NBA Perfect Ten (Week of March 18th)

With just over two weeks left in the season, there are still some playoff spots to be determined in each Conference, and, particularly in the Western Conference, there are some key spots in the top four still up for grabs. Here’s this week’s Perfect Ten.

Perfect Ten (Week of March 18th)

#10. Phoenix Suns (39-29) (+950/+2000) - The Suns have talent but games like Sunday in which they lost to a shorthanded Bucks team and fell behind by as much as 20 are concerning. Strengths: Durant and Booker can both close out games and Beal gives them another legit 20+ point scorer on any given night. Weaknesses: The Suns’ defense doesn’t look playoff-worthy. Last Week’s Rank: 7th

#9. Dallas Mavericks (39-29) (+1400/+3,000) - The Mavs’ win over Denver on Sunday emphasized how dangerous this team can be in the playoffs with two legitimate finishers in Doncic and Irving. Strengths: The Mavs additions at the trade deadline have changed their rotation for the better. Weaknesses: The Mavs need to move the ball more consistently to be as effective as they can be. Last Week’s Rank: Unranked

#8. New Orleans Pelicans (41-26) (+2800/+7500) - New Orleans is now fifth in the West and just a game and a half behind the Clippers. Strengths: Williamson has looked as dominant as he ever has over the past few weeks. Weaknesses: Can Williamson hold up over the length of a grueling playoff series? Last Week’s Rank: 10th

#7. Cleveland Cavaliers (42-25) (+1300/+4000) - The Cavs have survived plenty of injuries this season and seem locked into a top-three finish. Strengths: The Cavs should be healthy by playoff time and have depth and a go-to stud in Mitchell. Weaknesses: Can the Cavs get over the hump this season and shoot well enough to advance in the playoffs? Last Week’s Rank: 8th

#6. LA Clippers (42-24) (+290/+550) - The Clippers appear locked into the fourth spot in the Western Conference unless the Wolves collapse down the stretch. Strengths: The Clippers are a veteran team with plenty of playoff experience which will serve them well against teams like the Pelicans and Thunder. Weaknesses: A veteran team can also be a brittle team. They can’t afford a loss of Leonard or George at all. Last Week’s Rank: 6th

#5. Minnesota Timberwolves (46-21) (+1400/+3500) - With less than 15 games left, the Wolves still own a 3-game lead over the Clippers for the third spot in the West. Strengths: In Towns’ absence, Edwards has turned up his level of dominance, on both ends of the floor. Weaknesses: The Wolves have to be concerned with Towns’ timetable to return. They’ll need him in the crowded Western Conference playoffs. Last Week’s Rank: 2nd

#4. OKC Thunder (47-20) (+850/+2200) - OKC still holds a slim lead over the Nuggets for the top spot in the West with less than 15 games left. Strengths: OKC has depth and a clear go-to guy in Gilgeous-Alexander. Weaknesses: The Thunder are painfully inexperienced as they get set for the grind of the playoffs. Last Week’s Rank:5th

#3. Milwaukee Bucks (44-24) (+290/+700) - The Bucks have a one-game lead on the Cavs heading into the home stretch for the second seed in the East. Strengths: Kris Middleton returned to the lineup on Sunday giving them added depth. Weaknesses: Can the Bucks stay consistent in the playoffs? Last Week’s Rank: 4th

#2. Denver Nuggets (47-21) (+165/+330) - The Nuggets earned the season sweep of their home and away series with Boston and are the second seed in the Western Conference. Strengths: The Nuggets look fully healthy, particularly the likes of Gordon and Murray, which makes them extremely dangerous. Weaknesses: The Nuggets’ bench can be inconsistent, which could be a problem against the tougher Western Conference teams. Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#1. Boston Celtics (53-14) (-110/+225) - The Celtics are cruising toward the best mark in the NBA with 15 games to go in the regular season. Strengths: The Celtics’ starting five is the best in the NBA and Mazulla has done a much better job with his reserves this season. Weaknesses: Can the Celtics get the same bench production in the playoffs as they’ve gotten for much of the season? Last Week’s Rank: 1st

Top-Five MVP Candidates:

The NBA season is nearly over and the MVP race is all but over as well. Here’s my take on the top three finishers this season.

#1. Nikola Jokic (-250) - Last Week’s Rank: 1st

#2. Shai Gilgeous-Alexander (+350) - Last Week’s Rank: 3rd

#3. Luka Doncic (+700) - Last Week’s Rank: 5th

It’s a wrap, The Joker will win his third MVP this season. He continues to be a triple-double machine and be the focal point of the defending NBA Champions. SGA will end up second as he pushed the Thunder toward a top-three seed. Tatum and Giannis have both failed to grab hold of the second spot due to inconsistent play at times. Luke Doncic will finish third as he puts the finishing touches on a prolific statistical season.

Game of the Week, Season Record 8-10: The Celtics took care of business in Phoenix two weeks ago and then buried them at home as well.

Cleveland at Minnesota on Friday at 8:00 PM EST

Two top seeds, one from each conference, will do battle on Friday night as the Cavs visit the Wolves. The Wolves are banged up but Edwards has been elite over the last several weeks and he’s an awful matchup for Cleveland. Take Minnesota at home.

  • In parenthesis, conference odds and finals odds. Player MVP props are also in parenthesis. All odds Courtesy of

By Mark Ruelle

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Mark Ruelle

Mark has been a sports fanatic since childhood. He is also an avid follower of sports analytics and has used it in his own betting analysis for over two decades. Now we have Mark on our team here at Stat Salt. He holds degrees in marketing, broadcasting, and English and uses this vast array of assets to dissect and analyze game matchups. Mark will provide you with a wide variety of statistics to consider and a strong opinion in each matchup that he covers. Please follow him daily for an up-to-the-minute analysis of all the important games.