Teams dealing with injuries can affect their playoff standing. Make sure you double check the statuses of these guys as we head down the stretch into the playoffs before adding them to your NBA picks.
Portland Blazers (+7500)
It would be a big surprise to see Portland doing anything in the playoffs this season, especially with the wing injury issues they have been dealt with down the stretch. Wesley Matthews is of course out for the playoffs after rupturing his achilles, and even though he isn’t as important on offense as say Damian Lillard or LaMarcus Aldridge, his defense was huge for this team. Not only is he out, but his replacement Aaron Afflalo is also banged up, and he is looking questionable to start this series. That puts a lot of pressure on CJ McCollum, and I think it might be too much for the Blazers. I am taking the Grizzlies as my NBA pick to win this series.
Memphis Grizzlies (+3000)
Even though I think they should be favored over the Blazers, the Grizzlies are not without their own injury concerns heading into the playoffs. Marc Gasol just returned from an ankle injury but was on a minutes limit last night, and Mike Conley and Tony Allen are both still out due to lower body injuries. If all of those guys are fine the Grizzlies have nothing to worry about, but in order to have a chance to win the West, the Grizzlies are going to need perfect health from their top six or seven guys. I think they’ll be fine, but watch those guys’ statuses heading into the weekend.
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Houston Rockets (+2500)
The Houston Rockets just got back Dwight Howard, and as long as he stays healthy throughout the playoffs the Rockets have a good shot at getting to the Western Conference Finals. However the loss of Donatas Motiejunas for the playoffs might hurt this team. Terrence Jones is probably the better player, but he does not stretch the floor for this offense like Montiejunas did. While it may not hurt them in the first round against the Mavs, it could hurt them down the road in some situational matchups. The Rockets have some good shooting, but it’s not great, and a team that needs the three like the Rockets will be without one of their better shooters in the playoffs.
Chicago Bulls (+1500)
The Chicago Bulls are the biggest wildcard in the entire NBA. If they are healthy throughout the playoffs, they are going to be a really tough out, and they could be the biggest threat to the Cavs in the East outside of the Hawks. The Bulls and Cavs may be the most anticipated second round series in the playoffs, and if they are healthy, they can beat Cleveland. However Derrick Rose left last night’s game as a precaution after experiencing some knee soreness, and Joakim Noah did not play either. If those two guys aren’t close to 100% heading into he playoffs, the Bulls aren’t going to win, however if they are, Chicago could be one of the better values of any team. Their NBA betting odds have already dropped from 20/1 to 15/1, and I could see them being a goo