It would only be appropriate to cap off this season with a giant exclamation point, and that is exactly what’s happening tonight with so many important games lined up. There are all kinds of reasons to tune in tonight, from meaningful games for teams like Denver to meaningful games for individual players like Russell Westbrook. Scroll through below and I’m sure you’ll find a game worth watching.
Utah Jazz @ Portland Trail Blazers
10:30 PM (east) – ESPN
Maybe the most underrated game of the night is this one. All eyes will be on Denver and Minnesota, and rightfully so. But this game will have plenty of meaning as well. The winner determines the 3 seed in the West as well as who will face Houston in the 2nd round. This isn’t win or go home but it may be the next best thing. Both of these teams will be fighting for that 3 seed which will hopefully lead to a scrappy and desperate final game of the season.
Memphis Grizzlies @ Oklahoma City Thunder
8:00 PM (east) – FS Oklahoma
I don’t always advise people to watch Grizzlies games, but when I do you can be assured that something crazy may happen. Russell Westbrook needs just 16 more rebounds to average a triple double for the second consecutive season in a row. You can be confident you’ll see Russ stealing rebounds and maybe even requesting a few of his own players to take some “ill” advised shots. Outside of this the only reason to watch this game would be if you’re a pretty dedicated Thunder fan. If the Thunder somehow manage to lose this game they will be stuck with the 8 seed.
Denver Nuggets @ Minnesota Timberwolves
8:00 PM (east) – FS & ATL
The last season a team had a play-in scenario was in 1997. The Nuggets and Wolves will have one tonight. This is basically the first playoff game of the year. The tension will be high. The feel at the Target Center in Minnesota will be exciting and new. This is win or go home. Minnesota hasn’t been to a playoff in 14 years, and I can assure you that Denver doesn’t care. In fact they would love to make it 15 years.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Philadelphia 76ers
8:00 PM (east) – ESPN
The fourth game that needs to be on your radar tonight is this one. Milwaukee has all kinds of incentive to win and lose this game. A 76ers win would put the Bucks in position to lose their draft pick as they would be tied with a few teams for the 17th best record in the NBA. Currently, their pick will convey to the Suns if it falls in the top 10 or 17-30 range. If the Bucks do win this game it will put them in position to potentially play the Cavaliers in the first round (as long as the Cavs can handle the Knicks). Losing this game will give the Bucks the 7 seed and they will in turn play the beat up Boston Celtics in the 1st round. Watching this game to see what the Bucks decision making process will look like could be worth it alone. The 76ers have all the incentive to win as it would wrap up the 3 seed.
San Antonio Spurs @ New Orleans Pelicans
8:00 PM (east) – FSSW & FSN
Both teams should have incentive to win tonight. A win for either team would position them with the 5th seed in the west. A loss could potentially put either squad in the 8th seed and facing the Houston Rockets. Although, a loss for the Jazz would mean that the one of these teams will be running into a buzz saw in the first round. A loss for the Blazers would be more favorable as they seem to have cooled off towards the last couple weeks. This should be another hotly contested game as both teams will be fighting for the best position they can get.
Toronto Raptors @ Miami Heat
8:00 PM (east) – TSN & SUN
The final game to keep a tab on would be the Raptors and Heat. A Heat loss here could mean this same match-up would occur in the first round of the playoffs. There are also other scenarios that keep the Heat at the 7 seed. The Raptors are safe at the 1 seed but if they would prefer to play the Heat in round 1 over the Wizards or Bucks then a win tonight would give them the best opportunity for that to happen.