The NBA has five games starting past 4:00 p.m. ET on Thursday with the fate of the Western Conference’s eighth seed hanging in the balance. DraftKings Sportsbook is hosting an NBA Pick’em pool for cash prizes with a guaranteed prize pool that grows as entries grow. Make your predictions for the NBA Pick’em pool here. For more DraftKings Sportsbook pool action, check out DraftKings Sportsbook Pools.
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Milwaukee Bucks vs. Memphis Grizzlies: Game Result
The Grizzlies have been reeling in the bubble, losing six of their first seven games while being outscored by 2.8 points per 100 possessions. So, even with everything to play for against a Milwaukee squad that couldn’t care less, it’s hard to feel super confident in Memphis. Still, if you’re a Grizzlies fan, it has to be a relief knowing that Giannis Antetokounmpo has been suspended for this matchup after head-butting Mo Wagner on Tuesday night. It also has to feel good that Ja Morant has registered four-straight great performances after a 5-for-21 shooting display in an ugly loss to the Pelicans. I think they’ll be able to hold on and at least gain entry to the play-in series.
Dallas Mavericks vs. Phoenix Suns: Game Result
As of writing this, there has been no indication that Luka Doncic will be unavailable in this afternoon’s contest against Phoenix. However, if he does end up playing, I would be shocked if we saw anything close to the 35 minutes he logged versus Portland or the 42 minutes he saw in a memorable win over Milwaukee. That was in attempt to get Dallas out of the seven-seed, a fate which has now been sealed. It also seems unlikely that Kristaps Porzingis will be active, as he’s dealing with a bruised left heel and is currently questionable. Combine all those factors and I just can’t see the Mavericks giving the Suns their first loss in Orlando.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Utah Jazz: First Half Result
Of all the games that “mean something” being played on Thursday, this one is probably the most difficult to get a handle on. If both the Grizzlies and Suns were to win at 4 p.m. ET, there’s a decent chance that the Spurs would have already been eliminated from playoff contention before this contest tips. However, there’s also a scenario where San Antonio won’t know its fate until well into first quarter; which means we probably won’t see the likes of DeMar DeRozan or Derrick White rested until the half. Either way, the Spurs possess the bubble’s fourth-best net rating (4.7) and they should be capable of getting out to a lead against a Jazz team that will definitely be without Rudy Gobert and Mike Conley.
Portland Trail Blazers vs. Brooklyn Nets: Game Result
Kudos to Jacque Vaughn for at least making this contest a little interesting by stating on Wednesday that he planned to play his starters against the Blazers, but I doubt that involves matching Caris LeVert’s workload with Damian Lillard’s. In fact, to this point in the bubble, only two men are averaging over 40.0 minutes per game: Lillard and C.J. McCollum. That’s pretty important considering Portland has outscored its opponents by 3.0 points per 100 possessions when that duo is sharing the court in 2019-20. Brooklyn’s been a nice story the past couple of weeks and the Blazers can’t defend anyone, but you’d have to be crazy to pick against Lillard right now.
Pick: Trail Blazers
New Orleans Pelicans vs. Orlando Magic: Game Result
Sadly, this is probably the game that’s going to decide the out come of this pool. I can’t even begin to put into words how little this matchup means. The Pelicans have been eliminated and the Magic are locked into the eight-seed in the East. On top of that, we already know that Zion Williamson, Brandon Ingram, Jrue Holiday, Aaron Gordon, Evan Fournier and Terrence Ross will not be suiting up. Plus, if Tuesday was any indication, Nikola Vucevic might not be around for much more than a quick conditioning appearance. Knowing all that, I’ll simply have to side with the squad that has better depth. That Nickeil Alexander-Walker to Jaxson Hayes screen-and-roll action should be humming all night long, right? Right?!
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