland should be as tough as it gets.
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