The NBA is inching closer to the end of the season, and the race towards the playoffs in each conference have never been tighter.
Monday’s schedule provides drama in both conferences that could shake up the balance both in the East and the West.
In the East, the Chicago Bulls hold a 1.5-game lead for the 10th and final spot, but have to travel to the City of Brotherly Love to face James Harden, Joel Embiid and the Philadelphia 76ers. The Sixers hold the league’s second-best record at 48-22 and are favorites to win tonight.
Should the Bulls lose, that could open the door for the Indiana Pacers to put more pressure on Chicago. The Pacers are in the Queen City tonight facing the rebuilding Charlotte Hornets, a game Indiana is expected to win. Should the favorites win out East tonight, the standings will likely be in for a change come tomorrow.
Out west, there are implications that could save the faint playoff hopes the Portland Trail Blazers have.
The Dallas Mavericks, holding onto the No. 6 seed after two straight wins, head to Beale Street to face the Memphis Grizzlies, who are closer to seeing Ja Morant return from suspension. The Grizzlies are tied with the Sacramento Kings for the No. 2 seed in the Western Conference.
Speaking of the Kings, they are also taking the floor tonight against the Utah Jazz, who are tied with the No. 9 seed with a .486 winning percentage, but are on the wrong side of the tiebreaker with the Los Angeles Lakers and Minnesota Timberwolves.
Speaking of the Wolves, they’re at Madison Square Garden tonight to face the New York Knicks in a crucial contest that could keep or kick them from the playoff picture.
Lastly, the Golden State Warriors, who have lost three straight games and slipped to the No. 7 seed, are visiting the Houston Rockets.
With a good mix of drama on tonight’s NBA schedule, these games could be the difference between a trip to the playoffs or lottery for teams on and off the court.