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

Here are some of the top matchups from the final week of the regular season, available exclusively on NBA League Pass.

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

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

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

This is a potential first-round preview in the East playoffs as the Heat go for the season sweep of the Hornets. The Heat enter the week as the No. 1 seed in the East, with a two-game lead on the rest of the field. The Hornets (40-38) enter the week at No. 9 (via tiebreaker over No. 10 Brooklyn) and a game back of No. 8 Atlanta. If the Hornets finish ninth or 10th in the East, their best outcome in the Play-In would be clinching 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 lock up a guaranteed playoff berth with a win over the Hawks and a loss by No. 7 Cleveland (at Orlando). The Hawks enter the week on a five-game win streak and are looking to catch the Cavs for the No. 7 spot 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 to rise all the way to the top six in the East.

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

The Spurs have a chance to clinch their spot in the West Play-In with a win over the Nuggets coupled with a Lakers loss to the Suns (10:30 ET, NBA TV), thus eliminating the Lakers from playoff contention. The Spurs will also keep 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 entering the final week of the season and holds the tiebreaker should it be needed to determine home-court in the 9/10 Play-In game.

Wednesday, April 6, 2022

Dallas at Detroit, 7:00 p.m. ET

Dallas enters Week 25 one game back of 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 come Sunday. While the Pistons have been eliminated from playoff contention, No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham is in the middle of a close race for Rookie of the Year with Cleveland’s Evan Mobley and Toronto’s Scottie Barnes. With Mobley currently sidelined, can Cunningham leave a strong final impression before votes are cast?

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

Boston enters the final week of the season No. 2 in the East – two games behind Miami and a half-game up on Milwaukee and Philadelphia with all three teams tied in the loss column. The Celtics have a tough close the regular season as they face Chicago (45-33), Milwaukee (48-30) and Memphis (55-23) all on the road; Boston’s easiest game remaining is against a Bulls team 12 games over .500. The Bulls need just a win or a Cleveland loss to clinch a playoff berth 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 seeds 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 the season against Detroit. Can the Sixers make a late move against the crowded field? We discussed the Raptors earlier as they are on the brink of clinching a playoff berth to avoid the Play-In. Toronto holds a 2-1 advantage in the season series 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 final standings.

Memphis at Denver, 9:00 p.m. ET

The Grizzlies go for the season sweep of the Nuggets in this matchup of the No. 2 and No. 5 teams in the West as the final week of the regular season begins. The Grizzlies enter the week on a league-leading seven-game win streak — all coming without Ja Morant as he continues to nurse a knee injury. The Grizzlies are now 20-2 without their All-Star guard. While the Grizzlies are locked into the No. 2 spot, the Nuggets hold 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) hold the longest active win streaks in the Eastern Conference heading into the final week of play and both are involved in close races as teams jockey for playoff and Play-In position. 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 are looking to pass the Cavs for the top spot in the Play-In and have home-court advantage with an opportunity 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 to reach the West Play-In Tournament. In order to catch No. 9 New Orleans, the Lakers would have to win all four of their final games and the Pelicans would have to lose all four of their final four games. In order to catch No. 10 San Antonio, the Lakers would need to win three more games than the Spurs over both teams’ final four games. If they are still alive come Friday then this matchup with OKC is a must-win. It is also important if LeBron James hopes to secure his second career scoring title. A nagging ankle injury has kept him out of the lineup for much of the past week, but he must play in two of the Lakers’ final four games to meet the minimum games played to qualify. Oh, and he has to continue to average 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 is looking to improve on its fourth-place ranking in the East and face an Indiana team that has lost seven straight entering the final week of play. The Pacers did beat the Sixers in their first meeting of the season back in November, but both teams look much different now. That game featured no 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 must-watch day of hoops. The 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 critical to watch for two reasons — MVP race and the scoring title chase. First up is Milwaukee at Cleveland with Giannis Antetokounmpo a contender for his third league MVP honor and his first scoring title as he enters the week just 0.19 ppg behind LeBron James and 0.12 ppg behind Joel Embiid.

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

Finally is Los Angeles at Denver with LeBron James in the race for the scoring title 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 play out similar to the 1977-78 race between David Thompson and George Gervin? On the final day of the regular season, Thompson played first and dropped 73 points to put the pressure on Gervin. The Iceman entered his game knowing that he needed 59 points to best 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’ll be in the Gervin role, knowing exactly how many points he needs before he takes the court for the Lakers’ regular-season finale.