Wed, Jan 18, 3:30pm by Staff Writer
The hardcourt action heads out west with the Thunder set to do battle with the Warriors, and the Clippers taking on the Timberwolves. Russell Westbrook will be looking to add another triple-double to his already impressive season, while the Clippers will be looking to do a number on the Timberwolves. At www.australiangambling.lv we have run our eye over the best bets for the midweek games live on ESPN.
Thunder @ Warriors
Oracle Arena, Oakland – Thursday January 20, 2.00pm AEDT
TV: Live on ESPN
With the comprehensive win against the Cavaliers, the Warriors have found some redemption. Fans will have to hit the reset button on the rivalry until playoff time, but for Warriors fans right now there is no better feeling in the world than beating the Champs. There’s no time to relax for the Dubs, with Russell Westbrook coming to Oakland with the Thunder to crash the party.
Kiwi centre Steven Adams will have to sit out Wednesday’s game against the Western Conference leaders in accordance with the league’s concussion protocol. After going down to the Clippers (120-98) in LA, the Thunder had no answers for the lifeless display. Westbrook had 24 points and missed out on a triple-double. With the Warriors looming, Westbrook had a few words to say about the 22-point loss. “We just weren’t ready to play, plain and simple.”
That seems to be the case too many times this season without Kevin Durant, who’ll suit up for the opposition.
The game against the Warriors serves as a massive test of endurance for the Thunder’s credentials in the Western Conference. OKC will need Westbrook to notch his 21st triple-double for them to have a shot against the Warriors. With Adams sidelined, the Thunder need a Plan-B to combat the threat of Durant.
In Monday’s rout against the Cavaliers (126-91), Durant had 21 points and 5 assists. The Thunder need to develop a bench rotation that can protect the rim with Adams on the sidelines. Steph Curry was happy playing a supporting a role with 20 points and Klay Thompson lead the line with 26 points.
Most pundits have tipped the Warriors to take the championship from the Cavaliers, and it’s easy to see why. Durant has been the difference this season, and expect him to be on-song against the Thunder. I’m tipping the Warriors for the win.
BEST BET: Warriors to win by 11 or more – $1.64
Timberwolves @ Clippers
Staples Centre, Lost Angeles – Friday 20 January, 2.30pm AEDT
TV: Live on ESPN
The Clippers have found a way to win without Blake Griffin and will now have to do the same without Chris Paul, who could miss up to eight weeks with a thumb injury.
Earlier in the season the Clippers went 3-9, without the injured duo and coach Doc Rivers is going to have find some depth from his bench to carry the workload against the Timberwolves
On the positive side, the home side go into this match on a eight-match winning streak, having not lost yet in 2017.
Up until Paul’s injury there was a lot to like about the Clippers’ win against the Thunder. Marreese Speights hit 23 points, and DeAndre Jordon dominated the paint with 15 rebounds.
But the Timberwolves haven’t been a pushover of late and on Wednesday (AEDT) led the Spurs on the road before being overpowered late. Karl-Anthony Towns had 27 points and 16 rebounds in that match.
That followed a bad loss away to the Mavs, but before that they recorded surprise wins over the Rockets and the Thunder
The Timberwolves will look to Andrew Wiggins, who had just 10 points and three boards against the Spurs, and Towns to combat the threat of Jordan. Wiggins is averaging 21.9 PPG this season.
The Clippers start $1.76 favourites and little wonder. They have the longest streak going in the NBA at the moment and are 17-6 at home this season. The T-Wolves are $2.11.
The Clippers will come out of the blocks with a hard and fast game at both ends of the court and it’s hard to see the Timberwolves, on the third match of a road trip, matching it with them. I’m tipping the Clippers to keep their streak going with an easy win.
BEST BET: Clippers to beat the line (-2) – $1.95
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