The NBA this week (All-Star week) features a bunch of entertaining matches and on Tuesday the Thunder and Wizards started proceedings off in an entertaining, high-scoring clash in Washington. The highlights from last weekend’s action were LeBron James’s stunning three-pointer to send the Cavaliers’ match with the Wizards into overtime and Kevin Durant’s return to Oklahoma City where he went up against former teammate Russell Westbrook.
Elsewhere this week, the Warriors were sensationally silenced by the Nuggets in Denver on Tuesday (AEST), while the Pacers travel to Cleveland on Thursday to take on the James-led Cavaliers. The Knicks take on last start losers the Thunder in Oklahoma City and the Celtics play the Bulls before the main event takes place on Monday morning when the All-Stars game takes place in New Orleans between East and West.
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Thursday, February 16th, 10:00am (AEST) @ Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland, OH.
The Pacers have been woeful recently and things don’t get much easier for them on Thursday when they go up against LeBron, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love’s defending champion Cavaliers in Cleveland. On the road, Indiana has been a much better looking team recently when compared to the form they have shown at home over the last couple of weeks, which should provide players with confidence knowing they don’t have the away yips like some teams.
In a good sign for Cleveland, they easily beat the Pacers when they met last week, powering to a cruisy 15-point win. The big three in James, Irving and Love will all feature for the East in Monday’s All-Stars clash with the West and those three are a huge reason why punters fancy them to easily account for the Pacers. Last time they met it was Irving and Kyle Korver doing the damage for Cleveland with both players scoring a game-high 29 points.
Thursday, February 16th, 12:30pm (AEST) @ Chesapeake Arena, Oklahoma City.
Oklahoma City had a great start to the year, even without former superstar forward Kevin Durant, winning six of their first seven games (the only loss in that period was against Durant’s new team Golden State). More recently though, the Thunder have been out of form with back-to-back losses against Golden State and more recently a red-hot Washington side featuring the likes of John Wall and injury-prone star Bradley Beal.
New York’s season has been disappointing considering their aggressive recruitment drive that landed the likes of former MVP Derrick Rose and Joakim Noah from the Bulls. The Bulls may be last start winners but their recent form has been woeful, losing to the likes of the Lakers, Clippers, Wizards and Falcons. If the Knicks are to register back-to-back wins they will have to figure out a way to do what no other team has done this season; shut down Russell Westbrook.
Friday, February 17th, 11:00am (AEST) @ United Center, Chicago, IL.
Boston is enjoying its best season in a number of years and in recent weeks have been extremely impressive and deserve to be mentioned as title contenders alongside Golden State, Cleveland, Toronto and San Antonio. The Celtics possess a pretty a decent record on the road and with the likes of Isaiah Thomas, Al Horford and Avery Bradley, should be able to ease past a Bulls team that has been largely disappointing this season.
Inconsistency has plagued the Bulls for a number of seasons and this one is panning out to be no different to past campaigns. Chicago has lost its last four NBA matches against Golden State, Phoenix, Minnesota and Toronto and have battled to string together consecutive wins all year; their best winning streak was four victories but that came all the way back in October/November against Miami, Washington, Portland and Utah.