With the 2017-18 NBA regular season winding down, many might think there isn’t much to watch until the post-season. In the past, teams have often rested stars to get ready for the playoffs. But at this point in the season, some teams can’t afford to rest their stars. They have to keep fighting until the very last day. Not only that, many seeds are not guaranteed within each conference. Here’s a list of must-watch matchups to watch in the last week of the NBA regular season.
Must-Watch Matchups in the Final Week of the NBA Regular Season
April 3 – Golden State @ Oklahoma City
It’s no question that these two teams are big rivals. With Stephen Curry out for the rest of the regular season, all eyes are on Kevin Durant. Durant is now the top player on the team and people will question his ability to carry the Golden State Warriors in the absence of Curry. Russell Westbrook will be ready for the fight. These two teams could very well meet in the playoffs under the right circumstances, and things have gotten chippy between them in the past. Westbrook is certainly looking for revenge in the playoffs after Durant left two years ago.
April 4 – Philadelphia @ Detroit
After an injury to Joel Embiid, the Philadelphia 76ers continue to fight for relevance after proving their abilities this season. The 76ers remain just half a game behind the Cleveland Cavaliers for the No. 3 seed for the Eastern Conference. On the other side, the Detroit Pistons are fighting for their playoff lives. They are four games out of the No. 8 playoff seed. After the big Blake Griffin trade this season, you can bet the organization is hungry to return to the playoffs.
April 5 – Washington @ Cleveland
Should the standings remain the same at the end of the season, this will be a preview of a first-round Eastern Conference match-up. The Cavaliers and the Washington Wizards both took big steps backward this season after looking poised to fight for the top playoff seeds at the beginning of the season. John Wall is still getting into game shape after being out the past couple months with an injury. Both teams will be fighting to prevent further drops in the East standings.
April 7 – Denver @ L.A. Clippers
Currently, both teams sit right outside the eighth seed for the playoffs. At this juncture in the season, this game will be very decisive of who stays in playoff contention. One game separates the Denver Nuggets and Los Angeles Clippers from the ninth and tenth spots in the Western Conference. Both teams have exciting young players. Tobias Harris and Lou Williams run the show for the Clippers, while Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray are the top scorers for the Nuggets. This game should have a playoff atmosphere.
April 9 – New Orleans @ L.A. Clippers
This game gives the Clippers a shot at gaining ground on the current eighth seed, the New Orleans Pelicans. After losing DeMarcus Cousins to injury, the Pelicans have struggled to climb the ladder in the conference. The Clippers will have to give their all to the Pelicans. Anthony Davis continues to dominate for the Pelicans, but the Clippers have multiple players who can take over the lead scoring role. This game will have playoff intensity as both teams look to secure a playoff position.
April 11 – Utah @ Portland
After they lost Gordon Hayward in the off-season, many expected the Utah Jazz to go through a few growing pains. But with the breakout of star rookie Donovan Mitchell, this team has not skipped a beat. The Portland Trail Blazers are also enjoying success with career years again from their two top players, Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum. Their defense and depth have helped them pass last year’s win total already, as they look to secure a top-three seed for the first time since the 1999-00 season. If current seeding holds, this game looks to be an early preview of a first-round playoff matchup. This match-up will feature several of the league’s bright young stars.
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