While everyone is planning a New Year’s Eve, the NBA circus continues on its way. Six games will take place tonight, and every duel is better than the other. Your preferences will make you choose among those matches, but if you are unsure about which one to pick, check out my NBA Game Previews.
Memphis Grizzlies @ Boston Celtics
Unfortunately for the Grizzlies, their young star Ja Morant sprained his left ankle and will miss the next 3-5 weeks. This is surely a huge blow for Memphis, but they will certainly not give up until he returns, the playoffs aren’t waiting for anyone. Dillon Brooks and Jonas Valanciunas should step up and take care of the leading role while Morant is absent. Will it be enough to defeat the Boston Celtic at TD Garden – we will find out tonight. And even though this is a b2b game for Boston, Tatum, Brown, and co. will play without mercy, especially not at their beloved Garden. The winner is easy to guess, the home side, but if the hosts let the Grizzlies play their game, the outcome could be different.
Atlanta Hawks @ Brooklyn Nets
The Brooklyn Nets in the full roster (bar Spencer Dinwiddie) awaits the young squad from Atlanta. No rest for Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant tonight, which means an easy win. The only question about this encounter is how many points will the Nets let the visitors score? Those two teams are playing the run and gun type of basketball, but the difference is that KD is effective on both sides of the court, unlike Kyrie, who is not a very good defender. That means this game will be a fray of shooters, a three-point contest. Percents will decide the number of points because the winner is already decided.
Milwaukee Bucks @ Miami Heat
I continue my NBA Game Previews with another back to back game with the same teams taking part. Last night, the Bucks set an NBA record for three-pointers (29) in a 47-point rout. After this game, two things become clear, the Milwaukee Bucks are ring contenders and can play monstrous basketball when they are in a good mood. Also, Jimmy Butler is a crucial part of the Miami Heat roster because, without him, it is not the same squad that played the NBA finals last season. I would dare to say that tonight’s final result will be the same as last night – the Bucks win, but the margin won’t be that big. I hope that I am wrong, and Eric Spoelstra will find a way to win one of two home games against a direct rival in the Eastern Conference finals.
Charlotte Hornets @ Dallas Mavericks
After winning against title contenders and one of the strongest teams (Brooklyn), the Hornets come to the America Airlines Center for more. A “Scary” Terry showed that the Boston Celtics didn’t give him enough space, and Devonte Graham showed that Michael Jordan still has the sixth sense for young players. With the arrival of Gordon Hayward, who brought experience and guaranteed dozen of buckets on a nightly basis, Charlotte became a playoff contender after a couple of years.
The only thing that can be a problem for the Hornets tonight is their opponent, a young team from Dallas. Led by Luka Doncic, the best young player and maybe an MVP candidate, the reach of this team is limitless. I hope that they will meet the Lakers in the Conference finals, but before that, they have to deal with their tonight’s opponent. Won’t be an easy win for the home side, but the pure quality will decide. The odds, the quality, and I are on the Mavs’ side, but last time I was predicting that way, the Hornets beat the Nets.
Los Angeles Lakers @ San Antonio Spurs
A tilt between the best active player, maybe the best player of all time, and surely the best coach of all time. A collision of individual quality and precise tactics is fulfilled with a perfectly balanced team. It sounds great when you read it this way, but in real life, the situation is different. The Los Angeles Lakers were much better than the Spurs in the last couple of seasons. The fact that testify this statement is that the San Antonio Spurs haven’t made it to the playoff last season, for the first time in Gregg Popovich’s era, while LeBron and the Lakers have won the title.
It would be too ambitious if I say that this will be a comfortable victory for the visitors because Pop, DeRozan, and co. will bring up their voices and maybe make this game interesting for watching. I would recommend this game like tonight’s must-watch!
Portland Trail Blazers @ Los Angeles Clippers
Let’s conclude the NBA Game Previews with this Western Conference clash. We can call this Blazers team “The Headhunters”. The reason for this nickname is that they have won two of three games, but both victories were against title contenders (the Lakers and Rockets). Honestly, they have lost to a direct playoff rival, the Utah Jazz, but that was the first game of the season. Tonight, the Blazers arrive at Staples Center for another trophy, “the scalp” of the Los Angeles Clippers. The Clippers are indeed weakened by the absence of Kawhi Leonard (mouth laceration), but that doesn’t mean they will give up easily.
I assume that tonight, Paul George and Damian Lillard will be especially motivated to play against each other because they had beef on Twitter a few months ago. Pat Beverly also took part in that beef, but he isn’t a player who could cause some serious damage. The outcome is blurred, the odds are even, and the motivation is high on both sides. So if you have to choose what to do after watching Lakers @ Spurs, if I were you, I would pick to watch this game before anything else, but that’s only me.
This year ends soon, but the NBA season has just started. A holiday atmosphere mixed with a good drink and a good basketball game will surely make you feel good. Thank you for reading my NBA Game Previews, cheers.
Check out our NBA section and take a look at our winner prediction for each division.