Wed, Dec 28, 10:56am by Staff Writer
With the countdown on to 2017, Aussie NBA fans won’t be missing out on the hardcourt action. The Cavs will look to send out another message to the Eastern Conference with a win against the Celtics. Aussie fans will be hoping Andrew Bogut will be able to get some court time against the Lakers. Here are the best bets for the mid-week games live on ESPN.
Celtics @ Cavs
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland- Friday 30 December, 12.00pm AEDT
TV: Live on ESPN
The Cavs will be looking to get LeBron James back on the court after the shock loss to the Pistons earlier in the week. A week is a long time in the NBA, and after the high of winning against the Warriors, the Cavs were brought back to earth with a thud, with a loss to the Pistons.
The Cavs’ record without James in 4-18 in LeBron’s second stint with Cleveland. With a winning percentage of .182, that puts them below the 76ers in terms of overall win-loss.
James’ return should also prove a boost for Kyrie Irving. The Aussie born Irving is having one his best seasons, after the game winner against the Warriors, Irving backed up with a solid 18 points in Detroit. While his numbers were solid expect to see Irving lift his game. With Kevin Love backing up with 21.7 (PPG), the Cavs should be performing at playoff time.
The Celtics are showing glimpses of their potential and a possible top three finish in the Eastern Conference. A win against the Knicks earlier in the week showed fans that the Celtics are finally starting to believe in themselves, while they backed that up with an easy ten-point win against the Grizzlies on Wednesday AEDT.
Isiah Thomas has been showing his class all season. He has scored 20 points in 16 straight games, and expect him to break Jimmy Butler’s record for the longest streak in the NBA. Al Horford is fit and has been averaging 15.7 (PPG) and Avery Bradley has found some form with 7.2 rebounds and 1.2 steals per game, while he had 23 against the Grizzlies.
The Celtics have the line-up to trouble the Cavs at home, but look for the Cavs to contain the scoring threat of Thomas. With James starting, the Cavs will be freshened up and will want to prove a point in front of their home crowd. I’m tipping the Cavs to come away with the win.
BEST BET: Cavs to win at $1.36
Dallas Mavericks @ Los Angeles Lakers
Staples Centre, Los Angeles- Friday December 30, 2.30pm AEDT
TV: Live on ESPN
The Mavericks have struggled for consistency all season and remain firmly anchored to the bottom of the Southwest Standings at 9-23. Aussie Andrew Bogut Is finally back on court. The championship winning centre missed more than 11 games with a bruised knee. With the side crippled by injuries, it’s no surprise that the Mavericks are already out of playoff contention.
This match is in the middle of a busy stretch for the Mavs, who were outplayed by Houston on Wednesday (AEDT), with Bogut playing 10 minutes, but not scoring. He did grab soix boards
They need to find a way to create some scoring opportunities. Harrison Barnes has been leading the scoring with 20.4 (PPG), but he needs more support at both ends of the court.
After the Boxing Day win against Clippers, Lakers fans were starting to build some expectations for Coach Walton’s young line-up but they then went and lost to the Jazz with DeAngelo Russell fluffing his chance to win the game on the buzzer.
They have some good scoring options but continue to be crippled by injuries to key players and rookie mistakes.
The Lakers are sitting near the bottom of the Pacific Standings with a 12-23 record, while making an impression on the league don’t expect to see the Lakers in the playoffs just yet.
Nick Young and Timofey Mozgov had 19 points apiece against the Clippers, but combined for just 13 against the Jazz with Julius randle carrying the load with 25 points.
This will be a close game but I’m expecting this young Lakers line-up to pull away in the second half and hang on for a close win. For Dallas fans the season from hell won’t be getting better anytime soon.
BEST BET: Lakers to win @$1.77
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