NBA: Another Amazing Warriors Comeback Puts Blazers on the Brink

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Golden State Warriors 110-99 Portland Trail Blazers

The Portland Trail Blazers just can’t keep the Golden State Warriors down for a full 48 minutes. For the second consecutive game, the Warriors came back from a double-digit deficit in the second half to beat the Blazers.

The Blazers’ backcourt duo of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum once again didn’t have it going as Portland were unable to withstand the Warriors’ Draymond Green-inspired second-half onslaught.

With their Game 3 win, the Warriors are now just one win away from returning to the NBA Finals for the fifth straight year. The NBA 2019 odds will be overwhelmingly in their favour, as no team in NBA history has ever lost a 3-0 series lead.

Highlights of the game

Draymond Green shows his unique side during Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals

Draymond Green in action against Damian Lillard during Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals

With their season pretty much on the line in Game 3, the Blazers made a major change to their starting line-up. Meyers Leonard came in for ailing big man Enes Kanter to provide more spacing for the Blazers offensively.

The Warriors also pulled quite a surprise as they started Damian Jones at centre. But that experiment didn’t last long as Jones played just three minutes the entire game.

The Blazers had the slight two-point lead on the Warriors at the end of the first quarter. But just like in Game 2, they made a big run in the second. Leonard came up as he scored eight of his 13 first-half points to help Portland win the quarter, 37-26. And that was with Lillard and McCollum not being much of a factor.

However, it was the Warriors’ turn to repeat what they did in Game 2 as they stormed back in the third quarter, thanks in large part due to Draymond Green’s amazing all-around play.

Green was simply a monster on both ends of the floor. When he wasn’t making timely defensive stops or grabbing key rebounds, he was pushing the ball up to make plays or to score himself. By the end of the third quarter, he had already racked up a triple-double with 18 points, 11 rebounds, and 11 assists with a few steals as well.

With Green’s terrific defence leading the way, the Warriors limited the Blazers to just 13 third-quarter points as they entered the fourth with a three-point lead.

The Warriors were able to make their big run without Andre Iguodala, who sat out most of the second half due to a calf injury. But luckily for the Warriors, their other role players stepped up in a big way as the likes of Quinn Cook, Kevon Looney, Jordan Bell, and Alfonzo McKinnie all had timely baskets in the second half.

And while the Splash Brothers — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson — were also coming up with timely plays, Lillard and McCollum were coming up short as they failed to lead a Blazers fightback in the fourth.

Key statistics

With the win, the Warriors have now won a road game in 22 straight playoff series, which is an NBA record.

Draymond Green was brilliant for the Warriors as he finished with 20 points, 13 rebounds, 12 assists, and four steals in 38 minutes. Green has now recorded three triple-doubles in this year’s playoffs.

Stephen Curry (11-26 FG) didn’t have the most efficient shooting night, but he still finished with 36 points, which he also had in his spectacular Game 1 performance. He’s now hit at least 36 points in the first three games of the series and at least 30 in five of his last six games in the postseason.

As for the Blazers, Damian Lillard’s disappointing series continues. Dame is averaging just 20 points on under 33 per cent shooting, which is a far cry from his magnificent first-round series against the Oklahoma City Thunder.

McCollum hasn’t been much better, though. The Blazers star is averaging just under 21 points on 37 per cent shooting from the field and 27 per cent on 3-pointers.

What’s next?

The Warriors have all but clinched this series. No team in NBA history has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win a best-of-7 series, and as much as us NBA fans would love to see a historic comeback, it’s unlikely that the Blazers have it in them to do it.

Even if Iguodala is set to join Kevin Durant on the sideline as a calf injury casualty, the Blazers have a huge injury concern of their own. The big NBA 2019 news broke after the game that Lillard is playing with separated ribs, which could significantly limit his effectiveness moving forward.

The Blazers should still like their chances of taking Game 4 at home against a likely short-handed Warriors team. But if the series goes back to Oakland for Game 5, it’s probably not returning to Portland again.

 

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NBA: Steph Curry Blows Blazers Away in West Finals Opener

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Portland Trail Blazers 94-116 Golden State Warriors

The Golden State Warriors continue to not miss Kevin Durant all that much. Despite the absence of their injured superstar, the defending champions blew out the Portland Trail Blazers in Game 1 of the NBA Western Conference Finals.

Just like in Game 6 of their series against the Houston Rockets, the Splash Brothers — Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson — were once again spectacular as they completely outduelled their Blazers counterparts.

The NBA 2019 odds were stacked heavily against the Blazers before the series began. And if Game 1 was any indication, it appears the Warriors may not have to work too hard to make it to a fifth straight NBA Finals.

Highlights of the game

It was always going to be an uphill battle for the Blazers in Game 1. They had only a couple of days off to rest and prepare following a gruelling seven-game war against the Denver Nuggets in the previous round. Meanwhile, a slightly better-rested Warriors team was waiting to greet them at Oracle.

But to the Blazers’ credit, they came out of the gates strong as they were able to keep the Warriors within arm’s length. Portland managed to prevent Golden State from building a big double-digit lead in the first half and went into the break down by just nine points.

However, Curry hit three consecutive shots — including two 3-pointers — in the final minute of the second quarter and carried over his hot shooting to the second half.

Curry went on to hit four more triples in the third as the Warriors finally began to break the game open. Thanks in part to Curry’s 3-point barrage, the Warriors were able to open up a 17-point lead midway through the third.

Again, though, Portland responded as they pulled the lead back down to six entering the fourth. But that was just about as close as they would get as the Warriors just had too much in the end. After Curry did most of the damage in the third, Thompson helped ice the game with 12 points in the fourth.

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Stephen Curry celebrates with Golden State Warriors teammate Klay Thompson during Game 1 of the Western Conference Finals

Key statistics

Curry once again had it cooking without Durant as he had a team-high 36 points on 12-of-23 shooting and 9-of-15 from beyond the arc. Curry has now scored 30 or more points in three of his last four playoff games.

Thompson is also in the midst of his best stretch of these playoffs, scoring at least 26 points in three straight outings.

The Splash Brothers combined to go 12-of-24 from beyond the arc as the Warriors went a sizzling 17-of-33 (51 per cent) as a team.

The Blazers’ backcourt was nowhere near as effective as Lillard and McCollum combined to go just 11-of-31 from the field. The Blazers shot a subpar 36 per cent as a team and 7-of-28 on 3-pointers.

Lillard, who went 4-of-12, has been unable to supply the big-time heroics that he’s capable of in recent games. He had his second straight poor shooting night after his disastrous 3-of-17 effort in Game 7 against the Nuggets.

On the bright side for the Blazers, Mo Harkless broke out for 17 points after scoring 17 points in the last four games of the Denver series. Although, he had his big game in part because the Warriors defence decided to help off him to keep Lillard and McCollum quiet.

Rodney Hood also didn’t look too hampered by the knee injury which was big NBA 2019 news heading into Game 1 as he had 17 points off the Blazers’ bench.

What’s next?

Unfortunately for the Blazers, Game 1 might be a sign that the Dubs’ recent dominance over them in the playoffs looks set to continue. Despite Durant’s absence, the Warriors just seem like the superior team in every way. And if Durant can make it back in this series soon, the Blazers will be in even more trouble.

Curry appears to have shaken off his shooting struggles early in the Rockets series. And with Enes Kanter a significant liability on defence, the Blazers don’t have a particularly good plan to stop the Curry pick-and-rolls.

Portland simply need much better production from their two stars, Lillard and McCollum. That’s obviously going to be much easier said than done given how great Golden State’s defence is, but that’s just the reality.

On top of that, the Blazers also need to hope for similar production from Harkless and Hood going forward. Kanter is clearly not capable of being a consistent third scorer given his shoulder injury, which is why the Blazers need offence from other places moving forward.

If things don’t improve significantly for the Blazers, us NBA fans likely won’t get to see much of a competitive series in the Western Conference Finals.

 

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NBA: Warriors and Blazers Meet Again in the Playoffs

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Portland Trail Blazers vs Golden State Warriors

They meet again. For the third time in four years, the Portland Trail Blazers and Golden State Warriors will collide in the NBA Western Conference playoffs. But unlike their first two meetings, a trip to the NBA Finals is now at stake.

The Warriors were able to weather Kevin Durant’s calf injury as they once again dashed the Houston Rockets’ championship hopes in the previous round. Meanwhile, the Blazers improbably won Game 7 on the road against the Denver Nuggets to reach their first conference finals since 2000.

 Golden State have gotten past the Blazers with relative ease in their last two series, and the NBA 2019 betting odds have them favoured to do so once again. But the Blazers have been beating the odds all offseason and have their sights set on pulling off their biggest upset yet.

Talking Points

Warriors don’t need Durant to win

There were some who were quick to count the Warriors out when Durant went down with his calf injury in Game 5 of the Rockets series. Houston were already giving the Warriors another tough series through four games with Durant, what more without him?

But not only did the defending champions go on to win Game 5, they also closed out the Rockets in Game 6 on the road without the two-time Finals MVP.

In case anyone forgot, the Warriors were already pretty good even before Durant came over. And the Dubs were able to rediscover the swagger that helped them win a championship pre-KD at a crucial time in the series.

The Splash Brothers, in particular, both came through with vintage performances to overcome the Rockets’ resistance.

With Stephen Curry struggling early, Klay Thompson and Andre Iguodala kept the Warriors in the game in the first half with some excellent 3-point shooting. And eventually, the Chef finally got cooking as he sliced the Rockets defence apart for 33 second-half points.

The big NBA 2019 news is that Durant will miss at least Game 1 of the conference finals as he continues to recover. But the Warriors have shown that they remain as formidable as ever even without their other superstar.

With Curry, Thompson, Draymond Green, and Iguodala still leading the way, the Warriors are more than capable of protecting their home court as they wait for Durant’s return.

NBA: Kevin Durant picks up an injury during the match against the Houston Rockets

Warriors forward Kevin Durant limps off the court after sustaining an injury during the Playoffs match against the Rockets

Banged up Blazers

It seemed hard to see how the Blazers could possibly win a Game 7 on the road against the Nuggets if All-Star Damian Lillard came up with his worst shooting performance of this postseason. But somehow, the Blazers were able to do just that, thanks in large part to CJ McCollum.

The less-heralded half of the Blazers’ backcourt stepped up amid Lillard’s horrific 3-of-17 shooting night as he had 37 points and nine rebounds. With Dame Time unable to repeat his OKC heroics, it was McCollum who crucially came through in the clutch as he hit several key jumpers down the stretch to help seal the win.

The Blazers also got an unexpected 14 points off the bench from Evan Turner, who had scored just four points in the first six games of the series.

However, Portland can’t expect that type of production from Turner moving forward, and that also applies to several of their other role players.

Starting forwards Al-Farouq Aminu and Mo Harkless have both disappeared offensively in the playoffs. Meanwhile, Enes Kanter — already starting for the injured Jusuf Nurkic — has not quite been the same since further separating his shoulder early in the Nuggets series.

And even Rodney Hood, who has provided some much-needed offence off the bench, picked up a knee injury in Game 7 against the Nuggets and is now questionable to play in Game 1.

With so many question marks now on the Blazers’ roster, there will be even more pressure placed on Lillard and McCollum to perform. And while they did well to deliver against Denver, the Warriors will be a much, much taller mountain to climb.

History

As mentioned earlier, the Blazers and Warriors have met in two playoff series in recent years. Their first meeting was in the conference semi-finals in 2016. Despite Stephen Curry missing the first three games of that series with a knee injury, the Warriors still won the series, 4-1.

Their second meeting, which was during the first round in 2018, was even more one-sided. The Warriors easily swept the Blazers in four games en route to another NBA championship.

What are the odds?

Despite Durant’s absence for Game 1, us odds still have the Warriors priced at 1.28 to win Game 1 on the 1X2 market.

However, the Blazers still have a legitimate shot to cover the spread on the Asian Handicap market. They are currently priced at 2.04 on the +7.00 handicap.

Lillard is almost surely set to bounce back from his horrendous shooting performance in Game 7, while McCollum has been consistently strong in this postseason.

Meanwhile, the Warriors have had the habit this season of playing down to their opponents. And after their gruelling series against the Rockets, they may just put their foot off the gas a little bit for Game 1 against Portland.

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NBA: Warriors Top Rockets in Controversial Game 1

Arguably the two most anticipated matchups in the second round of the NBA playoffs are rematches. Both the Boston Celtics and the Golden State Warriors won in seven games last year against the Milwaukee Bucks and the Houston Rockets, respectively.

And at the start of this year’s matchups, both the Celtics and Warriors once again took the lead in their respective series.

The Celtics’ win was clearly the more surprising of the two. Despite their sweep of the Indiana Pacers, the Celtics’ NBA 2019 betting odds to beat the No. 1-seeded Bucks were not great. But thanks to some amazing defence, they completely corralled the Greek Freak.

Meanwhile, the Warriors just about outlasted the Rockets, but not without a little bit of controversy late in the end of the game.

Boston Celtics 112-90 Milwaukee Bucks (BOS lead 1-0)

Giannis Antetokounmpo faced a tough Game 1 in the hands of NBA threat the Boston Celtics

Milwaukee Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo tries to drive past Boston Celtics’ Marcus Morris

The Bucks didn’t face much resistance in the first round as they easily swept past the overmatched Detroit Pistons. But the No. 1 seed finally found themselves in a proper playoff fight in Game 1 of their second-round series against the Celtics — and Boston delivered another Game 1 upset.

The Celtics’ defence was simply suffocating as they held the Bucks to a mere 35 per cent shooting from the field. They succeeded in holding the leading MVP candidate Giannis Antetokounmpo to one of his worst shooting games of the season. The Greek Freak had just 22 points on 7-of-21 shooting and was blocked three times — twice by Al Horford.

The Bucks backcourt was a complete non-factor; starters Eric Bledsoe and Sterling Brown were limited to a combined 9 points on 2of-12 shooting. Khris Middleton (16 points, 5-12 FG) was also kept in check by the Celtics.

As for the Celtics offence, Kyrie Irving masterfully led the way with 26 points on 12-of-21 shooting with 11 assists. Horford and Jaylen Brown were also very effective as they had 20 and 19 points, respectively. Boston didn’t even need much of anything from Jayson Tatum, the team’s second-leading playoff scorer, who finished with only four points.

The Celtics were considered one of the big disappointments during the regular season after they failed to live up to their significant hype. But after showing signs of finally coming together against Indiana, they showed in Game 1 what they are truly capable of. And while it’s only just one game, they sent quite a message to the Bucks that they will be in for quite a tough series.

Houston Rockets 100-104 Golden State Warriors (GSW lead 1-0)

The Golden State Warriors drew first blood in Game 1 of their Western Conference Finals rematch against the Houston Rockets with a narrow four-point win.

James Harden had a chance to tie the game in the closing seconds for the Rockets, but he didn’t get the foul call despite getting knocked over by Draymond Green on his 3-point attempt. The refereeing was a major storyline in Game 1 as both teams were not pleased with how the game was called.

Kevin Durant, who had a tremendous series against the Clippers, continued his fine play with a team-high 35 points to lead the Warriors. Harden answered with 35 of his own, but he went just 9-of-28 from the field and 4-of-16 from 3-point range.

The big NBA 2019 news heading into Game 1 was that despite their ankle injuries, both Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson suited up and played for the Warriors. Neither Splash Brother was particularly effective — they combined to shoot just 10-of-23 — but they did just about enough while Durant did the heavy lifting.

The Warriors also changed up their starting line-up for the second-straight game. Andre Iguodala came in for Shaun Livingston as they began small, and it worked. Iguodala was effective as he had 13 points in 34 minutes, while the Warriors essentially made Rockets big man Clint Capela a complete non-factor.

As for the Rockets, Eric Gordon had Harden’s back with 27 points, while Chris Paul added 17. However, they didn’t get much from any other Rocket. The other six Rockets who played combined for just 21 points.

Based on Game 1, it appears as if the Rockets are still every bit the threat to the Warriors than they were last year and could provide another entertaining series that us NBA fans can enjoy. But getting close is not good enough, and they’ll need to beat the Warriors at Golden State in order to win this series.

 

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NBA: Shocking Results Make for Nice Change of Pace

Upsets don’t usually happen for a professional sports league like the NBA. However, the league has been more than a little surprising over the past couple of days. There have been a good number of surprising results that have done more than just shake the NBA 2019 betting odds. And just like last time, these games will always make for interesting stories.

Join the us team as we take a look at the most recent games played today as there were a couple of interesting scores today. The Golden State Warriors, Milwaukee Bucks and Houston Rockets were especially surprising.

Chicago Bulls 108-131 Detroit Pistons

The Chicago Bulls are still in the midst of a long and arduous rebuild, and their double-digit deficit at the end of their game against the Detroit Pistons was not surprising. The absence of Zach LaVine due to injury was felt by the roster as Wayne Selden had to try and lead the team against Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond.

However, it’s important to note that the Bulls did what they could with the roster they had. They were actually keeping pace with the Pistons for much of the first half before a late Detroit run at the tail-end of the second quarter exploded to a lead as big as 29 points.

Toronto Raptors 125-104 Miami Heat

Some Toronto Raptors fans who breathed a sigh of relief when Kawhi Leonard’s camp confirmed that he will not be joining the Lakers. However, the possibility of him heading to the Clippers is still there and winning the championship may be the only thing to convince him to stay up north.

Toronto’s performance without him against the Heat may become another bargaining chip to make the two-way superstar stay. Kyle Lowry is holding down the fort well with a near triple-double (24 points, 7 rebounds, 10 assists), and Pascal Siakam is definitely turning into Toronto’s rendition of a Scotty Pippen.

Indiana Pacers 89-106 Philadelphia 76ers

Victor Oladipo’s absence was profoundly felt by the Indiana Pacers as they were outscored in the final quarter, 19-34, to fall flat against the Philadelphia 76ers. Bojan Bogdanovic and Darren Collison did all they could to lead the team, but all that did was remind themselves of how better they are with Oladipo on the floor.

Meanwhile, the Sixers had a fantastic all-around game. Their four All-Stars — Jimmy Butler, Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Ben Simmons — all scored in double digits.

New Orleans Pelicans 116-128 Atlanta Hawks

The Pelicans are in the midst of preparing for life without Anthony Davis, and the frustrated big man was only handed 21 minutes of playing time while players like Frank Jackson and Julis Randle took over the scoring load of the team.

However, they weren’t able to hold a candle to the Atlanta Hawks. The team is seemingly out of their rebuild and are on their way to contending for playoff positions. Trae Young is still an inconsistent rookie as he only scored ten points in 31 minutes of game time, but Kevin Huerter’s 27 saved him.

I don’t think Hawks fans mind his erratic streaks, though: his first career triple-double is more than enough to make a lot of Hawks fans salivate for the future of this franchise.

Orlando Magic 97-105 Memphis Grizzlies

It’s a curious case how the Orlando Magic have played this season. There are times when they just outright ball and create some NBA 2019 highlights with their play. There are also days where they lose against teams they should easily win against.

This is one of those days. Nikola Vucevic singlehandedly brought the team back in the fourth quarter, but a lack of support from team-mates meant that the Grizzlies were able to claw their way to a win in front of their home fans.

Houston Rockets 94-93 Dallas Mavericks

Luka Doncic's near-triple-double has almost led the Dallas Mavericks in beating the Rockets in recent NBA game

Dallas Mavericks’ Luka Doncic shoots the ball during their NBA match against the Houston Rockets

The Dallas Mavericks are slowly becoming Luka Doncic’s team as the days go by, and his near-triple-double of 19 points, 15 rebounds, and 9 assists almost got the Dallas Mavericks in front of the Houston Rockets again.

However, James Harden and the rest of the team ensured that the Slovenian Wonder Boy won’t get his way again. Harden had a poor shooting night but still ended with 20-5-4, Clint Capela had 17-12, and Gordon made up for The Beard’s bricks with a 26-point outing from the wings.

New York Knicks 92-103 Minnesota Timberwolves

Knicks fans aren’t even sure if the team is trying to at least ball out anymore.

The mere fact that the Minnesota Timberwolves won this game without neither Karl-Anthony Towns nor Andrew Wiggins should be disappointing. The knowledge that Taj Gibson of all people dropped 25 points on their shoddy defence is baffling.

To say that the Knicks have been atrocious is an understatement. This sorry excuse of a franchise should better land Zion Williamson in the draft.

Milwaukee Bucks 114-121 San Antonio Spurs

Giannis Antetokounmpo has blossomed from the lanky Greek boy taken 15th in 2013 into the beast that he is on the hardwood today. However, his efforts only saw him with a 27-13 night as the San Antonio Spurs played great team basketball to win this one.

LaMarcus Aldridge was especially effective from the four pot with his 29 points and 15 boards. They also had some help from the bench as both Marco Belinelli and Patty Mills got 16 points in limited minutes.

Phoenix Suns 115-111 Golden State Warriors

I am not sure how the Golden State Warriors lost against the Phoenix Suns, but the final score doesn’t lie. They were two three-pointers away from winning this game, but Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson both had off nights from the three-point line.

However, credit must definitely be given to the young Suns. Devin Booker balled like an All-Star with his 37 points, 8 rebounds, and 11 assists. Kelly Oubre and DeAndre Ayton also played well to helped clinch this rare win.

 

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NBA: Raptors Eye East’s No.1, Nuggets and Thunder Look to Bounce Back

The top teams in the East and West are back in action this Wednesday, and they all have their eyes on the BIG W in a quest to solidify their positions in the NBA standings.

Toronto Raptors are up against the Atlanta Hawks, and they have a chance to return to the top with a victory. Meanwhile, both the Denver Nuggets and Oklahoma City Thunder will aim to get back on track after losing their last matches.

The Philadelphia 76ers, Golden State Warriors and LA Clippers are worth watching as well, with the three title contenders looking to extend their winning runs.

Washington Wizards @ Philadelphia 76ers (January 09, 08:00 GMT+8)

After getting their biggest road win of the season against the Oklahoma City Thunder, who could stop the Washington Wizards now?

Of course, that statement is over exaggerating it. However, with John Wall out and the Wiz struggling all season long, it’s the best morale booster they can get.

The Philadelphia 76ers are the best team at home this year though, and they will certainly be hard to beat as they ride a three-game winning streak. Jimmy Butler is doubtful with an upper respiratory infection, but Ben Simmons (16.4 points, 9.2 rebounds and  7.9 assists) and Joel Embiid (26.9 points and 13.5 rebounds) are playing well to pick up the slack.

Indiana Pacers @ Cleveland Cavaliers (January 09, 08:00 GMT+8)

The Cleveland Cavaliers are the worst team in the NBA this year and their 35-point blowout loss to the New Orleans Pelicans last week is clear proof of that.

Even the return of Tristan Thompson (foot injury) and Rodney Hood (back injury) isn’t enough to turn things around for the Cavs, and their prospects of winning a match look bleak amid their nine-game skid.

Cleveland’s last win this campaign came against the Indiana Pacers, so that should be an interesting storyline to watch. Nonetheless, the Hoosier State side has actually won six of their last seven games, with Victor Oladipo averaging almost 20 points per contest during that stretch.

Betting Tip: Indiana Pacers First Half Asian Handicap -5.50 @ 1.92.

Denver Nuggets @ Miami Heat (January 09, 08:30 GMT+8)

Nikola Jokic and the Nuggets are gearing up for their next NBA match

Denver Nuggets center Nikola Jokic in action against Houston Rockets guard James Harden during their recent NBA clash

Denver lost to the Houston Rockets and there’s nothing wrong about that. Besides, the Clutch City squad is surging behind another MVP-calibre play from James Harden.

Now, the Nuggets must quickly move on as they play the Miami Heat in the second game of their back-to-back.

Miami have been up and down lately, and an injury to their star point guard Goran Dragic has not helped their playoff chase. They even lost to the struggling Atlanta Hawks the last time out.

Nikola Jokic and his Nuggets are No.1 in the West, and unlike Miami, they had the likes of Gary Harris and Paul Millsap return to fitness recently.

Atlanta Hawks @ Toronto Raptors (January 09, 08:30 GMT+8)

The Toronto Raptors are feeling great! After taking their first win against the Milwaukee Bucks this season, they continued their winning ways with a dominant victory over the Pacers.

Even more remarkable, the Raps beat Indiana without Kawhi Leonard, who was taking a precautionary rest in the other end of a back-to-back set.

Leonard is set to feature for Toronto against the Atlanta Hawks, and with a pair of fresh legs, the two-time All-Star and Defensive Player of the Year is expected to terrorise the league-worst Atlanta defence.

It shouldn’t help the Hawks that Kyle Lowry is back after missing time due to a lingering back issue.

Betting Tip: Toronto Raptors Asian Handicap -15.00 @ 2.02.

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Oklahoma City Thunder (January 09, 09:00 GMT+8)

What now for Minnesota? After firing head coach Tom Thibodeau, more questions than answers popped out for the Timberwolves.

The Wolves have won their last two games under Thibs, the last one a 22-point thrashing of the Lakers. But the Minny top brass still decided to axe their head coach for the team’s performance this season.

It remains to be seen how the players will react and adjust to Ryan Saunders taking over as interim coach, but it should be difficult for them.

Derrick Rose has thrived under Thibodeau and is putting up All-Star numbers, while Karl-Anthony Towns has developed into a double-double machine with the 60-year-old tactician at the helm.

For Oklahoma City Thunder, this development is a welcome boost as they try to return to bounce back from their latest defeat. Paul George is having the best season of his career and will be hard to stop, while Russell Westbrook remains a triple-double threat.

Betting Tip: Oklahoma City Thunder Asian Handicap -8.00 @ 1.92.

Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns (January 09, 10:00 GMT+8)

The NBA 2019 results haven’t been kind to the Sacramento Kings. In four games since the New Year, Sac-Town won just once. They endured a slump since losing to the Los Angeles Lakers last week before taking down Orlando.

Fortunately for the Kings, the Phoenix Suns pose no threat at all. The West-worst Arizona ballclub is on a six-game skid and has lost seven of their last 10.

Sacramento have also taken the W in their first encounter this year, a game that saw them demoralise the Suns, 122-105.

New York Knicks @ Golden State Warriors (January 09, 11:30 GMT+8)

Halfway through the season, it’s definitely surprising to see the Golden State Warriors only second in the Western Conference. They were supposed to be the top team right now, wreaking havoc in the NBA and tearing opposing defences with their ‘Death Lineup.’

However, the lack of bench production, the absence of a top-quality big man, and chemistry and other off-court dramas continue to cause problems for them. Not to mention that both Draymond Green and Klay Thompson are playing poorly and inconsistently.

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson eyes the No.1 spot in the NBA standing

Golden State Warriors guard Klay Thompson drives to the basket during an NBA basketball game in Portland

Of course, the NBA 2019 odds at us favour the Dubs to clobber the lowly New York Knicks. But with the Warriors’ tendency to go cold and the Knickerbockers’ new-found confidence after upsetting the Lakers, it could turn out to be an exciting match.

Charlotte Hornets @ LA Clippers (January 09, 11:30 GMT+8)

The Hornets are fighting for a playoff spot, but it always seems they are just a couple of injuries away from falling to the bottom and battling for the lottery.

Although All-Star guard Kemba Walker is providing 25.3 points on a nightly basis, he isn’t enough to bring the team to the next level. They severely lack depth, and that was evident when they lost by 38 points to the Dallas Mavericks last week.

The LA Clippers may not have a legitimate All-Star in the team, but they make it up with a deep roster. Tobias Harris is leading the starting unit, while microwave scorer Lou Williams is anchoring the bench mob.

Betting Tip: LA Clippers First Half Asian Handicap -3.50 @ 1.96.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
 

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NBA: Raptors Beat Bucks For the First Time, Warriors Set New NBA Record

It’s another eventful day in the NBA this Sunday, with both the Toronto Raptors and Golden State Warriors making the headlines.

The Raptors just proved they are ready to contend in the East with a convincing and well-played victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Meanwhile, the Warriors are back in the news as they survived a fiery challenge from the Sacramento Kings and set a new NBA record in the process.

In other results, Denver continue to impress, while Utah, Philadelphia, New Orleans, San Antonio and Portland all bagged the important Ws.

Charlotte Hornets 110-123 Denver Nuggets

The Denver Nuggets are one of the best teams at home this season, and they improved to 16-3 on their games at Pepsi Center with a dominant win over the Charlotte Hornets.

Nikola Jokic, who grabbed the NBA 2019 highlights with his triple-double against the New York Knicks in the New Year, led the way for the Nuggets once again. The Serbian big man finished with 39 points, 12 rebounds, six assists, three steals and a block.

Even more remarkable, Jokic is only the second player to achieve that stat line in less than 34 minutes of play. The other player to do it? Michael Jordan.

Utah Jazz 110-105 Detroit Pistons

Utah started off cold and found themselves down by 18 points (31-13) against the Detroit Pistons in the opening frame. However, the Jazz still ended up winning the match.

Donovan Mitchell stepped up big time for the Jazz, with last season’s Rookie of the Year runner-up scoring 24 of his 26 points in the second half.

Blake Griffin, who finished with 34 markers, tried to bring Detroit back in the game and cut the Jazz’s lead to just two, 104-102, with 40.9 seconds left to play. Mitchell responded with a clutch 15-footer to bring their lead up by four in the final 22 seconds, and Utah held on to complete one of the best comebacks of the year.

Donovan  Mitchell paved Utah Jazz' way to seal a come-from-behind win over Detroit Pistons in recent NBA match

Utah Jazz guard Donovan Mitchell in action against Detroit Pistons guard Bruce Brown

Dallas Mavericks 100-106 Philadelphia 76ers

Ben Simmons is making triple-doubles easy to come by.

In the absence of Jimmy Butler, Simmons completely took over to shut down the Dallas Mavericks who were looking to bounce back from their recent defeat to the Boston Celtics. The Australian sensation had 20 points on top of 14 boards and 11 dimes.

Ryan Broekhoff put up a career game with 15 points, but his efforts were not enough as Mavs’ top-scorer Luka Doncic was limited to just 14 points on 4-of-16 shooting from the field.

New Orleans Pelicans 133-98 Cleveland Cavaliers

Amid all the trade/free agency rumours surrounding superstar big man Anthony Davis, the New Orleans Pelicans redirected all the attention to the team by thrashing the slumping Cleveland Cavaliers.

Jrue Holiday (22 points), Julius Randle (22) and Davis (20) all scored 20-plus each to pace the Pelicans to their best win of the season so far. The 35-point margin is also the team’s fifth-biggest margin of victory in franchise history.

New Orleans staged a 15-0 run to start the second half, and they never looked back to pile more misery on the cold-shooting Cavs.

Only Tristan Thompson and Jalen Jones shot at 50 percent for the Cavs, with the likes of Larry Nance Jr. and Alec Burks shooting below 30 percent.

Toronto Raptors 123-116 Milwaukee Bucks

FINALLY! Third time’s the charm for the Toronto Raptors as they beat the Milwaukee Bucks on their own turf.

Giannis Antetokounmpo had another monster performance for the Bucks, banking in 43 points while grabbing 18 rebounds. Nevertheless, it was Kahwi Leonard who had the last laugh with his all-around effort of 30 points, six rebounds, six assists and five steals.

The Bucks even played the Barney Song to mock the Raptors during the game, so Toronto are certainly all smiles right now.

Memphis Grizzlies 88-108 San Antonio Spurs

Don’t write off the San Antonio Spurs just yet. After struggling earlier in the campaign due to injuries, the Spurs have found their rhythm and are back in contention for a playoff place.

The Spurs have now won four straight games (and 12 of their last 15) after taking down Southwest rivals Memphis Grizzlies. Derrick White and LaMarcus Aldridge combined for 37 points, while Patty Mills also came up with huge plays—particularly in the second quarter—to help San Antonio pull away for good.

San Antonio moved up to fifth with a 23-17 record, tied with the LA Clippers and only half a game behind the Houston Rockets.

Houston Rockets 101-110 Portland Trail Blazers

James Harden produced but failed to deliver. Despite the reigning NBA MVP’s 38-point explosion, the Portland Trail Blazers managed to surprise the NBA 2019 odds at us with a win over the surging Rockets.

The Rockets won their previous six games, including an upset of the Warriors. However, Harden received little help from his teammates.

Jusuf Nurkic shined the brightest for the Blazers with his 25 points and 15 rebounds. C.J. McCollum, on the other hand, tallied 24 markers with four assists and rebounds reach.

While Clint Capela dominated the boards for Houston, it’s quite alarming that the team only had 13 assists in the game. It didn’t help that they shot 34.2 percent from 3-point territory.

Golden State Warriors 127-123 Sacramento Kings

It was a close fight all over again. The first two meetings between the two ball-clubs ended with a five-point lead or less, and that’s exactly the case once again as the Golden State Warriors edged the Kings by a four-point margin.

The match turned out into a three-point battle between Stephen Curry and Buddy Hield. Unfortunately for the Kings, Curry made 10 of his 20 triples en route to 42 points while Hield closed out the match with 32 points (8-of-13 from trey).

Sacramento Kings' Buddy  Hield has hindered the Warriors from easily winning during their recent NBA match

Sacramento Kings’ Buddy Hield tries to steal the ball from Golden State Warriors star Kevin Durant

Interestingly, the two teams combined for a new NBA record 41 treys made in a game. The previous record was 40, bagged by the Cavs and the Minnesota Timberwolves last February 2018.

 

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NBA 2018 Preview: The Struggling Stars Want to Reestablish Dominance!

Now that all of basketball’s biggest stars have had their fill of turkey and stuffing, the NBA season is back on track. All of the best ballers on the planet are now back to lacing themselves up to play some of the best basketball that we will see over the weekend.

There’s one interesting thing eagle-eyed fans will notice about the upcoming games is that there are three underperforming teams that will be playing. The Boston Celtics, the Houston Rockets, and the Golden State Warriors are all good basketball teams that have good NBA 2018 odds of making the NBA Finals. However, these are the same three teams that have underperformed thus far.

They will be hoping to turn their poor run of form around and build a winning formula through these games. With that being said, it will be interesting to see if we will get to see some motivated play from these leaders.

Houston Rockets @ Cleveland Cavaliers (November 25, 07:30 GMT+8)

The Rockets have seemingly rediscovered their groove.

Cutting Carmelo Anthony from the team was not the easiest decision to make, but the impact of not having the ball get clogged at the hands of the forward. James Harden and Chris Paul were able to play their natural games, and the offence is beginning to look a lot like what it was last season.

Of course, Houston’s defensive problems still exist, and they still need to find an answer to that. Fortunately for Mike D’Antoni, their opponents will be the Cavaliers. While they will still be tired after battling the Detroit Pistons the day before, I don’t the Cavs would thrive without the injured Kevin Love and George Hill.

New Orleans Pelicans @ Washington Wizards (November 25, 08:00 GMT+8)

The Pelicans are just outside of the playoff picture as of the moment, but that could be blamed to the stretch of time Anthony Davis spent away from the team due to injury. The good times have seemingly come back to the team, and they have played very entertaining basketball thus far.

Meanwhile, the Washington Wizards are somehow winning games despite the fractured locker room multiple reports have revealed. I’m not certain that John Wall and Bradley Beal can simply force their way past a solid New Orleans squad.

Chicago Bulls @ Minnesota Timberwolves (November 25, 08:00 GMT+8)

The Bulls finally broke their losing streak with a home win over the struggling Phoenix Suns, but that doesn’t mean that good times are ahead for Fred Hoiberg‘s team as they visit the Minnesota Timberwolves at the Target Center. Bobby Portis and Lauri Markkanen are still out with injuries and aren’t likely to play until the dawn of the next month.

Derrick Rose picked up from where Jimmy Butler left off to become the third scoring option that the team badly needed. In addition to that, both Robert Covington and Dario Saric have been playing well for the Wolves. I don’t see any reason why Tom Thibodeau’s team should lose this in front of their home crowd.

Denver Nuggets @ Oklahoma City Thunder (November 25, 08:00 GMT+8)

Many of OKC’s fans are on a high after they extended the Warriors’ losing streak to four in their last match. Given the way both Paul George and Russell Westbrook have thrived so far this season, there’s little to no question that they are slight favourites coming up against the Denver Nuggets.

I don’t think Jamal Murray and Garry Harris are good enough players to match Westbrook and George’s production offensively. However, they do have a key man in Nikola Jokic who will make things easier for them.

Boston Celtics @ Dallas Mavericks (November 25, 08:30 GMT+8)

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Whether it is due to their inability to gel their players or Kyrie Irving insulting one of the most essential American holidays, the Boston Celtics are far below their expected productivity levels. Kyrie is trying his best with his 26.6 scoring average, something’s just not making sense for Brad Steven’s squad.

They need to figure out what’s the problem in their roster even as they face another tough customer in the Dallas Mavericks. Dallas have made the American Airlines Center a fortress with their 7-2 record, and their exciting pick-and-roll game will cause problems for a shoddy Boston defence.

San Antonio Spurs @ Milwaukee Bucks (November 25, 08:30 GMT+8)

The Spurs are struggling through a slow start to the season despite great efforts from DeMar DeRozan, Rudy Gay and LaMarcus Aldridge. They just haven’t found the winning formula yet and are just trudging along below the .500 line.

Meanwhile, the Milwaukee Bucks continue to play exciting basketball. With Giannis Antetokounmpo leading the team in points, rebounds and steals, there’s no question that the Bucks will plough through the Spurs at the Bradley Center. The only question for us fans is the margin by which the Bucks will win.

Sacramento Kings @ Golden State Warriors (November 25, 08:30 GMT+8)

The losing streak and their off-court drama have become one of the most unfortunate NBA 2018 highlights for the defending champions. While they do know that this rut won’t last forever, the fact that they lost to an underperforming San Antonio squad had to hurt their pride.

They have a shot at putting things back on track as they welcome the surprisingly impressive Sacramento Kings. Of course, the bookies all favour the Dubs, but nothing’s impossible given the losing skid they are on.

If the Dubs can’t manage to win over De’Aaron Fox‘s Kings even if Stephen Curry is listed as injured, then I think an intervention is due for Steve Kerr‘s team.

 

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NBA Recap: Welcome to Chef Curry’s Cooking Show!

In a wild NBA day filled with huge turnarounds, blowouts, important wins and injuries, the Golden State Warriors still managed to get the spotlight.

The Warriors took down the Washington Wizards and were never really threatened, thanks to Stephen Curry who showed his MVP form and hot hands with a 50-point performance.

LeBron James getting his first win as a Laker is great, and so is Giannis Antetokounmpo‘s historic display. However, the Warriors and Curry certainly take the cake.

Here’s the full us recap of all the matches today:

Washington Wizards 122-144 Golden State Warriors

WHAT. A. PERFORMANCE.

Stephen Curry lit up the Oracle Arena as he scored 23 points in the first quarter alone en route to 51 and a resounding Golden State Warriors victory.

Chef Curry cooked the game and flavoured it his way, grabbing the NBA 2018 highlights with his 11 three-pointers. For what it’s worth, it is the sixth time in his career that he shot 11 or more treys.

Moreover, Curry, Kevin Durant and Klay Thompson combined for 100 points in the game, more than the Washington Wizards’ starters plus Kelly Oubre Jr. and Jeff Green.

The Dubs trailed just once, early in the first canto, and never looked back as the Wizards were left wondering how to defend Curry.

Dallas Mavericks 104-111 Atlanta Hawks

What could have been a dream game for the Dallas Mavericks turned into a nightmare after blowing up a 20-point first quarter lead and losing to the Atlanta Hawks by seven points at the end of the game.

There were high expectations in this match, with the main storyline being the meeting of two highly touted rookies Luka Doncic and Trae Young — who were traded for each other during the 2018 NBA Draft.

The Mavs recorded their highest-scoring first quarter since 2015 with 42 points and led by as much as 26, but the Hawks showed a lot of intensity on the defensive end to keep the Mavs to just 62 points in the next three quarters.

Kent Bazemore and Taurean Prince combined for 56 markers to lead the Hawks. On the other hand, in the battle of the rooks, Young scored 17 for Atlanta while Doncic finished with 21 points and nine boards for the Mavs.

Brooklyn Nets 102-86 Cleveland Cavaliers

Tyronn Lue blasted the Cleveland Cavaliers for their defensive miscues against the Hawks the last time out, but their offence really needs some fixing too.

The two teams were tied 45-all at halftime; however, the Brooklyn Nets used a 21-3 third-quarter run to pull away for good and keep the Cavaliers winless in the post-LeBron James era.

All the Nets’ starters scored in double figures, led by D’Angelo Russell who had 18 points to go along with eight boards. Meanwhile, no Cleveland player scored more than 11 points.

New York Knicks 87-110 Miami Heat

The New York Knicks never had a chance in this game. At least not after seeing the Miami Heat roll to a 45-20 third quarter.

New York had a scorching start and were up by 11 after the opening period. Nonetheless, Miami battled back and totally flipped the script with a dominant third quarter that saw them record their highest point differential in a single quarter.

Hassan Whiteside paced the Heat with a double-double of 22 points and 14 rebounds, while the Knicks got a surprise production from Damyean Dotson who went for 20-10 in points and rebounds.

Minnesota Timberwolves 105-112 Toronto Raptors

The blockbuster trade that brought Kawhi Leonard to Toronto seems to be paying off for the Raptors.

Leonard, who had a fallout with the San Antonio Spurs last season, bagged 35 points and did a little bit of everything else (five boards, two rebounds, two steals, two blocks) to power the Raps past the Jimmy Butler-led Minnesota Timberwolves.

Butler (23 points) and Karl-Anthony Towns (14 points, eight rebounds) did everything they could, but missing Andrew Wiggins to a quad injury was a huge blow for the Wolves.

Utah Jazz 100-89 Houston Rockets

James Harden was forced to leave the Rockets' NBA game against the Jazz

Reigning MVP James Harden shoots over Rudy Gobert and Ricky Rubio of the Utah Jazz

Holding one of the league’s best offensive teams to just 89 points is undoubtedly an amazing feat for the Utah Jazz.

After allowing the Sacramento Kings score 117 in their opener, Utah seem to have found their defensive mojo back, just in time against the Houston Rockets.

Donovan Mitchell, last year’s runner-up in the Rookie of the year voting, exploded for 38 points, seven assists and five rebounds as the Jazz edged out the Chris Paul-less Rockets.

It didn’t help Houston that they lost reigning NBA MVP James Harden to a hamstring injury with five minutes left to play.

Charlotte Hornets 110-112 Chicago Bulls

With Zach LaVine putting up a Michael Jordan-esque performance, nothing can stop the Chicago Bulls.

LaVine hit 32 points in the match, including the game-winning free throws with 0.5 seconds left to give the Bulls their first win of the season.

It was LaVine’s fourth straight 30-point game, becoming the only Bull since His Airness to pull off such a statistical feat. Interestingly, he did it against the Hornets—currently owned by Jordan himself!

Indiana Pacers 116-96 San Antonio Spurs

Balanced scoring paved the way for the Indiana Pacers’ 20-point win over the San Antonio Spurs, a team coming off a hard-earned victory over the Los Angeles Lakers last Tuesday.

Gregg Popovich’s men are always tough to beat at home—even with their injury woes—but Indiana showed the formula to beat one of the most consistent franchises in league history.

Seven players scored in double figures for the Pacers, with Victor Oladipo 921 points, nine boards, five dimes) leading the charge. The Pacers distributed the ball well too, finishing with 34 team assists to the Spurs’ 16.

Philadelphia 76ers 108-123 Milwaukee Bucks

Watch out NBA, Giannis Antetokounmpo is ready to stake his claim as the new “King” of the East.

In his match-up with the Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, the Greek Freak shined the most and proved why he is a true unicorn of this basketball generation.

Antetokounmpo secured a triple-double of 32 points, 18 rebounds and 10 assists to give the Bucks a dominant win. It was also his fourth straight 25-point, 15-rebound performance, joining Wilt Chamberlain as the only players to do so in the first four games of the season.

Embiid, for his part, had 30 and 19 in points and rebounds, while Simmons earned a triple-double (14 points, 13 rebounds, 11 assists) as well.

Los Angeles Lakers 131-113 Phoenix Suns

Los Angeles Lakers nab their first NBA win of the LA-Bron era as they dismantle the young Phoenix Suns

LeBron James celebrates after the Lakers made a shot during their dominating performance against the Phoenix Suns

It’s a first win for the Lakers in the LA-Bron era.

The NBA 2018 odds on the Lakers making the playoffs are slowly drifting away after the team started the season with three straight losses. However, LeBron James and co. restored hopes as they cool down the Phoenix Suns led by Devin Booker and 2018 top overall pick Deandre Ayton.

Seven players reached double-digit marks for the Purple and Gold. Lance Stephenson led all Lakers with 23 points, while LeBron posted an all-around performance of 19 points, seven rebounds, 10 assists and three steals.

Memphis Grizzlies 92-97 Sacramento Kings

Despite playing the second game of a back-to-back, the Sacramento Kings eked out a W at Golden 1 Center against the hot-and-cold Memphis Grizzlies.

Memphis were expected to dominate the game after winning their last two matches, but a poor-shooting performance handed the Kings a huge advantage.

Mike Conley was the only bright spot for Memphis with 27 points on 45.5 percent shooting as the four other starters shot 40 percent and below from the field. Meanwhile, the Kings shot 42.2 percent overall, with Buddy Hield finishing with 23 markers on an efficient 50 percent shooting.

 

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NBA Preview: All Eyes On the West as Warriors, Rockets, Thunder Play

After a memorable gameday that saw veteran guards Chris Paul and Rajon Rondo exchange punches in the Los Angeles Lakers-Houston Rockets match, the NBA returns this Monday with all eyes still glued on the Western Conference.

Of course, fans will be waiting what punishment will the league’s top brass give to Houston’s Paul ahead of the Rockets’ game against the L.A. Clippers—which so happens to be the All-Star guard’s former team.

However, besides that intriguing storyline, there are more to watch out for in the league. The Golden State Warriors also return to action, this time against a fellow undefeated team Denver Nuggets. In contrast, the Oklahoma City Thunder host the Sacramento Kings in a battle of winless teams.

Here’s the full us preview of the upcoming matches in the league:

Atlanta Hawks @ Cleveland Cavaliers (October 22, 06:00 GMT+8)

Both the Atlanta Hawks and the Cleveland Cavaliers lost their opening two games of the season, with the former even bowing down to teams that finished with less than 30 wins last campaign. Nonetheless, one of them is set to get their first “W” of the year when they meet.

The NBA 2018 odds point to a Cavs win, and for a good reason. While Cleveland lost LeBron James in free agency, they managed to keep Kevin Love and even added a bright young talent in Collin Sexton.

Kevin  Love aims to maintain his prolific form in the entire season of the NBA

Cleveland Cavaliers’ Kevin Love led the Cavaliers with 25 points during the NBA match against the Timberwolves

Not to mention that they have finally unleashed Cedi Osman, who has averaged 19.5 points in two games for the Wine and Gold.

The Hawks, on the other hand, have been abysmal. Although they are working hard on both ends of the floor, their offence and defence remain an issue. They have allowed their first two opponents to score more than 125 points on them, and that isn’t a good thing for any team.

Cleveland are at -6.50 @ 1.87 to win, and that might not be a bad bet to make given Atlanta’s woes.

Sacramento Kings @ Oklahoma City Thunder (October 22, 07:00 GMT+8)

Talking about winless teams, the Kings and Thunder are in the same situation. Fortunately for Oklahoma, star point guard Russell Westbrook could make his return at Chesapeake Energy Arena against the Sacramento team.

Westbrook has missed the first two games of the season as he recovers from an offseason knee procedure, but ESPN reports that the 2017 NBA MVP is planning to return to action in the Monday game.

With that said, the Thunder could have their pairing of Westbrook and Paul George back on the court, and that could spell trouble for the Kings who are still figuring out their identity on the defensive end.

Golden State Warriors @ Denver Nuggets (October 22, 08:00 GMT+8)

A Jonas Jerebko tip-in saved the Warriors from losing to the Utah Jazz last week, but the reigning champs certainly need to improve if they want to keep their winning streak alive.

Jonas  Jerebko is tipped to maintain his heroic NBA form in the next matches

Golden State Warriors’ Jonas Jerebko celebrates after scoring the winning shot against the Utah Jazz

They also had a hard time against the Thunder in their opening night match-up and noticeably lost the third-quarter bite that made them dangerous opponents last season.

Kevin Durant and Stephen Curry were impressive for the Dubs in their last two games, with Steph even scoring back-to-back 30-plus points. However, their bench remains a concern and the frontcourt could really use some depth.

Denver boast one of the best big men in the league in Nikola Jokic, and the Serbian is undoubtedly capable of making life difficult for the Bay Area team. After all, he is coming off a historic night that saw him grab the NBA 2018 news headlines with a triple-double of 35 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists on a perfect 11-for-11 shooting.

Jokic is only the second player in NBA history to achieve the rare statistical feat, joining the great Wilt Chamberlain in the elusive club.

It remains to be seen if Jokic and the Nuggets can replicate their earlier successes, but it won’t be wrong to expect them to keep the fight close and win on Asian Handicap +3.00 that pays at 2.02.

Houston Rockets @ Los Angeles Clippers (October 22, 09:00 GMT+8)

After the Paul-Rondo brawl, the Rockets should expect a hostile environment when they play in the Staples Center again. Besides, they also have history against the Clippers (remember the locker room fight and secret tunnel?).

Paul is likely to be suspended—the only question is by how many games—so he is expected to sit out against the Clippers to serve his suspension.

With that said, the Rockets will be leaning on 2018 NBA MVP James Harden to carry both the scoring and playmaking load for the team. They have to be cautious though, especially with the Clips coming off a win against the Thunder behind Tobias Harris, Danilo Gallinari, Lou Williams and Boban Marjanovic.

Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.

 

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