Seven game slate in the NBA this Saturday, the 1st of February, headlined by a couple of big Western Conference clashes as the Dallas Mavericks take on the Houston Rockets, followed by the Lakers hosting the Trail Blazers in the late game.
We have a full preview and betting tips for some of the key matchups in the Saturday slate below.
The Mavericks were hit with a substantial blow on Wednesday as star point guard Luka Doncic went down with an ankle injury. Doncic will miss the Houston game, which will mean that the Rockets will start as strong favourites at home with James Harden and Russel Westbrook both returning to the line-up.
The Rockets were without the pair for their game in Utah on Tuesday, and ended up claiming a win on the back of a 50 point performance from Eric Gordon. The two returned for their Thursday clash with the Blazers, where they ironically were defeated by 13 points.
Tough to know what Houston team you are going to get night to night, but one thing that is certain in this game is that the Mavericks will need to find scoring elsewhere without Doncic, expect Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kristaps Porzingus to step up and both clear their point line.
The Suns are on the back of a good win over Dallas in their last game and have won six of their last 10 games in a competitive Western Conference. They will be looking to make inroads into the top eight in the conference with a win at home against the Thunder on Saturday.
The Thunder currently sit 7th in the conference and have won seven of their last 10 games. They are one of the surprise packets of the season so far after trading away their two best players in the off-season and have been taking some big scalps largely on the back of some brilliant play by point guard Chris Paul.
The Thunder will start as slight favourites on the road, but we are opting for the value in the Suns here. Since DeAndre Ayton returned from his suspension, the Suns are 8-7 straight up and have claimed big wins over the likes of Portland, Boston, San Antonio and Dallas. We think they hold firm at home.
The Lakers still sit atop the Western Conference with a 36-10 record, the second best in the entire league behind only the Bucks. They have no significant injuries to speak of at the moment, and have won seven of their last 10 games. With their game against the Clippers being postponed on Wednesday due to the tragic death of Kobe Bryant, the Lakers haven’t played since Sunday.
The Blazers captured a good win over the Rockets at home on Thursday and seem to be finally finding their grove offensively after a poor start to the season. They have won three of their last four games and in that span, star point guard Damian Lillard has put up a ridiculous 48.5 points per game.
Lillard’s performance of late has pushed his point line all the way up to 31.5, which we think is a little high against the Lakers. Avery Bradley has been tearing point guards up defensively this season and will no doubt get the job on Lillard on Saturday. With CJ McCollum back in the line-up and playing as well, expect Lillard’s shot numbers to drop.
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