NBA League Pass games to watch: Week 25 of 2021-22 season

Jimmy Butler and the Heat enter Tuesday’s game against Charlotte atop the Eastern Conference standings.

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Charlotte in Miami, 7:30 p.m. ET

This is a possible preview of the first round in the East playoffs, as the Heat look to sweep the Hornets on the season. The Heat enter the week as the No. 1 seed in the East, with a two-game lead over the rest of the field. The Hornets (40-38) enter the week at No. 9 (via a tiebreaker over No. 10 Brooklyn) and one game behind No. 8 Atlanta. If the Hornets finish ninth or 10th in the East, their best Play-In result would be securing the No. 8 seed and a matchup with the No. 1 seed in the East, which is currently Miami.

Atlanta at Toronto, 7:30 p.m. ET

This is a matchup between the No. 6 (Toronto) and No. 8 (Atlanta) teams in the Eastern Conference. The Raptors can clinch a guaranteed playoff spot with a win over the Hawks and a loss of No. 7 Cleveland (at Orlando). The Hawks enter the week riding a five-game winning streak and look to nab the Cavs for the No. 7 seed and home court advantage in the 7/8 Play-In game. A loss by the Hawks tonight locks them into the Play-In and eliminates their slim chances of moving up to the top six in the East.

San Antonio at Denver, 9:00 p.m. ET

The Spurs have a chance to secure their spot in the West Play-In with a win over the Nuggets along with a Lakers loss to the Suns (10:30 ET, NBA TV), thereby eliminating the Lakers from contention for the playoffs. The Spurs will also be keeping an eye on the Pelicans-Kings game (10:00 ET, NBA League Pass) as San Antonio trails No. 9 New Orleans by just one game going into the final week of the season and has the tiebreaker in case as necessary to determine the home court in the Play-In game on 9/10.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Dallas at Detroit, 7 p.m. EDT

Dallas enters Week 25 one game behind Golden State for the No. 3 seed in the West behind Phoenix and Memphis; the Mavs own the head-to-head tiebreaker with the Warriors should it be needed on Sunday. While the Pistons have been eliminated from playoff contention, top overall pick Cade Cunningham is in the midst of a close Rookie of the Year race with Cleveland’s Evan Mobley and Toronto’s Scottie Barnes. With Mobley currently out of the game, can Cunningham make a strong final impression before the votes are cast?

Boston at Chicago, 8:00 p.m. ET

Boston enters the final week of the season as No. 2 in the East — two games behind Miami and a half-game ahead of Milwaukee and Philadelphia with all three teams tied in the losing column. The Celtics have a difficult end to the regular season, as they face Chicago (45-33), Milwaukee (48-30) and Memphis (55-23), all on the road; The easiest game Boston has left is against a Bulls team 12 games over .500. The Bulls just need a win or a loss from Cleveland to clinch a playoff spot and avoid the Play-In Tournament.

Thursday, April 7, 2022

Philadelphia at Toronto, 7:30 p.m. ET

The Sixers are at the bottom of that four-way race for the top seed in the Eastern Conference, but they have the easiest schedule of the four teams in contention. This matchup with Toronto is the only one against a team in the playoffs or play-in fields; the Sixers have two games this week against Indiana and close out the season against Detroit. Can the Sixers make a late move against the packed field? We talked about the Raptors earlier as they are about to secure a playoff spot to avoid the Play-In. Toronto holds a 2-1 season series lead with the Sixers in what could end up being a first-round matchup: No. 3 vs. No. 6 or No. 4 vs. No. 5 depending on the final standings.

Memphis at Denver, 9 p.m. ET

The Grizzlies look to sweep the Nuggets on the season in this matchup of the No. 2 and No. 5 teams in the West heading into the final week of the regular season. The Grizzlies enter the week riding a league-leading seven-game winning streak, all without Ja Morant as he continues with a knee injury. The Grizzlies are now 20-2 without their All-Star shooting guard. While the Grizzlies are locked in at No. 2, the Nuggets have just a half-game lead over Utah for the No. 5 spot.

Friday, April 8, 2022

Atlanta at Miami, 8:00 p.m. ET

The Hawks (five games) and Heat (four games) have the longest active winning streaks in the Eastern Conference going into the final week of play and both are involved in close races as teams vying for the playoffs and position of Play In. The Heat are looking to secure the top seed in the East and maintain their two-game lead over Boston, Milwaukee and Philadelphia. The Hawks look to pass the Cavs for the top spot in the Play-In and have home-court advantage with a chance to secure the No. 7 seed.

Oklahoma City at Los Angeles, 10:30 p.m. ET

The Lakers open the final week of the regular season with a slim chance of making it to the West Play-In Tournament. To nab No. 9 New Orleans, the Lakers would have to win the final four games and the Pelicans would have to lose the final four games. To nab No. 10 San Antonio, the Lakers would need to win three more games than the Spurs in both teams’ last four games. If they’re still alive on Friday, then this matchup with OKC is a must. It also matters if LeBron James hopes to secure his second career scoring title. A lingering ankle injury kept him out of the lineup for much of last week, but he must play in two of the Lakers’ last four games to meet the minimum games played to qualify. Oh, and he has to keep averaging 30 points a game with Joel Embiid and Giannis Antetokounmpo breathing down his neck.

Saturday, April 9, 2022

Indiana at Philadelphia, 1:00 p.m. ET

This is the second of two meetings this week between the Pacers and Sixers. Philadelphia looks to improve its fourth-place ranking in the East and face an Indiana team that has lost seven in a row going into the final week of play. The Pacers beat the Sixers in their first meeting of the season in November, but both teams look very different now. That game didn’t feature Joel Embiid or James Harden for Philly and did include Domantas Sabonis, Caris LeVert and Justin Holiday (game-high 27 points) for Indiana, who are no longer with the team.

Sunday, April 10, 2022

All 30 teams are in action to close out the regular season on Sunday, so this is clearly a hoops day to watch. National TV games will be announced later in the week, which may alter NBA League Pass availability, but for now, we’re circling three games on this busy Sunday.

Milwaukee at Cleveland, 3:30 p.m. ET
Detroit at Philadelphia, 7:00 p.m. ET
Los Angeles at Denver, 9:30 p.m. ET

These three games will be essential to watch for two reasons: the MVP race and the scoring title chase. First up is Milwaukee in Cleveland with Giannis Antetokounmpo in contention for his third league MVP and first scoring title as he started the week just 0.19 ppg behind LeBron James and 0.12 ppg behind Joel Embiid.

The next step is Detroit in Philadelphia, where Embiid takes center stage in pursuit of his first MVP and his first scoring title. Embiid leads the NBA with 11 40-point games going into the final week of play, can he put together a big game that puts pressure on LeBron for the scoring title and makes a strong final impression for his MVP case?

Finally there’s Los Angeles in Denver with LeBron James in the scoring title race and Nikola Jokic in the MVP race as he looks to win the league’s top individual honor for the second straight season.

Could this day be similar to the 1977-78 race between David Thompson and George Gervin? On the final day of the regular season, Thompson played first and scored 73 points to pressure Gervin. Iceman went into his game knowing that he needed 59 points to get past Thompson and secure the title; he finished with 63. The schedule breaks perfectly for this type of scenario to play out. Giannis plays at 3:30 ET, so Embiid will know where he stands with Giannis before he takes the court at 7:00 ET. LeBron has the biggest advantage as he will be in the role of Gervin, knowing exactly how many points he needs before he takes the court for the Lakers’ regular season finale.

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