NBA teams jockey for playoff position on TNT, ESPN

Giannis Antetokounmpo

As the NBA heads into its final month, games become more important as teams jockey for playoff position. Several games airing nationally this week should go a long way toward resolving the postseason picture.

First and foremost among them is the TNT doubleheader on Thursday, March 7, which gets going in Milwaukee, where Giannis Antetokounmpo and the Bucks hope to tighten their grip on the top seed in the East with their home game against Bojan Bogdanovic and the Indiana Pacers, the No. 5 seed in that conference. These Central Division rivals have split their first two games this season, each winning at home.

In the nightcap, it’s a clash of teams battling it out for the third seed in the West when Paul George and the Oklahoma City Thunder invade the home court of Damian Lillard and the Portland Trail Blazers. The Thunder have drawn first blood in their season series with the Blazers, winning both games they’ve played through early February.

Then over on ESPN on Friday, March 8, the top two teams in the West collide when Kevin Durant and the defending league champion Golden State Warriors play host to Nikola Jokic and the Denver Nuggets. These teams have played twice this season with each winning once.

•Go ahead and say it: Play ball!

One of the surest signs of spring is the return of baseball and MLB spring training and that manifests itself in a pair of preseason games airing this week on ESPN.

J.D. Martinez and the Boston Red Sox, coming off their 2018 World Series triumph over the Los Angeles Dodgers last fall, get things going at their spring base of Fort Myers, Fla., with a pair of games starting Wednesday, March 6, when they host Corey Dickerson and the Pittsburgh Pirates.

Then the next afternoon on the World Wide Leader, the Sox are also the home team when they take on Max Kepler and the Minnesota Twins, their fellow tenants in Fort Myers.

These are the first two of only four spring training games to be broadcast nationally before Opening Day arrives on March 28.

George Dickie

George Dickie

George Dickie has been a features writer for Gracenote/Tribune Media Services since 1989, when “Hee-Haw” was still on the air and George “Goober” Lindsay was his first interview. His early interviews ranged from Jim Henson and Dick Van Dyke to Phil Collins and the Dixie Chicks.

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