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All Eyes On Western Conference Slate As Playoff Race Heats Up Again Saturday

Posted by on 2/27/2015 7:36:23 PM

Once upon a time it appeared as though the Western Conference playoff race would lack the type of drama that would keep fans interested down the stretch but injuries and inconsistent play among some of the top contenders has dramatically changed the outlook heading in to the final month. Only 5.5 games separate fourth from eighth in the Western Conference standings and suddenly every game matters. Here is a quick look at three of the most important games on the NBA schedule for this Saturday and where the smart money should be.

Memphis Grizzlies @ Minnesota Timberwolves

Saturday, 8:00 PM ET

Memphis posted a 14-2 record in 16 games since acquiring Jeff Green and they have closed the gap on the Golden State Warriors for top spot in the West in the process. Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol is the most dominant big man tandem in the NBA and with Green’s scoring ability from the wing they now have that outside threat that can stretch the floor. Any chance the Grizzlies have to catch the Warriors for the No. 1 seed will require them being close to perfect the rest of the way. Minnesota has played .500 basketball over its past 10 games but don’t expect them to slow Memphis down in what should be another lopsided win in favor of the Grizzlies.

Pick: Memphis

Brooklyn Nets @ Dallas Mavericks

Saturday, 8:30 PM ET

The circumstances surrounding the animosity between head coach Rick Carlisle and Rajon Rondo have created even more question marks about the Mavericks title hopes and it certainly doesn’t help that they have struggled against some of the top teams from the Western Conference. Dallas has hovered around the .500 mark over its past 10 games but is right there next to the Portland Trail Blazers in the standings and home court advantage for a potential first round series could give them the edge they need. The Mavericks certainly still have a lot to work out both in the locker room and on the floor but they should be able to get the job done against Brooklyn at home where they are 20-9 this season.

Pick: Dallas

San Antonio Spurs @ Phoenix Suns

Saturday, 9:00 PM ET

The Suns failure to take advantage of Oklahoma City’s early season struggles has finally caught up with them and now they are on the outside looking in. It won’t get any easier for Phoenix either as they face a tough schedule the rest of the way including this weekend’s tilt with a San Antonio side that has struggled during its Rodeo Road trip. The Spurs have lost four straight games twice already this season and it’s clear they are starting to feel the need for some urgency soon. The Suns are certainly the more desperate team of the two but San Antonio has too much talent and experience to continue to struggle the way they have and the smart money will be on them rallying for an important win that serves as another blow to Phoenix’s playoff hopes this weekend.

Pick: San Antonio


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