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NBA Playoffs Preview for Sunday, April 21, 2024

April 21, 2024

The second day of the weekend playoffs will take place today, as we have 4 NBA games scheduled.  Let's jump into today's games and come out winners like yesterday!


Boston Celtics vs. Miami Heat

On the second day of the NBA playoffs, the Boston Celtics will open the day by playing host to the Miami Heat. With a rich history of playoff face-offs, this game promises to be exciting and keep you on the edge of your seats.

The Celtics have had an impressive season with a 64-18 SU (Straight Up) and 41-36 ATS (Against The Spread) record, demonstrating their dominance especially on home grounds. They have lost only four out of their 41 games.

Contrarily, the Miami Heat, who have a season record of 47-37 SU and 40-40-2 ATS, shine on away grounds, posting a 24-18 record on the road.

Looking back at their past encounters, the Celtics had a clean sweep of the season, going 3-0 against the Heat during the regular season. Despite such a track record, the Heat have historically held their own in the playoffs against the Celtics, having won four of the six previous matches.

Also, it's notable that they won the first three games of the playoff series last season before the Celtics bounced back to even out the series.

As for their strategies, the Heat are known for their adaptability, having used 36 different starting lineups this season.

With the Celtics' home-court advantage and the Heat's knack for stepping up the game on the road, this game will likely keep fans on their toes until the final buzzer.


Dallas Mavericks vs. LA Clippers

The Dallas Mavericks have an impressive 50-32 SU and 48-34 ATS record. This balance is reflected in their home and away games, with an even 25-16 record.

On the opposing side, the LA Clippers, who will be hosting the upcoming game, have managed a 51-31 SU record but a lesser 38-44 ATS this season.

There's an air of suspense surrounding the Clippers, particularly regarding the status of All-Star forward Kawhi Leonard. His participation in Game 1 against the Dallas Mavericks is quite uncertain, owing to persisting knee inflammation that has kept him off the court since March 31.

The Clippers' head coach, Ty Lue, has confirmed that Leonard will refrain from contact in Saturday's final practice before Game 1.

This means the All-Star Paul George may have to pick up the slack if Leonard is declared unfit to play. The Clippers have faced their fair share of health issues affecting their key players in the postseason.

Last season, George had to sit out the team's initial loss to Phoenix due to an injury. Leonard also suffered a meniscus injury, restricting his play to just the first two games in the five-game series.

Despite the Clippers playing host and holding a higher seed, the Dallas Mavericks are tipped as the favourites, with a 2.5-point advantage.


Indiana Pacers vs. Milwaukee Bucks

The Milwaukee Bucks (49-33) face a challenging and uncertain period heading into the playoffs as the third seed in the Eastern Conference. The team lost six of its last eight games, culminating in a shaky postseason entry.

Milwaukee's worries are compounded by injuries to key players. Giannis Antetokounmpo, who averaged 42.2 points and 13 rebounds against Indiana, is currently listed as doubtful for Sunday's Game 1, putting the team on the back foot.

However, the Bucks need to focus on their contests with Indiana (47-35), who led the NBA in both average points (123.3) and assists (30.8) per game this season. The Pacers' fast-paced offense has proven to be a challenge for Milwaukee, as evidenced by the Pacers winning four of their five meetings this season.

With their last playoff victory dating back to 2018, Indiana is hungry for success. Despite being swept in the 2019 and 2020 postseasons, they have made significant changes. They acquired two-time All-Star Pascal Siakam and traded Bruce Brown and Buddy Hield, albeit losing Bennedict Mathurin to a season-ending injury. The Pacers aim to secure their first playoff series win since 2014.

On the other hand, Milwaukee is adjusting to new leadership after firing coach Adrian Griffin and hiring Rivers. The Bucks have also strengthened their line-up by acquiring guard Pat Beverley. With these changes, they hope to return to their winning ways despite the hurdles.

In conclusion, as the playoffs approach, both teams face significant challenges. For the Bucks, it's injury trouble and a loss of form, whereas for the Pacers, it's about overcoming past disappointments. As they face off, seeing who comes out on top will be interesting.


Oklahoma City Thunder vs. New Orleans Pelicans

As the postseason sets in, all eyes are on the Oklahoma Thunder, the top seed in the West. Despite their impressive performance during the season with a 57-25 SU record and a solid 46-36 ATS, there are concerns stemming from their relative inexperience, being the youngest team in the postseason.

In today's game, the Thunder are the favorites with an 8-point advantage as they play at home at the Paycom Center in Oklahoma City.

Their opponents, the New Orleans Pelicans, are seen as the underdogs. They enter the playoffs on shaky ground after narrowly securing a place through the play-in game.

The Pelicans have held their own throughout the season, with a 50-34 SU and 43-37-2 ATS. Notably, they've shown strength on the road, securing 28 wins out of 42 games. Despite this, their previous encounters with the Thunder have seen them lose twice out of three matchups.

Historically, the Thunder have stumbled in the first round, losing four consecutive series since their last major win in the 2016 Western Conference finals. As such, despite being ranked first in the West, there are mixed expectations as they enter the postseason.

Overall, while the Thunder have high hopes and good stats, their lack of experience and past first-round struggles might prove obstacles. On the other hand, the Pelicans, although entering the playoffs limping, have shown resilience, especially on the road. The upcoming games promise high-stakes action with every wager.

Spooky Express Free Play

Oklahoma City Thunder -8 (-107) - We like this play but not enough to make it a Premium Play. New Orleans will be without Zion and while some may say they are a better team with him on the sidelines, we think against the OK City Thunder, the Pelicans are in trouble. Pelicans had to fight to get here and they now face the rested Thunder. Look for OK City to dominate this game and take the 1-0 lead at home.