NBA Today: Pistons fight for playoff lives against Raptors

(AP Photo/Carlos Osorio)
AP Photo/Carlos Osorio

NBA Today complements Keith Smith’s “NBA Yesterday” feature, “The Skip Pass.” While Keith’s feature will emphasize what we “saw,” this will focus on what to look for in the night’s upcoming games. 

Featured Game

Toronto Raptors at Detroit Pistons

7:30 p.m. ET, League Pass

The only game between teams currently in the playoff picture Friday is the Raptors and Pistons. The Pistons have dropped their last two and are in danger of falling behind the Miami Heat, who they’re presently tied with for the last playoff spot. And Chicago is just a game behind. So every game for Detroit right now is must-win.

The Raptors aren’t looking very dangerous with Kyle Lowry injured. They’ve lost five of their last eight.

The Rest of the Slate

Chicago Bulls at Washington Wizards

7 p.m. ET, League Pass

The Bulls are without Dwyane Wade for the rest of the season, and they were already spiraling out of control. The rest of the season should just be about improving their draft position, and the Wizards should be more than happy to help them in that endeavor. This has a much greater chance of being a blowout than a contest.

Dallas Mavericks at Philadelphia 76ers

7 p.m. ET, League Pass

The Mavericks just refuse to die in the playoff hunt. They’re up to ninth in the Western Conference and 2.5 games behind the Nuggets. They may run out of time before they can catch the Nuggets, who are also playing well, but that’s not going to keep them from trying. This game also marks the return of Nerlens Noel to Philly.

Boston Celtics at Brooklyn Nets

7:30 p.m. ET, League Pass

The good news is the Nets have won two of their last three games. The bad news is that both of them were against the New York Knicks and the Celtics aren’t the Knicks. Brooklyn hasn’t won consecutive games since last March. I doubt it happens tonight with the Celtics locked in a race with the Wizards for the No. 2 seed in the East, although Isaiah Thomas won’t be playing.

Houston Rockets at New Orleans Pelicans

8 p.m. ET, League Pass

The Rockets are chasing history as the most efficient team in NBA history. In two previous games against New Orleans, Houston has scored 251 points and drained a total of 44 threes. And that was before they got Lou Williams. So there’s a pretty good chance they score a lot points in this one.

Minnesota Timberwolves at Miami Heat

8 p.m. ET, NBA TV

This has the potential to be a thrilling game between two of the hottest teams in the NBA, even if neither of them is currently a playoff team.

Orlando Magic at Phoenix Suns

10 p.m. ET, League Pass

The Magic certainly are turning into a poop show. They’ve not only lost four straight — they lost them by a combined 87 points. Yowsers! That’s so bad they can even get blown out by the Suns!

Milwaukee Bucks at Los Angeles Lakers

10:30 p.m. ET, League Pass

The Bucks are cruising. They’ve won seven of eight and now they’re playing the Lakers, who have only won once since the All-Star break. I don’t see any trends changing.

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