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Wednesday's NBA Action

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8th spot in the West is still up for grabs on the final day of the NBA Season

It’s the final day of the NBA season and all 30 NBA teams are in action wrapping up the 2012-13 campaign. That means that plenty of action is on the board for bettors but the majority of the focus will be on who claims that final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

The Kobe-less L.A. Lakers currently hold that spot and with a win against Houston tonight would actually jump up to 7th by virtue of tying the Rockets in the standings but winning the season series vs. Houston. But a loss by L.A., and a Utah win in Memphis, would see the Jazz claim that 8th spot and have L.A. missing the playoffs for the first time since 2005. So here is a look at both of these games tonight:

Utah (+4.5) vs. Memphis (-4.5); Total set at 180

Utah has to win to have a shot at getting in to the playoffs and would have definitely preferred to be at home for this one. The Jazz are 1-2 SU vs. the Grizzlies this season but that one win did come in the last time these two met in mid-March. Utah is playing some good basketball right now having won four of their last five and doing it with a strong commitment to defense. Four of their last five opponents have been held to 90 points or less against the Jazz, so with the stakes as high as they are tonight, expect Utah to be very tough to score on.

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Memphis has been tough to score on all year with their #1 defense in the league, allowing 89.5 points per game. They are locked into the #5 seed but that doesn’t mean they don’t have anything to play for tonight. A win and a Clippers loss in Sacramento would mean the Grizzlies would have home court in the their 1st round matchup with L.A and with a 31-9 SU home record this year, you can bet the Grizzlies would prefer to have the playoffs start on their own floor.

Both teams have something to play for tonight and that means the intensity level in this game should be through the roof. That means defense will be rule the court and the refs will likely tuck their whistles away down the stretch and let these guys decide it for themselves.

Take the under.

Houston (+2.5) vs. L.A. Lakers (-2.5); Total set at 204.5

L.A. never expected to be in this position to start the year but that’s where the chips have fallen. L.A. has dealt with adversity all season so they are more than equipped to handle a win-and-get-in scenario. But the Rockets are 2-1 SU against the Lakers this year and did it by using their youth and speed to run the old Lakers out of the gym. With no Kobe to provide the plethora of points, L.A. has no choice but to slow this game down and make it a half-court contest.

Like Memphis, Houston has quite a bit to play for in this game as well. A loss and they fall to the 8th seed but a win and a loss by Golden State has them jump up to the 6th spot. Houston lives off their speed and offense so they will try everything they can to get this game at a blistering pace. The faster it is, the better it is for Houston.

However, like the Utah/Memphis game, I believe the better option here is on the total. This is the lowest total these two teams have had all season and although the absence of Kobe has something to do with that, so does the scenario. L.A. played through their big men (Howard/Gasol) in their first game without Bryant on the weekend and will look to do the same. That game with the Spurs – another fast-paced team – finished with 177 points as L.A. turned it into a half-court game and used their size inside to grind out possessions.

With the playoffs on the line, the Lakers will look to do the same tonight simply because they don’t have the personnel to get out and run with Houston for 48 minutes.

Take the under.

  
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