The last few days we had seven or more games every day, and now five matches will take place tonight. This doesn’t mean that this night won’t be interesting. What you should expect from tonight’s contests – you can find out in my NBA Game Previews.
Utah Jazz @ Brooklyn Nets
The first game of the night and the first one you should watch. The inter-conference derby with an absence of Kevin Durant, who is in COVID protocol because some of his family members were corona-positive. With Durant missing, the odds are different for tonight. Regardless of a slow start and negative 3-4 record, the Nets, when fully rostered, should be favorites in this clash, but now, everything is possible. With two consecutive wins over the Spurs and Clippers, Utah is in a very good mood. The home team does not shine in the defensive aspect of the game (113.4 PPG), so this is expected to be a game with a lot of points. Kyrie will push through his limits, that’s clear, but without the help of his teammates, especially Caris LeVert, I doubt that it will be enough for victory.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Memphis Grizzlies
This is a replay of the first round of the last year’s playoffs. There were some roster changes ever since, but the winner should be the same. The Lakers are in the top 10 teams in both categories (4th offensive and 7th defensive team) and the Grizzlies allow 115.5 PPG (32.2 in 2nd quarter), so it’s obvious that the Lakers will finish this easily, maybe in the first half already. The difference should be at least 10 points because the Grizzlies are without their main man – Ja Morant. How many points will Memphis score tonight depends on their percentage from the perimeter, but the Lakers will go above 120 for sure. The total amount will be at least 215 points combined.
Minnesota Timberwolves @ Denver Nuggets
The Northwest Division duel in which the Nuggets are true favorites, and another chance for them to book an easy victory. The Timberwolves are the worst team in the NBA when we talk about defense, and the only position they can guard well is small forward. However, that is not important for Denver because they got most of their points from the center and point guard positions. I do not doubt Nikola Jokic and his performance as he is on a hot streak and will continue it tonight, so if his teammates give just a little effort to catch up with him, this is going to be a blowout.
There is a minor obstacle, and its name is Malik Beasley. Playing against the old team is always a good motive, especially in his situation because the Nuggets didn’t give him enough opportunities. Monte Morris and Jamal Murray were simply too good. So, tonight I expect him to show Denver that they made a mistake in letting him go, and if he hits his portion of shots, the number of points in this game will go incredibly high.
San Antonio Spurs @ Los Angeles Clippers
The Staples Center and the Clippers await the Spurs tonight. This sentence used to mean a very intensive and exciting duel in the past, but now, other rules are on. The Spurs are faceless, and that’s not a problem that came up this season, it started a while ago. Maybe it’s time for Gregg Popovich to quit and leave the place to someone younger. Almost every team went through a rebuilding process in the past 20 years (if not every) except San Antonio. They have good players now, but not all of them can fit in the mold.
This shouldn’t be a difficult setback for Kawhi, George, and co. because there is no new or improved aspect of the Spurs’ game plan for a while now. The visitors will try to slow them down and hope that Serge Ibaka and Lou Williams will miss their shots because there is no other way for the Spurs to win. A large number of points is not expected tonight, but the margin can be high anyway.
Chicago Bulls @ Portland Trail Blazers
The final game in my NBA Game Previews is also the last game of the night. The Trail Blazers will host the Bulls at Moda Center. Even though the Bulls, led by amazing Zach Lavine, caused some upsets early in the season, I think there is no place for a surprise tonight. With Dame Lillard on fire and motivated CJ McCollum, no team in the league could outscore Portland. Their only weak side is, ironically, their strong man Jusuf Nurkic. The Bosnian Beast returned from a lengthy injury, and he was expected to play in the same rhythm he was before the injury, but he is fading. Luckily for the Blazers, Enes Kanter is playing well at the season start (12.5 PPG 9.2 RPG) and Jusuf’s bad mood became meaningless.
Meanwhile, the Bulls are constantly scoring lots of points, but it’s pointless because they allow more than they score. Two of their three victories came against the Wizards, which are the only team in the East that has a worse defensive record than the Bulls. Who the winner will be, is clear if you look at the odds and I agree with it. The only question is will the Blazers bother to try stopping Chicago or they will just outscore them? Tonight we will find out the answer.
Thanks for reading my NBA Game Previews and stay tuned for more.