In one of the strangest, most unpredictable seasons ever it’s nearly impossible to predict a winner. Nonetheless, let’s dive in on some of the big matchups and make some NBA predictions.
The NBA season has quickly approached the halfway mark and there’s been plenty of surprises. The Utah Jazz have the best record in basketball and the Phoenix Suns are a top-four seed in the Western Conference. As the season nears the halfway mark, the last weekend before the All-Star break is full of some big matchups and a couple of potential playoff previews
NBA Weekend Predictions: February 26-28
NBA Predictions for Friday
Indiana Pacers vs Boston Celtics
This is a potential Eastern Conference playoff preview between the Indiana Pacers and Boston Celtics to begin the Friday evening slate. The Pacers have been hit hard by injuries but have somehow stayed afloat.
Nate Bjorkgren’s squad has a 15-15 mark and has yet to see Caris LeVert wear a Pacers uniform. Malcolm Brogdon is leading the way with 21.6 points per game with 6.6 assists. Domantas Sabonis, who likely got snubbed for the All-Star game, has been fantastic this season. The former Gonzaga Bulldog is posting averages of 21.5 points with 11.6 boards and 5.7 assists on the season.
The Celtics have had their fair share of struggles and have been one of the most disappointing teams of the year. Brad Stevens’ bunch have a 15-17 mark after Wednesday night’s brutal 127-112 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Danilo Gallinari had his 2021 coming-out party against Boston, finishing with 38 points and a total of 10 threes off the pine.
The All-Star duo of Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum combined to shoot 10-36 from the field for just 30 points. Jeff Teague and Tristan Thompson got the start, and it’s time to question the likelihood of this Celtics squad being a top-four seed.
They have won just three of their past 10 games and are in danger of dropping out of the playoff picture altogether. With that being said, it’s fair to say the Celtics’ struggles continue.
Nobody wearing green (or white) can guard Sabonis, and Brogdon is so tactical on both ends of the floor. Unless Tatum and Brown go absolutely nuts, the Pacers run away with this game rather easily.
Portland Trail Blazers vs Los Angeles Lakers
The Los Angeles Lakers always find their way onto national television and for good reason. However, the Lakers in February have been a disaster. Anthony Davis went down and is out for the foreseeable future. Dennis Schroder has missed the past few games due to health and safety protocols.
The Lakers have dropped four of their last five before facing the Jazz, and their lone win was against the Minnesota Timberwolves. Still, Frank Vogel’s team is towards the top of the West and can turn it on any night.
LeBron James is warranting MVP consideration, although not as much lately.
As for the Blazers, Damian Lillard has a little extra after not being named a starter for the All-Star game. The Blazers are 18-13 and the fifth seed in the West in another potential playoff preview between these squads. In fact, it’s a Western Conference quarterfinals rematch from the Orlando Bubble.
Lillard is hot, but to be fair, when isn’t he? He’s averaging 29.6 points with eight assists and has scored 20 or more in each of his past 10 games. Carmelo Anthony has figured it out later, and at the perfect time with other injuries affecting the Portland team.
It’s easy to pick against the Lakers due to how bad they’ve been playing. However, LeBron has to go off on one of these games, and Friday might be the night.
NBA Predictions for Saturday
Dallas Mavericks vs Brooklyn Nets
On the surface, this looks like a blowout, especially given the way the Dallas Mavericks have been playing lately. However, any time we get to watch a group of top 10 players go at it is a special occasion.
Luka Doncic has been playing incredibly all year despite what the Mavericks record says. He was named an All-Star starter and for good reason, despite the hot debates on social media. He has averages of 28.9 points with 8.6 boards and 9.2 assists and has, at times, been a one-man show for Dallas.
For the Brooklyn Nets, do we really need to say much? Even without Kevin Durant, who is still nursing that hamstring injury, this team is scary. James Harden and Kyrie Irving alone are enough to scare any team in the league.
Steve Nash has finally figured out how to handle this group, at least for the time being. The Nets have are just a half-game back of the Eastern Conference lead going into Thursday and have won seven of their past 10 games.
As good as Luka is, unless he gets some help, this shouldn’t be a close game.
NBA Predictions for Sunday
Los Angeles Clippers vs Milwaukee Bucks
This might be the best game of the entire week, at least on paper. Both these teams had early exits in the bubble playoffs and are looking for revenge. Both these teams have come out of the gates to disappointing cases.
Going into last season this seemed like an NBA Finals prediction. Unfortunately, neither team won their conference.
Giannis is always a mess to guard, but so are Kawhi Leonard and Paul George. Clippers head coach Ty Lue has done pretty well overall, and Bucks coach Mike Budenholzer might be canned if the Bucks have an early exit again.
This is easily the best game of the weekend and a perfect Sunday afternoon viewing.
Golden State Warriors vs Los Angeles Lakers
The Lakers finish the week on national TV, to the surprise of nobody. The injury to Davis has derailed this team and hopefully, they get Dennis back by Sunday.
Stephen Curry is playing at an MVP-level for the Golden State Warriors and was also named a starter for the All-Star team. Curry is averaging 30.2 points on the year with 6.2 assists and 5.4 boards. He’s shooting 42 percent from beyond the arc and has paced the way for the Warriors all year.
Draymond Green has become the distributor, and rookie James Wiseman returned from injury earlier in the week. Kelly Oubre Jr. and Andrew Wiggins have figured out their role, and just like that this team is scary.
The Warriors will make the playoffs barring some unforeseen circumstance and could potentially make some noise come May.
The Lakers are tired, hurt, and just playing bad basketball. Still, not many can guard LeBron. However, not many can guard Curry and the Warriors already topped this team earlier in the year.
Main Image: Embed from Getty Images