Today in Sports: 4/8/17 Preview

The Masters:

Third-round play at The Masters begins today with a four-way tie at the top of the leaderboard. Sergio Garcia is one of the leaders at -4 and is in search of his first career major. Jordan Spieth, Rory McIlroy, and Phil Mickelson are all within striking distance.

 

NBA:

Boston Celtics at Charlotte Hornets: The Celtics will try to take advantage of the Cleveland Cavaliers’ baffling loss yesterday to an Atlanta Hawks team that was resting four starters. The Hornets haven’t lived up to expectations this year, but are plenty talented enough to knock off the Celtics as they try to move closer to the top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Celtics are one game behind Cleveland with both teams having three games remaining.

Chicago Bulls at Brooklyn Nets (NBATV): The Bulls are currently seventh in the Eastern Conference going into today’s matchup with the NBA’s worst team. They are tied with the eighth seeded Indiana Pacers and are just one game ahead of the Miami Heat. With three games remaining, the Bulls are trying to get ahead of the sixth seeded Milwaukee Bucks so they can avoid facing either Boston or Cleveland in the first round. This is a game the Bulls cannot afford to lose.

Miami Heat at Washington Wizards: This season’s most surprising team has been the Washington Wizards. After a slow start to begin the season, John Wall and company have been one of the most consistent teams during the last few months. Currently the fourth seed in the Eastern Conference, the Wizards are just a half game behind the third seeded Toronto Raptors with three games remaining on their schedule. To a certain degree, the Miami Heat have also been one of the more surprising teams after a slow start to the season. With all the injuries that the Heat suffered this season, Erik Spoelstra deserves a ton of credit for helping his team back into the playoff race. The Heat are one game behind the eighth seeded Indiana Pacers in a very competitive Eastern Conference. This game has major playoff implications.

Utah Jazz at Portland Trail Blazers: The Utah Jazz are one of the more underappreciated teams in the NBA this season. With all the injuries that they’ve suffered, the Jazz are in fourth place in the Western Conference. They are one game ahead of the Los Angeles Clippers, another talented team that has suffered crippling injuries throughout the season. The Jazz cannot get a top three seed and won’t fall below fifth, so they’ll face the Clippers in the first round of the playoffs. These last three games will determine which team will get home-court advantage. The Trail Blazers have disappointed this season but still have a chance to make the playoffs. They are currently in eighth place in the Western Conference with three games remaining. The Denver Nuggets are one game behind them, so this is a crucial game for the Trail Blazers.

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