NBA Game Previews for January 1st

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We won’t remember 2020 for long because it wasn’t a good and perspective year at all. The only good thing that happened is that I’ve started my NBA Game Previews, and we shouldn’t change good things. Let’s continue in the same rhythm.

Memphis Grizzlies @ Charlotte Hornets

For the first game of my NBA Game Previews, I choose a tilt where an outcome is hard to predict. Handicapped with an absence of Ja Morant (left ankle), the Grizzlies depend on the mood of Dillon Brooks and Jonas Valanciunas. To be honest, they have been very constant so far, averaging 15.5 PPG and 12.5 RPG (Valanciunas) and 18.8 PPG, and two three-pointers per contest (Brooks). Tonight’s home team, in full strength, is playing inconsistently this season. After losing two opening games to average teams(the Thunder & Cavs), they’ve won two in a row against title contenders and playoff participants (the Nets & Mavs). Even the number of points or the margin can’t be predicted because everything depends on what mood both squads will enter the Spectrum Center.

Boston Celtics @ Detroit Pistons

The Motor City will be a place where teams come to win for sure, a place for training the second unit. The Pistons have entered a rebuilding process, but their roster has some interesting players who can make some buckets – Jerami Grant and Josh Jackson. This duo can easily score 30-40 points combined, but that’s not enough. Speaking about the Boston Celtics is a waste of words. Their plays speak for themselves. Just to mention, Jaylen Brown has scored a career-high 42 points within less than 30 minutes in the last appearance, so it is clear how powerful this team is. The winner is easy to guess, while the margin is questionable.

Miami Heat @ Dallas Mavericks

A Derby of the East/West, a duel between the two most potent squads of both conferences. The Heat nearly fulfilled their potential last season and we are still waiting for the Mavs to show their real worth. Jimmy Butler (ankle stiffness) is probable for tonight, while Kristaps Porzingis is still injured. In the first place, this will be a skirmish of two young point guards, Tyler Herro and Luka Doncic. Both of them have shown us what are they capable of, so I expect a real show tonight. The odds are on the visitors’ side, and honestly, I am also the Heat fan, but no one can guarantee their victory. If they manage to win, the difference won’t be big, just a possession or two. Enjoy watching this game!

Atlanta Hawks @ Brooklyn Nets

A back to back game of these teams but with a day of rest in-between. Last time there were 286 points (!!!), so I expect to be at least 250 this time around. Rajon Rondo is listed as out for the Hawks, and Trae Young is probable but slightly injured (calf soreness). On the home side, everything will stay the same as in the previous encounter, even their offensive spirit, I suppose. The margin was four points for the Nets, but I expect that this time it will be a bigger point-difference, maybe a dozen. 

Chicago Bulls @ Milwaukee Bucks

The Central Division clash. A b2b game for the Bulls and they are in a very good mood because of two consecutive wins on a trip to the country’s capital. They came to the Fiserv Forum to play their game, but they are not expected to win. The Bucks and reigning MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo are real favorites in this game, according to the odds. The NBA analysts and I also think that they will win at home.

After setting the team record in three-pointers made in a single game (29), the Bucks have lost the next tilt with Miami. This is an opportunity to improve the record and make it positive because they are 2-3 at the moment. They were 1st defensive squad in the league last year, so I don’t expect the visitors to score a huge amount of points, but let’s watch the game and see if I’m right.

Washington Wizards @ Minnesota Timberwolves

To continue my first NBA Game Previews of 2021, I pick another back to back game. The Wizards are undoubtedly the worst team in the league right now. Zero wins in five games speak a lot. To make things even worse for Washington, Russell Westbrook will miss tonight’s tilt. On the other hand, the home team has recorded some unexpected wins, but they are crippled by the absence of the first star of the team, an All-Star center Karl-Anthony Towns. So, in some way, this will be an encounter of two written-off sides.

One thing is clear, both teams don’t know how to play defense, so the number of points will be high if they manage to make the third of their attempts. Averaging 104.7 PPG this season for the home team and 115.4 PPG for visitors, it is a fact that confirms my expectations. The winner can’t be predicted easily, but I give some advantage to the hosts for tonight.

San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Lakers

The last collision of these two rivals took place on LeBron’s birthday, December 30th, and the winners were King James and his crew. That duel was historical for the NBA because Becky Hammon became the first woman ever to lead an NBA team. This time, both organizations are motivated to open the year with a victory and that guarantees us a very interesting contest. The absence of the Spurs’ big man LaMarcus Aldridge was an obstacle the last time, but he should play in this one. That increases chances for San Antonio, but I still believe that this will be an easy victory for James, Davis, and co.

Phoenix Suns @ Denver Nuggets

Tonight’s visitors are on tour to a near state of Colorado after winning a tough duel at home last night. With four wins in five games, they show us that they haven’t had the best record in the bubble thanks to luck, and they don’t want to stop now. In the Ball Arena, the home team awaits the Suns. With magnificent Nikola Jokic in the leading role, they play awesome but failing to win basketball games. Where the problem lies no one knows for sure. For tonight, the only clear thing is a huge amount of points. The chances are on the Suns’ side, but I don’t expect an easy victory for them. Even a tie in regulation won’t surprise me at all.

Los Angeles Clippers @ Utah Jazz

The Clippers have come to Salt Lake City expecting an easy win. I agree with their expectations because the Utah Jazz doesn’t look like the team from the last season even though their roster is mostly unchanged. Rudy Gobert, who recently signed a new contract, is on the same level as the last year, but he is the only one. Bojan Bogdanovic and Donovan Mitchell are very quiet thus far. The reason for their pale displays is still unknown. If they don’t find a way to play like last season or even better, they have no chances to enter the playoffs in this campaign.

Portland Trail Blazers @ Golden State Warriors

I am closing my NBA Game Previews, with this Western Conference encounter. Throughout the last season, there were some rumors about how Damian Lillard has better percentages in hitting three-pointers from the near midcourt than Steph Curry. So, for tonight, I expect a real shooting showdown of the two. Last time, against the Clippers, Lillard was very quiet with 3/14 (21.4%) from beyond the arc, and maybe he just prepared himself for tonight. This will be a comfortable victory for the Blazers with a bunch of points on both sides. Of course, I don’t expect to see 300 points, that’s almost impossible.

Ten games will take place tonight, and my NBA Game Previews include the same number. I hope I helped you to choose players for your fantasy teams, or just to pick the most exciting game to watch. Thanks for reading!

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