The NBA is much quieter this week than normal but the weekend will start with a couple of excellent match-ups, highlighted by the Knicks’ clash with the Cavaliers in Cleveland. Last week was obviously All-Star week and big man Anthony Davis won the MVP for the Western Conference after slamming down more than 50 points in an All-Stars match record, while Russell Westbrook was at his devastating best as he piled on a further 41 for the West.
The weekend is pretty full of potentially quality matches with the Clippers taking on competition favourites Golden State at ORACLE Arena. On Saturday the Celtics cross the border into Toronto to take on the Raptors at Air Canada Centre. Later on, departing Kings forward DeMarcus Cousins will play his first match for the team in the wake of his defection to New Orleans, while the Bulls and Cavs will clash in Cleveland on Sunday.
Sunday, February 24th, 11:00am (AEST) @ Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland.
New York has been woeful in recent weeks with the odd win punctuated by a series of losses but with the kind of team they have on paper with the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Derrick Rose Joakim Noah leading the charge. The away record of the Knicks doesn’t make for pretty reading with a string of recent losses coming against Oklahoma City (116-105), Washington (117-101), Atlanta (142-139) and Dallas (103-95).
Cleveland rightfully enters this match as the favourites but it is difficult to determine how each team will play after enjoying a few days rest after a busy All-Stars weekend. The big three of LeBron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love along with solid duo Tristan Thompson and Kyle Korver have been the backbone for the Cavaliers this season and with JR Smith set to be back on the court before the end of the season, the Cavs are well positioned to mount a late Finals push.
Friday, February 24th, 1:30Pm (AEST) @ ORACLE Arena, Oakland.
The Warriors were probably in need of a rest after a dominant first half of the season that has them as easily the best performing team in both NBA Conferences. The recent 22-point loss against Denver was one of their worst displays of the year; however they recently made amends with a comprehensive 23-point win over Sacramento. At 47-9, the Warriors may not have as good a record as last year but they would be confident of beating the Clippers.
Los Angeles power forward Blake Griffin has been the centre of trade rumours over the last couple of days, which really isn’t an ideal way to prepare for a match against the best team in the league. It will be interesting to see if the Clippers can continue their winning streak after having more than a week away from the court. After they were going through a vain of bad form where, LA has since regrouped but face a monumental battle against the might of their fellow Californians.