NBA Previews: April 16th, 2014

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It’s the final night of the NBA Regular Season. Thirty teams, fifteen games. Here’s the lowdown.

Chicago Bulls at Charlotte Bobcats
Tip: 7pm ET, Time Warner Cable Arena, Charlotte NC

The Bulls can take third from Toronto with a win and Raptors loss, but they won’t want to given that with it would come a second-round date with Miami. The Cats are trying to overhaul Washington for sixth, though they need a win and Wizards loss to do so.

Indiana Pacers at Orlando Magic
Tip: 7pm ET, Amway Center, Orlando FL

The Pacers have the number one seed secured, so will almost definitely rest their key players against the Magic, who are still jockeying for draft position amongst Boston, Utah and Los Angeles.

Dallas Mavericks at Memphis Grizzlies
Tip: 8pm ET, FedExForum, Memphis TN

This is the biggest game on tap tonight. A Dallas win lets them take seventh and avoid the Spurs. A Memphis win achieves the same outcome. With the identity of the two-seed still in question, the seventh seed could have a shot.

Atlanta Hawks at Milwaukee Bucks
Tip: 8pm ET, BMO Harris Bank Arena, Milwaukee WI

Atlanta is secure as the eighth seed and Milwaukee is confirmed as the team with the worst record in the league. There’s not much (read: nothing) to be decided in this game.

Utah Jazz at Minnesota Timberwolves
Tip: 8pm ET, Target Center, Minneapolis MN

Another season of ifs and maybes comes to a close for Minnesota. Maybe one of these years they won’t have crippling injury problems and awful late game execution.

Houston Rockets at New Orleans Pelicans
Tip: 8pm ET, Smoothie King Center, New Orleans LA

The Pelicans have had one of the worst seasons by a team in the NBA after assembling what looked like a playoff-worthy roster. The Rockets are locked into the fourth seed. There’s nothing to play for in this game except pride amongst two sets of reserves.

Detroit Pistons at Oklahoma City Thunder
Tip: 8pm ET, Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma City OK

The Thunder need a win tonight to secure the second overall seed ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers. That they have the awful Pistons visiting them should be reassuring.

Los Angeles Lakers vs San Antonio Spurs
Tip: 8pm ET, AT&T Arena, San Antonio TX

The Lakers can put an end to this hideous season tonight against the Spurs third-string squad. Expect Los Angeles to lose, however, as they look to leap higher in the draft order.

Washington Wizards at Boston Celtics
Tip: 8pm ET, TD Garden, Boston MA

Another playoff-bound team taking on a team looking to lose for better lottery odds. Washington needs a win to secure the sixth seed and could jump to fifth with a win and Brooklyn loss.

Brooklyn Nets at Cleveland Cavaliers
Tip: 8pm ET, Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland OH

The Nets need a win to avoid sliding to sixth and a series with Toronto. They also need a win against this Cleveland team because losing to the Cavs on the way to the playoffs would be a big momentum loss.

Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat
Tip: 8pm ET, American Airlines Arena

The Sixers season has been simply awful and finally comes to a close tonight. Miami has already confirmed it will rest the big three of LeBron James, Chris Bosh and Dwyane Wade.

Toronto Raptors at New York Knicks
Tip: 8pm ET, Madison Square Garden, New York NY

The Knicks are already eliminated, though a win tonight means they would’ve come very close to beating out the Hawks for eighth. They just left themselves too much work to do. The Raptors can clinch third with a win tonight and look like returning to the playoffs in style.

Los Angeles Clippers at Portland Trail Blazers
Tip: 10:30pm ET, Rose Garden, Portland OR

This is the best of the late games tonight with the Clippers needing a win to try and steal the second seed from the Thunder right at the end of the season. Portland is locked into the fifth seed, so their motivation tonight will be questionable.

Phoenix Suns at Sacramento Kings
Tip: 10:30pm ET, Sleep Train Arena, Sacramento CA

The Suns suffered a heartbreaking loss to eliminate them from playoff contention Monday night against Memphis. The Kings will close out another losing season but one with more positive momentum than previous years.

Golden State Warriors at Denver Nuggets
Tip: 10:30pm ET, Pepsi Center, Denver CO

The final game of this final nightly preview of the season takes two teams with very different futures. The Warriors are heading to the playoffs with a few question marks surrounding their big man Andrew Bogut. The Nuggets have had a season to forget thanks to injuries of their own.

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