We are well into Week 23 of the 2022 NBA season and with that, the race for a spot in the 2022 NBA playoffs is heating up. At this point in the season, every game is an important one for teams in the hunt for the 2022 NBA title. Below we take a look at two of the most important games on the schedule for tonight, Thursday, March 24, 2022.
Cleveland vs. Toronto
- Date & Location: Thursday, March 24 at Scotiabank Arena in Toronto
- Time: 7:30 p.m. ET
- How to Watch: SN, Bally Sports Ohio, NBA League Pass
The playoff race in the NBA’s Eastern Conference is tight. The Chicago Bulls are the No. 5 team. After them, it’s the Cleveland Cavaliers, Toronto Raptors, and Brooklyn Nets. Cleveland is one game behind Chicago and Toronto is two back from the Bulls. The No. 8 Nets are four games off Chicago’s pace. Which is to say, tonight’s game between the Cavaliers and Raptors is incredibly important.
Tonight’s game is the fourth and final meeting between these two clubs, Cleveland is 3-0 this season against Toronto.
The Cavaliers are coming off a 131-120 loss to the Lakers on Monday. The Raptors dropped a 113-99 game to Chicago on that same day.
Darius Garland is the hot player in the Cleveland lineup. He has scored 20 or more points in the team’s last eight games and has double-digit assists in eight of the team’s last 11 games.
Despite being with Fred VanVleet for nine of the past 19 games, the Raptors are playing well as a team. Pascal Siakam is leading the Raptors in scoring with 22 points per game. Siakam has 23 double-doubles this season and has scored more than 20 points in his past eight games, with an average of 27.8 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 4.5 assists over that time.
Pick: Cleveland to beat Toronto.
Phoenix vs. Minnesota
- Date & Location: Thursday, March 24 at Ball Arena in Denver, CO
- Time: 9:00 p.m. ET
- How to Watch: Altitude, Bally Sports AZ, NBATV
The No. 1 team in the Western Conference (and the NBA) faces the No 7 team in the West tonight when the Phoenix Suns meet the Minnesota Timberwolves. The Suns are up 2-0 over the Timberwolves this season.
No team is close to Phoenix this season. The Suns are 58-14 and nine games ahead of the No. 2 Memphis Grizzlies. They are 16.5 games ahead of Minnesota. Phoenix has played well at home (30-8) and on the road (28-6).
Minnesota has matched the Suns’ record over the past 10 games. Both teams are 8-2 over that stretch.
Where this game gets interesting is on offense. Milwaukee averages 115.4 points per game, which is better than the 114.9 points per game of the Suns. However, the Timberwolves allow their opponents — on average — nearly six points a game more than Phoenix allows 112 to 106.5.
Devin Booker has put up more than 20 points a game in his past 14 games and has over 25 points in five straight games. Booker is averaging 28.1 points in his past seven outings.
Karl-Anthony Towns has been on the Timberwolves injury report for the past 11 games, but he hasn’t missed time. Over those 11 games, Towns has averaged 28.0 points, 11.2 rebounds, 1.2 blocks, and 1 steal.
Pick: Phoenix to beat Minnesota.
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