Their is a sombre mood around the NBA after the tragic passing of Kobe Bryant, his daughter and seven others in a helicopter crash on Sunday morning. Wednesday night’s clash between the Lakers and Clippers at the Staples Center has been postponed out of respect.
However, the games continue around the league with a number of teams in action over the next few nights. With the NBA All-Star break now just two weeks away, teams are jostling for position to establish themselves as playoff contenders.
Houston Rockets @ Portland Trail Blazers
Wednesday 29th January 10PM
The form of both of these franchises has taken a downward turn in the first half of the 2019/2020 NBA season. The Trail Blazers languish in 10th spot in the Western Conference, a far cry from their Conference Finals appearance last season.
Likewise, the Rockets have performed well below expectations. Mike D’Antoni’s side are in 5th place in the West. Their off-season recruit Russell Westbrook has taken time to bed in with the Houston gameplan although recent performances are showing positive signs.
We’re almost guaranteed a high-scoring game in this one. Damian Lillard and James Harden are the top-scoring guards in the NBA and they both have top-level deputies in the form of CJ McCollum and Westbrook. Add Carmelo Anthony and Eric Gordon into the mix and we have no choice but to back the over in the points betting.
Every win for the Trail Blazers is crucial at the minute if they are to have any chance of making the 8th and final playoff berth.
We’re backing Portland to come away with the win at home. Bet on them to win with CanPlay.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Atlanta Hawks
Thursday 30th January 7:30PM
Philadelphia travel south to face the lowly Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.
Brett Brown’s team are keeping pace with their Eastern Conference rivals and will place somewhere between 2nd and 6th when all is said in done. Home advantage will have a big part to play in the playoffs though and a few wins could see them jump up the table behind the Milwaukee Bucks.
At 12-36, the Atlanta Hawks have the second-worst record in the NBA. The one positive for them this season has been the form of All-Star guard Trae Young. The 21-year-old is averaging 29.9 points-per-game and 9 assists. Some pundits have suggested that his ball-hogging has been to the detriment to the team. However, it’s clear that the Hawks are not in ‘win-now’ mode. Front office and management are content with building a team around Young.
That points to a healthy future for the Hawks but right now, things don’t look as rosy. For that reason, we fancy the 76ers to get the win on the road.
Oklahoma City Thunder @ Phoenix Suns
Friday 31st January 10PM
The Phoenix Suns haven’t got a mention on these pages for many weeks. They jumped out of the blocks this season, occupying a top playoff place for much of the opening few weeks. Their form has regressed back to normality since but those early wins have kept them in good stead. They are not out of the playoff race yet but wins are needed before the break.
The Thunder have consistently impressed this season. Chris Paul has been the driving force in this young team as he aims to reach the playoffs for the 12th season in a row with four different teams. Paul has been assisted in the scoring ranks by young Canadian Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Danilo Gallinari and Dennis Schroder.
The Suns will be on a high after a big win over the Mavericks last time out. Back them to pick up another win with CanPlay.