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NBA NW: Jazz and Blazers Hope to Stay in the Playoff Hunt


With less than 20 games remaining in the NBA regular season, the clock is ticking for teams like the Utah Jazz and the Portland Trail Blazers – who are currently on the outside looking in – to make a final push toward the postseason.

While the Jazz and Blazers have stumbled in recent weeks, other teams – namely the Los Angeles Lakers – have begun a surge that could leave Utah and Portland out in the cold. However with the Jazz and Blazers being just one and three games back of L.A. for eighth place respectively, a sense of urgency may fuel them to big wins today. Here is a look at both games and their respective point spreads with accompanying picks.

Memphis Grizzlies +1.5 at Utah Jazz -1.5 

Although the Jazz have dropped eight of their last ten games, amazingly, they are still very much alive in the Western Conference playoff chase. Things won’t get any easier as they take on a tough defensive squad in the Memphis Grizzlies, but fortunately they’ll be at home, where they are 23-8 this season.

The Jazz’s offense struggles will run into a tenacious defense that has allowed fewer than 90 points per game this season, so for Utah to prevail it will likely need to defend its basket with an equal amount of vigor and effort. Luckily, Memphis isn’t the best scoring team in the league, averaging just 93.6 points per game, but they are strong on the road (19-12 this season).

These teams actually match-up fairly well and the game should turn out to be a barn-burner, but Memphis is the better team and is playing far better basketball at the moment. Utah will come out with a lot of fight, but take the Grizzlies to cover +1.5 today and earn another road win.


Detroit Pistons +10.5 at Portland Trail Blazers -10.5

Portland has had its fair share of struggles lately, but their recent failures can’t even compare to the depths of Detroit’s lack of success, as the Pistons have dropped their last seven games.

The Pistons can’t seem to find the hoop and has allowed other teams to live it, as they’ve allowed nearly 106 points per and over 50 percent field goal shooting per game in their seven losses this month. That’s great news for Portland – a team that heavily relies on the perimeter game, but could find more inside opportunities against a hapless Detroit squad.

There’s no question that the Blazers should down the Pistons tonight at home, but even still, Portland is not a team that blows teams out of the water and has struggled at times against inferior NBA squads. Keeping that in mind, look for Portland to prevail here, but look for Detroit to muster enough fight to cover +10.5 points in the loss.

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