Detroit Pistons at Philadelphia 76ers
The Sixers came back from the All-Star break with an impressive win over Southeast Division leaders Washington, but have reverted to their previous poor form in the last few games. The main problem has been defensively, where they have been unable to stem the tide of points against them, and a series of injuries to key players such as Joel Embiid which have left them short of star power.
The Sixers need to start putting a run of wins together quickly to stand any chance of reaching the playoffs, but realistically fans may already be looking ahead to next season. A clash with Detroit represents a decent opportunity, though, as the Pistons have been disappointing on the road recently and their win percentage is still below 50 percent for the season. Fresh from setting a record for the worst free-throw percentage in NBA history against the Pelicans, confidence will be low and the Sixers need to take advantage on their home court.
- Top tip: Philadelphia 76ers to win
Golden State Warriors at New York Knicks
The Knicks have been inconsistent all season and are in danger of missing out on a berth in the playoffs unless they can find some form in the next few weeks. There are no signs of the attacking strategy coming together, however, with Derrick Rose admitting this week that he is still not comfortable with the triangle offense system.
The bad news for the Knicks is that, even if they can find some attacking potency, it will still be hard to outscore a Golden State team that has the best record in the whole of the country. The Warriors have already clinched their playoff spot with considerable time to spare, but their ambitions are far more lofty than merely getting to the postseason. There is little chance of the Warriors taking their foot off the gas and a trip to Madison Square Garden should bring out the best in Stephen Curry and company, even if they will miss the injured Kevin Durant.
- Top tip: Golden State Warriors to win by more than 10 points
Houston Rockets at San Antonio Spurs
The Spurs and the Rockets have been, statistically, the second and fourth best teams in the NBA this season, and the fact they are in the same division adds extra spice as the countdown to the playoffs continues. They will both be desperate to ensure home court advantage for as much of the postseason as possible, and a thrilling contest could be on the cards at the AT&T Center.
The Rockets have been prolific lately, most notably when they beat the Minnesota Timberwolves 142-130, but they will need to be much more effective at the back in San Antonio. The Spurs have looked almost unstoppable over the last few weeks, inspired by the brilliance of Kawhi Leonard, and their superior defensive strength makes them a good bet to edge out the Rockets in a high-scoring affair.
- Top tip: Total points more than 214.5