Fri, Dec 30, 2:33pm by Staff Writer
Expect some New Year’s fireworks on the court this weekend when Aussie Andrew Bogut returns to Oracle Arena to take on his former team, the Warriors. The hardcourt action doesn’t stop with the Knicks heading out west to battle the impressive Houston Rockets. At www.australiangambling.lv we have shared our thoughts on the best bets for the start of 2017.
Mavericks @ Warriors
Oracle Arena, Oakland – Saturday 31 December, 2.30pm AEDT
TV: Live on ESPN
The season doesn’t get any easier for the Mavericks with a road trip to Oracle Arena. Aussie Andrew Bogut will give his former Warriors teammates a few headaches in the New Year’s Eve clash. Bogut is one the best centres in the league when he’s protecting the rim and averages 10.1 rebounds per game this season.
For the Mavericks, 2016 has been a season to forget. To put it into perspective the Mavericks last suffered a losing season when owner Mark Cuban took control 16 years ago. They sit anchored to the bottom of the Western Conference with a winning percentage of .281.
Despite their lowly position on the table, the Mavericks will bring a physical game to Oracle Arena, but they’ll need a balance at both ends of the court. Harrison Barnes is a potential All-Star in the making, but in terms of scoring options, 19-year veteran Dirk Nowitzki needs to step-up against the Warriors.
For the Warriors, expect the usual suspects, led by Kevin Durant to take advantage on the fast break against the Mavericks slow defence. Kevin Durant might be wearing the Superman cape this season, but Curry found his scoring form against the Raptors earlier in the week with 28 points.
There’s talk of the Warriors to create a little more history this season, by having four players make the All-Star roster. Kevin Durant, Stephen Curry, Clay Thompson and Draymond Green will put on a show against the Mavericks.
There’s the potential for a few franchise records to be broken here for the Warriors. I’m tipping the Warriors to put on a clinic with a win against the Mavericks
Knicks @ Houston Rockets
Toyota Centre, Houston – Sunday 1 January, 12.00pm AEDT
TV: Live on ESPN
This is a crucial game for the Knicks if they are to stay in touch with the Cavs in the Eastern Conference. On paper the Knicks starting line-up should be causing the bigger teams more problems than they are at present. The game against the Rockets is a great opportunity for the Knicks to test themselves against one of the Western Conference leaders.
There will be opportunities for the Knicks in this game, and they’ll need to take them when presented. Derrick Rose and Kristaps Porzingis will need to find their shooting range against a tough Rockets defence.
Carmelo Anthony needs to stay on the floor and keep his temper in check. The Knicks rely heavily on their starters for their offence, and don’t have the bench depth to match the quality sides in the league.
The story for Houston this season has been James Harden at point-guard. Harden has the numbers to put him in MVP contention, leading the Rockets to wins against the Warriors, Spurs and Thunder in 2016.
The Rockets offence has been deadly this season with 113.8 (PPG) putting them behind only the Warriors. Harden had 34 points against the Mavericks at the end of 2016 and expect him to continue his hot hand in 2017.
The markets haven’t been released as yet, but we expect Rockets to start favourite in this matchup. We’ll update the odds when the market is posted.
Knicks General Manager Phil Jackson has preached that development is the priority over winning this season. This will be another lesson in development for the Knicks, the Rockets will start 2017 off with a good win.
BEST BET: Rockets to win. Odds will be posted shortly.
Odds provided by Sportsbet and were correct at the time of publishing*
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