There’s about one month left in the regular season and many fans are finally returning to arenas across the NBA. But as teams jockey for playoff position, there’s no social distancing in the standings, where tight races in both conferences have set up a furious finish to the regular season.
In the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers and Brooklyn Nets are both 36-17 and tied atop the conference standings. They’ll meet Wednesday night on ESPN in a game that many expect to be a playoff preview. A little further down the Eastern Conference leaderboard, just six games separate the Atlanta Hawks in fourth place and the Chicago Bulls in 10th. This year’s new Play-In round—in which the No. 7-10 seeds will play a mini-tournament to determine the final two playoff spots in both conferences—adds a new degree of pressure to secure the highest seed possible.
The postseason battle is just a close in the West, where the Conference’s top four teams—the Jazz, Suns, Clippers, and Nuggets—are all 8-2 over their past 10 games. With injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the up-and-down Lakers slipped to the No. 5 seed and they could fall even further, with Portland and Dallas both now within striking distance. Dropping all the way down to No. 7 could be devastating for the Lakers if they can’t get their stars healthy for the Play-In round.
With competitive races throughout the Association, it’s the perfect time for NBA League Pass, and lucky you, we’ve got a free preview April 16-19. To get you hype, we’re highlighting three of the best games below. But first, here’s a look at the weekly national TV schedule. To watch games on ESPN, TNT and NBA TV, sign up for Sling Orange with Sports Extras using the link at the bottom of this page.
National TV games April 12-April 18
|Monday, April 12|
|7:30 PM||76ers at Mavericks||ESPN >|
|10:00 PM||Nuggets at Warriors||ESPN >|
|Tuesday, April 13|
|7:30 PM||Clippers at Pacers||TNT >|
|10:00 PM||Celtics at Trail Blazers||TNT >|
|Wednesday, April 14|
|7:00 PM||Nets at 76ers||ESPN >|
|9:30 PM||Mavericks at Grizzlies||ESPN >|
|Thursday, April 15|
|7:30 PM||Bucks at Hawks||TNT >|
|10:00 PM||Celtics at Lakers||TNT >|
|Friday, April 16|
|3:00 PM||Pacers at Jazz||NBA TV >|
|7:00 PM||Clippers at 76ers||ESPN >|
|7:00 PM||Knicks at Mavericks||ESPN >|
|Saturday, April 17|
|4:30 PM||Jazz at Lakers||ESPN >|
|8:30 PM||Warriors at Celtics||ESPN3 >|
|Sunday, April 18|
|1:00 PM||Pelicans at Knicks||ESPN >|
|3:30 PM||Nets at Heat||ESPN >|
|7:30 PM||Kings at Mavericks||NBA TV >|
|10:00 PM||Timberwolves at Clippers||NBA TV >|
*All games subject to blackout
Find a full schedule of NBA games HERE >
For more on watching NBA Basketball, including with NBA LEAGUE PASS and NBA TEAM PASS, find information HERE >
Charlotte Hornets at Brooklyn Nets
Friday, April 16, 7:30pm ET
Even without injured rookie LaMelo Ball throwing up soft lobs, the Hornets remain the dunkingest team in the NBA. I mean, just watch the video above (sound ON). The announcers might be a little over-the-top but the video is titled “Miles Bridges ends Clint Capela life”, so maybe not. If Bridges is a murderer, Brooklyn’s DeAndre Jordan is a serial killer, so we’re hoping a dunk contest breaks out in a game that’s also an important test for an improving Hornets squad.
Memphis Grizzlies and Milwaukee Bucks
Saturday, April 17, 7pm ET
Speaking of throwing it down, Ja Morant is out here FLYING. His dunking style is a thing of beauty; where dunks like Bridges’ invite comparisons to violent crime, Morant has us searching for synonyms of “float.” We prefer “Levitate” to “Bounciest” but the clip above tells the story, starting with a serving of lunch and getting tastier from there. He and the Grizzlies will take on Milwaukee and Giannis Antetokounmpo, a man who also knows a thing or two about dunking the basketball.
Indiana Pacers at Atlanta Hawks
Sunday, April 18, 1pm ET
At 25-27 and ninth in the standings, the Pacers are one of those teams in the squishy middle of the Eastern Conference. But they’ve won three straight as they head into a big week with games against the Clippers, Jazz, and on Sunday, the Hawks. Atlanta is on its own hot streak, having won six-of-seven. However, the Hawks have had a number of players out with injury, including Trae Young, who is listed day-to-day. Sunday’s game should be a good battle between two teams with a lot at stake over the next month.
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