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Nets and Raptors Race Comes Down to the Wire

Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

Tom Szczerbowski-US PRESSWIRE

With five games to go in the NBA regular season, the Toronto Raptors hold a two game lead over the Brooklyn Nets in the NBA Atlantic Division. This is significant because the winner will host a first round playoff series while the second place finisher likely will drop to the fifth spot and have to play on the road to start the post season.

The Nets completed their season sweep of the Miami Heat on Tuesday with a 88-87 win. Mason Plumlee, the rookie out of Duke, blocked Lebron James game winning dunk attempt with two seconds left for the victory. What does this mean for the post season? Nothing other than perhaps giving the Nets some confidence that they can beat anyone in the East, even on the road. To catch the Raptors for the division title though will take a near miracle.

Toronto has a cream puff schedule the rest of the way, starting tomorrow night against the Philadelphia 76ers. They have two games left with the New York Knicks, which are by far their toughest games left. They also play the Detroit Pistons and Milwaukee Bucks. If they beat the three bottom feeders the worst they can do is finish in a tie. If they can beat them and gain a split with the Knicks then they win the division. The Nets schedule is not much more daunting with two games against the Orlando Magic and games with the Atlanta Hawks, the Knicks and the Cleveland Cavaliers.

The Knicks still have playoff hopes although they are fading fast. They have lost their last two games to dip 1.5 games behind the Hawks. They were helped out on Tuesday when the Hawks lost at home to the lowly Pistons 102-95. Rodney Stuckey led the Pistons with 29 points to snap a modest two game win streak for Atlanta.

The Knicks have four games left and they are all going to be tough. They play the Raptors twice and also the Chicago Bulls and the Nets. The Hawks have five left, two of them could be considered easy ones, the Boston Celtics and the Bucks. The other three are going to be tough with the Nets, Heat and Charlotte Bobcats. advantage Hawks. Of course, the Pistons were supposed to be easy too so don’t give up hope Knicks fans.

Wednesday’s Atlantic Division games with odds provided by Bookmaker include:

Brooklyn at Orlando– Nets are -5.5 -110 and the Magic is +5.5 -110 ATS. Moneyline is Brooklyn -235 and Orlando +195. Take the Nets -5.5 -110. Orlando is mailing it in at this point.

Philadelphia at Toronto-Philly is +13.5 -110 and Toronto is -13.5 -110 ATS. Moneyline is the Sixers +890 and the Raptors -1500. Take the Raptors -13.5 -110. Toronto has a lot to play for right now. The Sixers do not.

Boston at Atlanta-Boston is +7 -110 and the Hawks are -7 -110 ATS. Moneyline is Boston +255 and the Hawks -310. We are going to take the Celtics +7 -110. But we like Atlanta -310 to win the game. We just do not want to give the Hawks an extra seven points to make up if they cannot even beat the Pistons.


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