Let’s be real, most NBA fans are just waiting for the playoffs to start, and it seems the NBA schedulers agree. This weekend’s games are full of playoff matchups, meaning we are in for some good basketball! Here are some NBA Predictions for this weekend.
NBA Predictions: April 16-18
NBA Predictions April 16: Los Angeles Clippers @ Philadelphia 76ers
Unfortunately, Kawhi Leonard may sit this game out. He has been dealing with right foot soreness and has missed the last couple of games. In his absence, Paul George has stepped up, recently closing out the Indiana Pacers while leading the Clippers in points, rebounds, and assists. The Clippers are on a 7 game winning streak going into this game, so get ready for a battle.
The 76ers are well equipped to handle the Clippers. LA brings a lot of perimeter offense to the table, and the 76ers have the perimeter defense to match. Ben Simmons, Danny Green, Tobias Harris, and Matisse Thybulle are all options to throw at Paul George if he’s forced to play without Kawhi. On the other end, Joel Embiid recently had a dominant 36 point performance against the Mavericks. If the MVP candidate can keep the pressure on a middle-of-the-pack team in terms of paint defense, it’ll be a long night for the Clips.
Prediction: 76ers win a good one
Both of these teams have players that are rolling. With or without Kawhi, expect this game to have a playoff atmosphere as two top teams gear up for their respective runs.
April 17: Utah Jazz @ Los Angeles Lakers
As the standings sit right now, the Jazz and Lakers could be meeting in the second round. LeBron James and Anthony Davis will be back in the lineup by then, but the supporting cast has been playing quite well in the meantime.
Since the addition of Andre Drummond, the Lakers have gone 3-4, a decent mark for a team without their two best players. Drummond has been impressive as of late, dropping 20 points and 11 boards in an impressive win over the Brooklyn Nets. Drummond will have to work extra hard to keep that type of production up against Rudy Gobert.
The Jazz will be in the second half of a back-to-back when they roll into the Staples Center. They’ve been surprisingly good in those games as well, with a record of 9-1 on the season.
Prediction: Utah Jazz beat a shorthanded Lakers team
Without LeBron and Anthony Davis, the Lakers should be no match for the Jazz. There is always the possibility of another surprise win like there was against the Nets; but with Gobert limiting 2 of the Lakers’ top 3 options, the Jazz should defend and shoot their way to a win.
April 18: Brooklyn Nets @ Miami Heat
The Heat have slipped in and out of the playoffs race this season, but like last year, they can’t be counted out. They’ll be matching up against a depleted Nets team, another sign of the compressed season.
The Heat put out an absolute stinker against the Phoenix Suns earlier this week and just dropped another to the Denver Nuggets. This team has waxed and waned all season long, so they may be falling into one of their slumps again. With Victor Oladipo out, Goran Dragic recovering from a foot injury, and poor shooting performances from Bam Adebayo and Tyler Herro as of late, it’s going to take a few games to turn this around.
In their most recent game against the 76ers, they missed Kevin Durant, LaMarcus Aldridge, Blake Griffin, and James Harden. That doesn’t even include some of their support pieces of Tyler Johnson, Chris Chiozza, and Spencer Dinwiddie. Durant and Griffin are out with load management, and Aldridge is out with a non-Covid illness, which means any combination of the three could reappear by Sunday.
Prediction: Kyrie leads Brooklyn to a win
With the Miami Heat in a slump, struggling to post over 100 to the Nuggets, don’t expect too much of a fight against the Nets.
Stay tuned for more weekly NBA predictions.