After an exciting but modestly sized slate Thursday, the NBA returns with a big 10-game Friday night slate. The postseason picture does become clearer by the day with just over a week left in the regular season, and the Knicks and Wizards are the latest pair of clubs to be eliminated from postseason contention. However, there’s still a good bit of stake for several teams in terms of positioning, especially in the Eastern Conference.
Friday April 1 NBA odds
Here are Friday April 1 NBA odds with point spreads, moneylines and totals.
Rockets G Kevin Porter Jr.
Kevin Porter Jr. is coming off a 32-point, 12-rebound, 12-assist performance against the Kings as he faces the same young team tonight in a game with a 235-point implied total. KPJ caught fire towards the end of last season and he’s heating up again with averages of 19.8 PPG, 6.3 RPG, and 9.3 APG on a 130 offensive rating over his last four outings. His numbers have spiked all season in games without Christian Wood, who is shut down with a hamstring issue. Porter Jr. averages 21 PPG and 7.6 RPG without the big man in the lineup and the Kings rank 29th in rebounding rate since shutting down their top players six games ago. Take KPJ to again top 32.5 combined points, rebounds, and assists, or target his playmaking by taking Over on 27.5 combined points and assists.
Celtics G Jaylen Brown
The Pacers have been incredibly awful on defense lately, allowing 130.3 PPG, 33.3 APG, and a league-high 16.3 triples at a silly 47.8% clip over their last four games. The Celtics are 15-point favorites at home despite losing Robert Williams (knee) a couple games ago. Jaylen Brown has stepped up with 59 points, 20 rebounds, and gone 8-for-14 from 3-point range over two appearances since Williams was injured. He’s averaging 27.7 PPG, 8 RPG, and 5.7 APG while hitting 4 triples at a 54% clip over his last three outings against Indy, so take him to hit at least three 3-pointers tonight at -108 odds at FanDuel. The odds aren’t great, but Brown has a very low prop of 9.5 combined rebounds and assists in a potential blowout.
What to watch for today
Mavericks look to hang on to No. 3 seed: The Mavericks are in about as good a position as the can hope for at this point of the season, having already clinched a playoff berth and having climbed all the way to the No. 3 seed in the Western Conference. Dallas can’t ascend any further at this point, but they can still slide all the way to the No. 6 slot if they don’t continue winning. The Mavs should have a good chance of keeping the good times rolling Friday night when they renew acquaintances with old friend Kristaps Porzingis and pay a visit to a Wizards team that’s just been officially eliminated from the postseason.
Celtics, still in play for top seed, host tanking Pacers: Over in the Eastern Conference, the Celtics have hit an atypical bump in the road, dropping back-to-back games to the Raptors and Heat. Boston’s near-two-month tear through the league had to come to an end at some point, but now that it has to an extent, Ime Udoka’s club can’t afford to wallow if it still wants a chance at the No. 1 seed. The Celts are still just two games behind Miami with five to play, and Friday’s home against a non-contending Pacers team that no longer seems to be concerned about the standings should give them a great chance of jumping back into the win column.
Clippers and Bucks tangle follow Thursday OT battles: Both the Clippers and Bucks have their immediate postseason plans secured, as Los Angeles has clinched a play-in berth over the in the West and Milwaukee has punched its playoff ticket as the current No. 2 seed in the East. While L.A. is likely staying in its current No. 8 spot, Milwaukee has a very real chance of finishing as the top seed in the conference at just a half-game back of the pace-setting Heat. The Clips and the defending champs face off at Fiserv Forum on Friday night fresh off Thursday night overtime games that unfolded in contrasting fashion – Los Angeles blew a lead to the host Bulls and fell by a 135-130 score, while Milwaukee mounted a late comeback against Brooklyn in regulation and ultimately prevailed, 120-119.
Nuggets host Timberwolves on three-game win streak: The Nuggets are one of those Western Conference team that can still improve its postseason lot by catching up to the Mavericks, as No. 6 Denver, which is tied record-wise with No. 5 Utah, is just two games back in the standings of Dallas. Nikola Jokic and company have won three straight, and Friday night, they draw a showdown against the No. 7-seeded Timberwolves, which would love to make up some ground on the three games separating them from their hosts, and by extension, an exit from the play-in level.
AD expected back as Lakers, Spurs continue jostling for No. 10 seed: The 31-45 Lakers are back on the outside looking in when it comes to a play-in spot, with the No. 10 seed back in the hands of the Spurs coming into Friday night. San Antonio hosts the very short-handed Trail Blazers on Friday in a game that will be about to wrap up by the time L.A. takes the floor at Crypto.com Arena against the Pelicans. Anthony Davis is expected back in action for the first time since the final game before the All-Star break, but if Gregg Popovich’s crew prevails as they’re favored to in their game, the best the Lakers will be able to do is keep pace in a race that may come down to the final night of the regular season.