The 2015-16 NBA season is nearing the playoffs with just a few weeks remaining before the top teams begin their title aspirations. Continue reading as we take a look at the ESPN Australian televised Knicks vs Bulls and Clippers vs Warriors matches and more Thursday 24th March games.
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New York Knicks at Chicago Bulls (Thursday 11am AEDT)
In a big boost for the away side, Carmelo Anthony will return to the court after suffering migraines for close to a week. He is the leading scorer for the side and without him they have gone on a three game losing streak. The side will be looking forward to next season as they are playing for the draft now.
The Bulls are currently holding onto the 8th spot in the playoff race in the Eastern conference and their chances of reaching the knock out stages has been given a massive boost as the team is beginning to become healthy at the perfect time of the season. Jimmy Butler, Pau Gasol and Derrick Rose all took to the court on Monday as they made a late surge to defeat the Kings. Butler has been easing his way into things whilst Gasol will remain on a minutes restriction but that didn’t stop his production as he grabbed 14 boards and 14 points in his sides victory. The Bulls will be too strong in this one but we expect the match to be a low scoring and close contest.
TIP: Bulls – Check back for update once market opens
Los Angeles Clippers at Golden State Warriors (Thursday 1.30pm AEDT)
The Golden State Warriors bounced back from their defeat to the Spurs to earn a win against the Timberwolves but they were still tested and only won by 5. They face a big challenge against the Clippers as they were pushed to the limit by the side in their two earlier meetings this season, however the Clippers will obviously be without their superstar power forward Blake Griffin. Chris Paul will have to play at an incredibly high level to get his side over the line whilst DeAndre Jordan will have to be instrumental on the boards to prevent the Warriors from getting any second chance points. The Clippers are on a two game losing streak after falling to the two injury ravaged sides the Pelicans and Grizzlies. It is disappointing but the Clippers still hold onto the fourth spot in the West but they can’t afford to continue to lose with the Grizzlies just two games behind.
The Warriors are still chasing the record and are undefeated on their home court this season. We are expecting them to remain perfect and for this match to be a blow out with the Clippers out of form and the Warriors having the ability to score quick points in a little period of time. It is personal between these two sides after the comments the Clippers organisation made during the offseason and the Warriors will take advantage of the defensive slip ups made by the Clippers.
Atlanta Hawks at Washington Wizards (Thursday 10am AEDT)
The Washington Wizards reached the second round of the playoffs last season and whilst shooting guard Bradley Beal has suffered an injury for the majority of the season they are in a position where they could miss the playoffs altogether. However, they are currently on a five game winning streak and they are in a position to make a late run. Bradley Beal’s insertion into the starting line up as seen his involvement grow and he was instrumental in the sides victory against the Hawks on their court. They return home after their 15-point win and the Hawks will need to shut down the production of John Wall if they are to stand a chance. Wall has carried his side all season and he had 27 points and 14 assists.
Paul Millsap had a poor game and was held to just 13 points whilst he only grabbed 2 rebounds. He will need to contribute more in this one for the side to come out on top. The way we are seeing it is that the Wizards have a lot more to play for as each match is essentially a game 7 for them, especially against sides above them in the conference. The home court advantage will also play its part in the Wizards victory.
Milwaukee Bucks at Cleveland Cavaliers (Thursday 10am AEDT)
Lebron James has officially stated he is now in “playoff mode” which means he will no longer be cruising through matches as he looks to get in perfect condition for his sixth straight finals run. The superstar lived up to his comments by dropping 33 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists in his sides victory against the Nuggets. You can expect much of the same in this one as he has the ability to take over a game as he pleases.
James will be up against one of the best upcoming small forwards in the game Giannis antetokounmpo who has transformed his game into a point forward. He has great court vision and is a threat to put up a triple double every night. The young core around him is continuing to grow and the Bucks will be a threat to reach the playoffs next season. However, the Cavaliers are leading the East for a reason and as they are fully healthy they will come out on top with a big win in this one on the back of James’s playoff mode performance.
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Take note: Any of the tips in this article are simply the author’s opinion, so bet at your own risk and always gamble responsibly. Also be sure to check out the Before You Bet Twitter Page for all our thoughts in the lead up to bets! Happy punting!
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