WRITTEN BY: STEPHEN A. KELLERMAN
So what the heck is my record so far on predictions? 6 correct and 4 incorrect. 60% ain't bad for the first couple weeks but now I have a better idea of who is legit and who is not. The playoff format has been decided and the top 12 teams will get an opportunity to play for the chip. The top 4 teams in the league will get a bye straight into the Quarter-Finals while seeds 5 to 12 will play in the first round. The winners in the first round will be reseeded and we will lock in our elite 8 playoff bracket! So which two thirds of the league will actually make it? The race has already begun and some teams better step on the gas before they get left behind.
3PM GRIZZLIES vs KINGS – (KINGS + 5)
I would have said this could go either way, but Season 6 MVP Ben needs to be healthy and productive for them to be considered competitive. They have looked lifeless so far and I expect that to continue for one more game as the Kings have some nice momentum building. The Grizz may have some of the best jerseys in the league but it is sad that we will not get to see them in the playoffs.
4PM LAKERS vs THUNDER (THUNDER + 14)
The Thunder are walking into the Abilities center with the spotlight on them. Janath and company have officially become the villains of the league. Not one team is rooting for the Thunder after they showed the world why they are going back to the finals after their season debut. Lakers have the pieces to be physical with them and slow the Thunders momentum but they don't have the shooting to match. I expect a mini blowout.
430PM SIXERS vs WARRIORS (SIXERS +24)
Another return game in ETBL Season 7. Kapi makes his return against his former team (then called the Knicks). The Warriors have some decent, serviceable pieces but that will not cut it against the Sixers. One team will be fighting for the playoffs while the other will be fighting for the title. Sixers take care of business easily and put the clamps on the Dubs. Warriors will need to slow down Ryan and Mayo to have any chane as I expect them to have a huge game.
500PM HEAT vs NETS (HEAT +18)
If the Nets lose this game, which I fully expect them to...they are going to have a hard time making the playoffs. Not impossible but they are digging themselves a deep hole. But if the Nets win this game, then the Heat should blow it up and beg Nidun to rejoin them.
530PM PACERS vs ROCKETS (PACERS +8)
This is the match up of the night and all eyes will be on these two contenders. The Heat and Kings will be watching (and rooting) for the Rockets I presume after their former stars left them for the Pacers squad (Nidun and Duzan). Let's see what these guys can do on their new squad and whether they have a higher ceiling this season than they did last season. This team has the talent to make noise but let's see if they are in shape and healthy first. Their defence ultimately makes the difference in this one.
600PM CAVALIERS vs CLIPPERS (CLIPPERS + 20)
Clippers have a favorable match up as they look for win #2 and an opportunity to cut into their negative 15 point differential. Cavs need to try and make it competitive and Rose Shipley will need to carry the load on offence once again. Jaathus needs to rain some threes and Bavi needs to step up on offence if this team wants to stay in it. No comeback this time for Cavs nation.