Tue, Jan 30, 8:24am by Staff Writer
The Wednesday slate of hardcourt action sees the Thunder take on the Wizards. Russell Westbrook and his All-Star cast will need to weave their own brand of magic to grab a win against the Wizards.
The Rockets host the Magic, with James Harden looking to regain his early season MVP form.
Oklahoma City Thunder at Washington Wizards
Wednesday, 31 January 2018, 11am at Capital One Arena
The Thunder were rocked by the news that shooting guard Andre Roberson may be out for the season. Roberson went down in the Thunder’s win over the Pistons (121-108).
Roberson will have season-ending knee surgery this week. While he doesn’t have the All-Star power of his teammates, Roberson’s value can’t be underestimated, he is one of the best permitter defenders in the league.
Roberson’s absence comes at a critical time for the Thunder with the big three finally starting to gel at both ends of the court. OKC have put together a streak that could give them the home-court advantage at finals time, and avoid an early playoff clash with the Warriors.
The Wizards (5th) have struggled to put together back-to-back wins.
All-Star guard John Wall is carrying a knee injury and is a day-to-day proposition.
The Wizards went down to the Thunder five days ago 121-112, and it will be difficult for them to reverse the result at home. They’ve lost four of the last six games.
The Wizards need their famed backcourt of Brad Beal and John Wall to have a night out. The team has struggled of late, shooting 30% from the floor in the last week.
The Thunder have been inconsistent on the road (13-11), but you get the feeling their All-Star trio have turned a corner. Paul George and Carmelo Anthony will give the Wizards a few headaches. Anthony became the 21st player to go past 25,000 points.
The last time these two sides met Bradley Beal (41 points) lost his shootout with Russell Westbrook (46 points). Expect Westbrook to make a statement with Roberson out and the All-Star game around the corner.
Take the Thunder for a tough win on the road.
Best bet: Thunder to win
Orlando Magic at Houston Rockets
Wednesday, 31 January 2018, 12pm at Toyota Centre
Despite the hiccups to the Clippers (113-102) and the Pelicans (115-113), the Rockets still have one of the best records in the league (39-10).
Houston take on a Magic side who have one eye on 2019 draft picks.
The Magic have been unable to put together any real consistency this season and are anchored to the bottom of league (14-34). This week Houston coach Mike D’Antoni was named as coach for Steph Curry’s All-Stars. The Houston mentor will be looking for a big win.
The Magic have been strong starters in recent weeks but have failed to kill teams off in the second half. Sloppy work on defence has let the opposition back into the contest. In the loss to the Pacers the Magic led by 21-points but fell away, missing crucial plays at the back end.
James Harden will be wanting to find some form before the All-Star weekend. The Beard is still finding his groove after a long injury layoff.
The Rockets lost to the Pelicans was the first time that Harden and Chris Paul had a loss together on court since CP3 joined in the off-season.
The last time these two side met the Rockets came out on top 116-98. Eric Gordon, Harden and CP3 will do some real damage. The Rockets brand of basketball has the Warriors looking over their shoulder. The Magic will struggle to keep pace.
The Rockets will run away with this match by double-digits, be sure to keep an eye on the Big Win Little Win market for the extra value.
Best Bet: Rockets to win by double digits
*Sportsbet odds will be posted when they become available
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