Tuesday night provides two incredibly important matchups as the NBA regular season comes to a close, and our NBA Tuesday picks touch on an exciting Western Conference playoff race. BetRivers.com is proud to provide a wide variety of NBA futures, props, and teasers, along with Warriors-Suns odds and Lakers-Knicks odds for Tuesday, May 11. Although LeBron James won’t be in action, the Lakers are looking to move up from the No. 7 seed, and a late-night showdown with the red-hot Knicks will have the entire attention of the NBA betting audience. But that’s not the only pivotal game we’re breaking down in our NBA Tuesday picks, as the Phoenix Suns and Golden State Warriors do battle looking to improve their playoff seeding.
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PHOENIX SUNS (48-20) at GOLDEN STATE WARRIORS (36-33), 10 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Suns -180 ML, Warriors +148 ML
SPREAD: Suns -4.5
OVER/UNDER: 230 (-110/-112)
Click here for the full list of Warriors-Suns odds.
Before we get into the matchup itself, I think we need to touch on the motivations involved for both of these teams.
Golden State is currently sitting in eighth place in the West, meaning that, if the season ended today, they would draw the Lakers in the NBA play-in tournament. The winner of that 7-8 matchup would then draw the No. 2-seed in the West in the first round of the playoffs. As of today, that is Phoenix, who is sitting. 1.5 games behind the Jazz for the top seed.
No one is going to want to draw the Lakers in the first round of the Playoffs. The prospect of potentially having to deal with a healthy LeBron and Anthony Davis will be terrifying for anyone, and if the Suns are going to have a real chance to leapfrog the Jazz, they are likely going to need to win out. The Warriors, on the other hand, are in a dogfight for that No. 8-seed. Getting the Lakers in the play-in tournament is hardly ideal, but it is better than having to win back-to-back games for the right to play the No. 1-seed in the first round.
Now, I think the most important thing to note here is that the Warriors are coming off of a Monday night win over the Jazz. Steph Curry, Andrew Wiggins and Draymond Green all played at least 36 minutes in a dogfight that saw the Warriors blow a big fourth-quarter lead only to rally and win on a Steph three with 13 seconds left. Asking them to turn around 24 hours later and play the second-best team in the West, a team that has one of the players — Chris Paul — that has proven to be able to do a job on Steph defensively, is a big ask.
This is something of a strength-on-strength matchup here. The Warriors are a very good defensive team that needs Steph to go nuts if they’re going to have a chance to win; that’s what happens when your second option is Andrew Wiggins. The Suns, on the other hand, have been one of the most efficient offenses in the NBA the last two months despite struggling defensively.
I think CP3 slows down Steph. I think the back-to-back catches up with Golden State’s legs. And I think the Suns are the play tonight.
NEW YORK KNICKS (38-30) at LOS ANGELES LAKERS (38-30), 10 p.m. ET
MONEYLINE: Lakers -175 ML, Knicks +143 ML
SPREAD: Lakers -4
OVER/UNDER: 212.5 (-112/-109)
Click here for the full list of Lakers-Knicks odds.
Another late-night tip with a ton of playoff seeding implications.
The Knicks are currently sitting in fourth in the East, but they are a half-game up on the Hawks and just a game up on the Heat. A sluggish end to the regular season could very easily mean New York goes from having home-court advantage against one of those two teams in the first round to drawing Milwaukee or Brooklyn as the No. 6-seed. With four games in the next six days, getting a win now to keep their lead in the loss column is significant.
On the other side is the Lakers, who are currently sitting in seventh in the West but are just a game in the loss column behind Portland for the No. 6-seed, which would allow them to avoid having to play in the Play-in tournament and would, potentially, yield a first round matchup with Denver.
The x-factor here?
The Lakers should be at full strength, but won’t with the Tuesday afternoon news that LeBron James is not ready to make his return. Anthony Davis is expected to play tonight as well, meaning that we are going to get our first glimpse at the Playoff version of these Lakers tonight.
The line here is trending towards the Lakers, and I do believe that’s the side to be on here. As much as I love the resurgence of the Knicks and as good as Julius Randle has been this year, this is when the run starts for the Lakers.