It’s a big day in the NBA with an eleven game slate with some crucial games in the lead up to the All Star break. The action is headlined with a battle between 1st and 2nd in the Western Conference as the Lakers travel to Denver to take on the Nuggets at 2pm.
As usual, we have a full preview and betting tips for the key games of the day below.
Indiana, coming off six consecutive losses, hosts the league best Milwaukee Bucks who sit at 46-7. The Pacers had a golden opportunity to snap their losing streak on Tuesday against the Nets, however poor execution down the stretch cost them dearly as they lost by one point thanks to a Spencer Dinwiddie game winner.
The Bucks again will be without Giannis, who has been out due to the birth of his son, but that hasn’t slowed down the Bucks who are on a five-game winning streak. Kris Middleton led the way with 28 points, 11 rebounds and 8 assists in the 123-111 win over the Kings on Tuesday. The Bucks have shown they aren’t just a one man team as Brook Lopez (20 points) and Eric Bledsoe (28 points) also helped carry the load without the league MVP.
The Bucks are on a roll at the moment with 14 wins in their last 15 games. With the league’s second best offense (113.4 offensive rating) and the league’s best defence (101.6), the Bucks look unstoppable on both sides of the ball - with or without Giannis. The Bucks will be too strong for the struggling Pacers.
Another fixture between two sides with contrasting form lines as the Utah Jazz host the Miami Heat. The Jazz are on a three-game win streak, while the Heat have just one win in their last four games after snapping a three-game losing streak against the Warriors on Tuesday.
The Utah Jazz have picked up pace recently, winning three straight games against strong teams Dallas Mavericks, Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Rockets. The Jazz are in a nice flow on offence, getting a good spread in scoring from their key players. In their last game against the Dallas Mavericks, Bogdan Bogdanovic scored 23 points, while Jordan Clarkson and Donovan Mitchell added 25 and 23 points respectively.
Although both sides have quality defence, this game could be high scoring with two top ten offensive teams. With the recent additions of Andre Igudola and Jae Crowder, the Heat will have plenty of defenders to throw at Donovan Mitchell. With Jimmy Butler back in the line up and firing on offense, the Heat are well positioned to pick up an upset win on the road.
The marquee matchup of the day as the 40-12 Lakers (1st in the West) travel to Denver (38-16, 2nd in the West). The Nuggets are 8-2 in their last ten games and are currently on a four-game win streak. The Lakers have won their last two games after victories against the Warriors on Sunday and the Suns on Tuesday.
The Nuggets are coming off a dramatic victory against the Spurs Monday, coming back from 23 points down to claim a 127-120 win. After struggling to find consistency at both ends of the floor at the beginning of the season, the Nuggets have been assertive on both ends during their win streak and possess the second-best net rating in the NBA during that span (12.5).
The Lakers have struggled with turnovers in their last ten games where they have gone 6-4. They’ve given up the ball 18 times per game in their last four losses. The game could be decided by how the Nuggets defend Anthony Davis, given Nikola Jokic’s poor defensive form this season, expect the Lakers to attack this matchup.
The season series is tied 1-1 with both teams winning on the road. Denver has won three of its last five games against Los Angeles. The Lakers have the league’s best road record at 22-5, whilst the Nuggets have the second best home record in the western conference at 21-6. This will be one of the best games of the season and a likely preview for a playoff series. With the Nuggets in such good form, expect them to take the win in a close match.
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