Tuesday Teaser

April 2, 2024

NBA: Dallas Mavericks at Golden State Warriors

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This is a fun and spicy matchup, with playoffs and play-in implications on the line. And both Dallas and Golden State are hot.

The Mavericks are sizzling, winners of seven in a row and an impressive 10-1 over their last 11 games. That’s allowed them to climb inside the top-six in the Western Conference, a place all teams want to be this time of year.

They’ll be jockeying with the Pelicans for position, as well as trying to catch the Clippers and hold off the Kings and Suns to avoid the play-in tournament. Every one of these last eight games matters in a big way. Guaranteeing a seven-game series in round one is the goal, rather than a scenario where two losses could potentially end a special season. 

Meanwhile, Golden State sensed the Rockets coming and put its foot on the gas. The Warriors are going to be in the play-in tournament at best, but that’d be a win rather than getting the No. 11 spot and going home before the fun even starts.

Steve Kerr’s bunch has won four games in a row, improving their record to 40-34. That’s enough to hold off the scorching hot Rockets for now, who finally lost a game recently and are now 38-36. The two teams meet on Thursday night in Houston, so this could be a look-ahead spot for Golden State. They need to lock in and beat Dallas at home, or else that game against the Rockets could mean being tied in the standings when it’s over.

Still, the Warriors just finished a very successful road trip, beating teams they’re supposed to beat in Charlotte and San Antonio and also getting nice wins over Orlando and Miami. Steph Curry is coming off a 33-point outing against the Spurs, a game in which he hit seven three-pointers. You can bet he’ll be firing against the Mavericks. 

But on the other side is Luka Doncic, a guy who has a very strong case to be the NBA’s MVP. He’s averaging a ridiculous 34.0 points, 9.8 assists and 9.1 rebounds per game. Doncic just went bananas against the Rockets on Sunday, going off for 47 points, 12 rebounds and seven assists.

If it weren’t for that Nikola Jokic dude in Denver, Doncic would likely take home the MVP award. He forms quite the two-headed monster with Kyrie Irving, who’s also having a stellar season himself. The veteran is posting 25.3 points per game, 5.3 assists and 5.0 rebounds. Not only will the duo be ready to go against Golden State on Tuesday night, but Dallas is quickly becoming the team no one wants to see in Round 1 of the playoffs. 

Jason Schlefsky’s Pick: Dallas moneyline (-105) 

Somehow, the Warriors are just 18-19 at home this season. Long gone are the days where Oakland and now San Francisco is a place no one wants to play. For whatever reason, Curry, Klay Thompson and Draymond Green (when he’s not getting ejected) are now a better road team at 22-15. Meanwhile, Doncic and company fear no one away from home, posting an excellent 23-14 road record. During their recent stretch of really good basketball, the Mavericks are 7-1 on the road and winners of five straight. That streak will continue on Tuesday, as Dallas pulls out a late-night thriller by a final score of 120-118.


NHL: Vancouver Canucks at Vegas Golden Knights

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This could very well be a playoff preview, as Vancouver looks likely to take the Pacific Division, currently at 100 points and still comfortably ahead of Edmonton while sitting 10 points up on Vegas with 90. And while many thought the Golden Knights would be a wild card team if they made the dance, they actually currently sit ahead of Nashville (also with 90 points) in the standings. That would mean a date with Oilers in round one if things hold, rather than a potential showdown with the Stars.

Regardless, just making the NHL playoffs is really all that matters, because it’s not like the NBA where homecourt advantage is paramount. Any team can win on another squad’s ice on any given night. And Vegas has that championship experience from a season ago, while Vancouver is finding its way as a top dog in the Western Conference again. 

There’s a reason the Golden Knights are back into a more comfortable spot in the standings, as they’ve been playing better hockey of late. Vegas is 5-0-1 over its last six games and 8-2-1 over its last 11.

They’re coming off a strong road trip that included overtime wins against the Blues and Wild to hold both teams off in the playoff chase, as well as an impressive 4-1 beatdown of Winnipeg. And T-Mobile Arena has been kind to the Knights as well recently, winners of four of their last five in Sin City, with all four victories coming by at least two goals.

Jonathan Marchessault recently cracked the 40-goal mark and he’s one of four members of the Vegas team with at least 50 points in the season. It’s a balanced squad capable of repeating as Stanley Cup champs. 

The Canucks are coming off a ridiculous nine-game homestand and will have to remember what it’s like to play on the road again. They went 5-3-1 during the stretch, a fine if not remarkable record.

Vancouver suffered disappointing losses to the Kings and Stars by scores of 3-2 and 3-1 before rebounding to beat the Ducks 3-2 on Sunday. They don’t play a lot of high-scoring games and goals are at a premium, something that should suit them well in the postseason.

Still, the team is just 9-8-2 over its last 19 games, not exactly screaming momentum as we enter the final stretch. A win on the road against Vegas could hopefully get them going, giving Vancouver the final push it needs to ensure it wraps up the Pacific Division crown. 

Norm LaChatlier’s Pick: Vegas moneyline (-135)

There’s no denying one team in this game knows how to flip the switch and get hot at the right time, as Vegas proved that a summer ago. Meanwhile, the Canucks haven’t been to the playoffs since the 2019-20 season and that was the only time they’ve made the dance over the last eight years. Once the calendar flips to April, we might as well be playing postseason hockey. That’ll be the case on Tuesday night, as the Golden Knights bring an intensity Vancouver can’t match after their long stint at home. Vegas takes it by a final score of 4-1.

And Keep an Eye On…

NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Philadelphia 76ers (Tuesday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

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The game has big-time implications in both conferences. Start in the East, where the Sixers are trying to position themselves to make a postseason run once Joel Embiid returns. They’re currently the No. 8 seed, which puts them in the play-in games. But they’re only 2.5 games back of Indiana for the No. 6 spot. In the West, Oklahoma City enters this game as the No. 1 seed in the conference. They’re trying to hold off Denver and Minnesota, making this a monster road game for the upstart Thunder.


NBA: Oklahoma City Thunder at Boston Celtics (Wednesday, 7:30 p.m. ET)

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See above. The Thunder are trying to survive a brutal East Coast road trip to end the season, which includes a back-to-back in Philly and Boston. The Celtics are not only the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but they’re also running away with the No. 1 overall seed in the NBA. So, this is going to be a tough one for Oklahoma City, as they try to jockey with the Nuggets and Timberwolves for the top spot in the West.


NHL: Boston Bruins at Nashville Predators (Tuesday, 8:00 p.m. ET)

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This inter-conference battle is a good one, as both Boston and Nashville have a lot on the line. The Bruins are currently the top seed in the East, but they’re barely holding off the Panthers. Boston has 101 points, while Florida has 99. Meanwhile, in the battle for the President’s Trophy, the B’s trail the Stars (103 points) and are holding off the Avalanche and Canucks (100). Meanwhile, the Predators are trying to secure their spot in the postseason. At 90 points, Nashville is currently holding onto the first wild-card spot in the West.