NBA Previews: April 8th, 2014

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Detroit Pistons at Atlanta Hawks
Tip: 7:30pm ET, Phillips Arena, Atlanta GA

The Hawks can start putting the nails in the coffin for the Knicks playoff hopes. A tilt against the Pistons at home represents one of the easiest games remaining on the schedule.

Josh Smith has continued to prove why the Hawks were right to let him walk and Brandon Jennings has maintained his streaky production levels. Add to that the log-jam with Greg Monroe and Andre Drummond in the middle and you have the recipe for a disaster. Now President Joe Dumars – out of contract this summer – says he will resign, possibly as soon as this week.

The Hawks are favoured by double-digits tonight and it’s easy to see why – despite winning their last game against Boston, they’ve lost 10 of 13 – especially after the Hawks stomped Indiana 107-88 in their last outing.

San Antonio Spurs at Minnesota Timberwolves
Tip: 8pm ET, Target Center, Minneapolis MN

The Spurs can take another huge stride to securing the top seed in the Western Conference with a win against the Timberwolves.

San Antonio has been handling it’s business with aplomb down the stretch, not letting anyone get into position to put them under any pressure. Expect them to start resting players once the top seed is wrapped up.

Minnesota won a thriller against the Heat late last week yet found themselves eliminated from the playoffs, which was an inevitability.

Brooklyn Nets at Miami Heat
Tip: 8pm ET, American Airlines Arena, Miami FL

The Nets and Heat have come together for some great clashes this season, notably going to overtime to defeat the Nets in one game and winning the other two by a combined two points.

LeBron James has scored 34 points in his last two games, though he fouled out in one of the games against Brooklyn this season. Paul Pierce scored 17 of his 29 points in the fourth quarter of their meeting on March 12th.

The Nets have a chance to pull themselves into contention for homecourt advantage in the first round of the playoffs with a win and neither the third-placed Washington Wizards nor fourth-placed Chicago Bulls in action tonight.

Dallas Mavericks at Utah Jazz
Tip: 9pm ET, EnergySolutions Arena, Salt Lake City UT

Dallas rolls into the final game of it’s four-game road trip having won the previous three. A fourth win tonight in Salt Lake City would see them tie the Golden State Warriors in the win column.

Utah are, as has been mentioned before, unashamedly tanking. They have won just one fewer game than the Lakers yet ten more than the NBA-worst Milwaukee Bucks, putting them in second for the upcoming NBA Draft Lottery.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Sacramento Kings
Tip: 10pm ET, Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento CA

Oklahoma City is now tied in the win column with the third-seeded Clippers, so a win tonight is an absolute must if they want to avoid falling into a likely first-round meeting with the unpredictable Golden State Warriors.

Kevin Durant’s 25-point streak sits at 41, one more than Michael Jordan and five fewer than Oscar Robertson.

Sacramento ran Dallas close in their last game before Monta Ellis ran off seven of Dallas’ last eight points to close out a two-point win.

Houston Rockets at Los Angeles Lakers
Tip: 10:30pm ET, Staples Center, Los Angeles CA

Houston may be able to welcome Dwight Howard back for this game after the center sat out the last few with an ankle injury.

Whether the Rockets will need him to deal with this awful Lakers team seems a foregone conclusion. The Lakers need to win out to avoid setting a franchise-worst win-loss record this season. They got more bad news in the form of Kent Bazemore requiring season-ending surgery.

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