The entire 2020 was full of different excitements and ups and downs, so I expect that last Sunday of the year will be the same. To find the game just for you, please check out my new NBA Game Previews.
Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Clippers
A duel between two teams that are expected to meet in playoffs, maybe in the conference finals. Both sides are equally strong on offense, but the crucial thing about tonight’s tilt will be the defense. Will the so-called best two-way player in the NBA, Kawhi Leonard, manage to stop young star Luka Doncic and his crew, or Josh Richardson will show his incredible defensive skills and stop PG13 from scoring dozen or buckets?
To be clear, both teams are surely tired of Christmas day, but the ambition will do its job.
The odds are on the home side, so as the experience, but I expect a tense duel. If the visitors lose, it will be only by a possession or two. Maybe by just a point.
Brooklyn Nets @ Charlotte Hornets
It will be a b2b game for the home team tonight. And could it be worse than facing the Nets at this moment? I don’t think so.
The reborn team from Brooklyn furiously started this season with their main duo, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant being in a very good mood. This is supposed to be a blowout because the young core of Hornets shouldn’t be able to confront these scoring machines.
Brooklyn is marching to their third win in three games, and nothing will stop them. Especially not LaMelo and his teammates. If we consider the fact that the Nets are scoring 124 points and the Hornets are allowing 115.5 ppg, we can expect the difference to be at least ten points. Or can we?
Orlando Magic @ Washington Wizards
A back to back head to head challenge for two squads. And even the host is the same. So we can say that this will be a real battle for the Eastern Conference 8th seed. Last night, Orlando won the first encounter with an unexpectedly large difference of ten points (130-120).
Will Wizards bounce back from that defeat, or Nikola Vucevic and Orlando have too much magic for the Wizards to handle?
San Antonio Spurs @ New Orleans Pelicans
To continue my NBA Game Previews, I chose another b2b game. But this time, for visitors only. After a tough home game against the Raptors, Gregg Popovich’s team will face another big obstacle. If we take a look at statistics, we’ll see that the PF position is the Spurs’ most vulnerable spot on the court. They let their opponent score 23.0 ppg. Power forward is Zion Williamson’s natural position, where he is quite effective. With his motivation against the Spurs (23.5 ppg vs. San Antonio last season), I predict that it will be his night. I doubt the Pelicans’ loss here, but maybe DeRozan, Aldridge, and co. will manage to adapt and overcome, as always, and win the game in the end.
Philadelphia 76ers @ Cleveland Cavaliers
We could call this night a “back to back night”. It’s a b2b game for both teams, and they both traveled to play it. The Cavs came back home, and the Sixers flew from New York to Ohio.
I assume this will be a clash of titans, more precisely, Andre Drummond and Joel Embiid. Drummond is a well-known rim protector and rebounder, but a player with limited attacking skills. Embid, on the other hand, is an attacking monster, but he is not so good on defense. The crucial factor will be their connection with point guards Sexton and Simmons.
I hope that both players will at least equalize their average of points (17.1 for Andre and 23.0 for Joel), just to make things more interesting for watching. It will be a fight for every rebound, don’t miss it.
Milwaukee Bucks @ New York Knicks
Another game in the empty MSG. And probably another loss for a home side. Carrying the Bucks for 5th season, the Greek Freak won’t have mercy for Knicks’ young players. I predict another blowout. There is no player in the NYK roster that can defensively and physically parry Giannis.
If the New Yorkers try to concentrate on stopping the reigning MVP, damage can come from the hands of Middleton or Jrue Holiday.
We can doubt a lot of things in sports, but tonight’s Bucks win we shouldn’t.
Boston Celtics @ Indiana Pacers
Yet another encounter between the potential playoff participants, and maybe postseason rivals.
The second consecutive home game for the Pacers will perhaps bring them one more win. One thing is clear, though, both squads will try not to lose, which means a low amount of points.
They are able to control the game pace and the rhythm, so the individual quality will likely decide. Indiana is good in defending the SF position, best in the NBA actually, with 16.8 ppg allowed from opponents’ small forwards. Boston, on the other end, is not so good at defending the SG position (22.2 ppg).
Will Victor Oladipo steal the show or the stars of Boston; Brown and Tatum, will carry their team to another victory?
Golden State Warriors @ Chicago Bulls
It is a chance for the first win of the season for Steve Kerr and the Warriors. With Steff Curry in poor form and without Klay and Green, they are not shining, but they are better than Chicago.
If we take a look at the odds, we’ll see that everything is on the side of the visitors, but I wouldn’t write off LaVine and crew so easily. With no real PF and serious defender, GSW is very unsafe of Zach’s high-speed penetration to the rim and Markkanen’s shooting skills and physical strength.
I give some advantage to the experience of the last consecutive champions. Still, it won’t be a surprise if they don’t manage to win.
Sacramento Kings @ Phoenix Suns
I continue my NBA Game Previews with the final B2B, H2H duel for tonight. Last night it was tight (106-103), where the team from California won the first of two clashes. Despite CP3 and his strong display (22p, 5r, 12a, with two steals and a block), it wasn’t enough for the victory. With five players with double digits and two guys with a double-double, it is obvious that the Kings have shown a team game on a higher level, but to be honest, luck was on their side too.
Tonight is the night of revenge for the Suns or the night where Fox and co. will verify a win against a direct rival for a playoff spot.
Minnesota Timberwolves @ LA Lakers
Game 2 to be played in Staples Center tonight. LeBron won’t hesitate about busting young Wolves to pieces. After he becomes the second most successful player of all-time on Christmas Day, he, and the rest of the Lakers are motivated enough to easily win this home game.
I expect that Karl-Anthony Towns will be neutralized by AD, and when you stop KAT, you stopped the Wolves. I don’t see how could the young Wolves overcome this obstacle and win, but I am sure that King James won’t lose his time and maybe decide this game in the first half.
It was my pleasure to do this NBA Game Previews for you, and I hope you like it. Maybe you don’t share my opinion about some games, but stats don’t lie!