The Utah Jazz and Los Angeles Lakers collide in a much-anticipated matchup between two of the best teams in the West. However, the struggling Lakers will still be without two key starters, which will give the red-hot Jazz a great chance to extend their lead over the defending NBA champions in the standings.
And over in the East, the reigning Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat will look to keep their hot run going against the resurgent Toronto Raptors.
As always, SBOTOP takes a closer look at those big games and the rest of the matchups on this busy day in the NBA schedule.
Golden State Warriors @ Indiana Pacers
The Warriors are back in action for the second night of a back-to-back. Stephen Curry returned from illness to score 37 points in last night’s 114-106 win over the Knicks as fans returned to Madison Square Garden. Curry has gone back to his MVP best this season, averaging over 30 points and five 3-pointers per game.
The Warriors will now take on the Pacers, who will also be back on the court after their last two games were postponed. Prior to that, they had won three of their last four games. Domantas Sabonis had a triple-double with 36 points — a season-high — 16 rebounds and 10 assists in their latest game, an overtime win over the struggling Timberwolves.
Betting Tip: Golden State Warriors Asian Handicap +2.50 @ 1.84
Boston Celtics @ Atlanta Hawks
The Celtics’ struggles continued as they suffered a heartbreaking last-second loss to the Mavericks last night. Boston have now lost three of their last four games. That includes a 1-1 split in a home set against their upcoming opponents, the Hawks.
Kemba Walker missed the game they lost but had 28 points in a win. However, he will be out once again to rest on the second night of a back-to-back. That will be a huge blow for Boston, who lack a third scorer behind All-Stars Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
Hawks star Trae Young will look to make more NBA 2021 highlights with Walker out. He had 71 total points in the first two games against the Celtics.
Houston Rockets @ Cleveland Cavaliers
The Rockets’ disastrous slide continues. They lost their eighth straight game after going down by 20 points to the Bulls. They released big man DeMarcus Cousins as previously reported and are still without guard Victor Oladipo due to a strained foot.
But Houston have a decent shot at ending their skid against the Cavs, who just ended their own 10-game losing streak last night with a 112-111 win over the Hawks. Collin Sexton had another fine game with 29 points, but forwards Larry Nance Jr. and Taurean Prince are still out, which is a blow to the Cavs’ frontcourt depth.
Toronto Raptors @ Miami Heat
The Raptors’ four-game win streak finally came to an end as they lost to the East-leading 76ers. Although, Toronto had just beaten the Sixers, as well as the Bucks in back-to-back games in Milwaukee despite missing Kyle Lowry with a sprained ankle. Norm Powell has stepped up in Lowry’s absence, scoring 24 or more points in three of his last four games.
Toronto will now take on the Heat, who ended their seven-game West road trip on a hot run of three straight wins. That includes a win in their NBA Finals rematch with the Lakers. Kendrick Nunn has been excellent over the last two games, averaging 23.5 points while playing 40 minutes with Goran Dragic and Tyler Herro both out.
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Chicago Bulls
New Timberwolves head coach Chris Finch made a losing start in Minnesota as they went down to 139-112 to the Bucks last night. That was their fifth loss in a row. Finch has his hands full with the league-worst Wolves, who are without starting guard D’Angelo Russell for the next few weeks after knee surgery.
Next up for Finch’s Wolves are the Bulls, who are up to eighth in the East after a 4-1 stretch in their last five games. They have scored 120 or more points in three of those games, with Wendell Carter Jr. and Cody White providing newly named All-Star Zach LaVine some much-needed support.
Betting Tip: Chicago Bulls Asian Handicap -4.50 @ 1.95
Detroit Pistons @ New Orleans Pelicans
The East-worst Pistons snapped their three-game losing skid by beating the Magic, 105-93. Rookie Saben Lee popped up with a team-high 21 points off the bench and Josh Jackson added 18 as he continues to revive his career.
Detroit will now go toe-to-toe with Zion Williamson and the Pelicans, who completed the biggest comeback in franchise history in their win over the Celtics. Zion has been simply unstoppable of late, averaging nearly 30 points on 67 per cent shooting over his last seven games.
San Antonio Spurs @ Oklahoma City Thunder
The Spurs are finally ready to return to action after four postponed games due to a Covid outbreak. Prior to their pause in play, they had been one of the league’s hottest teams, winning five of their last six. Their defence has been quite good while DeMar DeRozan has done well leading the offence.
However, the Spurs will be without six players – including DeRozan, Rudy Gay, and Derrick White – in their first game back against the struggling Thunder. OKC have lost seven of their last nine games, but with the Spurs significantly shorthanded, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and co. have a good chance of snatching a win.
Charlotte Hornets @ Phoenix Suns
The Hornets suffered a shellacking at the hands of the league-leading Jazz, who rained down 28 3-pointers en route to a 22-point victory. LaMelo Ball and Gordon Hayward both had 21 points, but they had no chance given how hot the Jazz were from beyond the arc.
However, Charlotte won’t have it much easier as they now take on the red-hot Suns, who have gone 9-1 in their last 10 games. That includes back-to-back 30-point blowout wins over the Grizzlies and Blazers. Devin Booker has caught fire of late, averaging 27 points on 54 per cent shooting over his last 10 games.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Utah Jazz
The Lakers have now lost three games in a row as they continue to struggle to cope with the absences of Anthony Davis and Dennis Schroder. LeBron James is doing all he can — he’s scored 30 or more points in three of his last four games — but his supporting cast is coping up just short.
The NBA 2021 betting odds will not favour the Lakers to end their losing streak against the Jazz, who are now a league-best 25-6 after blowing out the Hornets. With Mike Conley back from his hamstring problem, All-Stars Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell playing well and sixth man Jordan Clarkson on fire, the signs are pointing toward the Jazz coming out on top over the defending champs.
Betting Tip: LA Lakers +8.50 Asian Handicap +8.50 @ 1.92
Disclaimer: Odds are correct at time of publish.
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