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NBA Thursday Specials: Hornets and 76ers to salute

Tue, Nov 14, 1:16pm by Staff Writer

Two intriguing match-ups on ESPN Australia’s NBA Thursday this week with the Charlotte Hornets hosting the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Ben Simmons led Philadelphia 76ers visits Los Angeles to take on the Lakers.

Cleveland Cavaliers at Charlotte Hornets

Thursday, 16 November 2017 at 12pm AEDST

The Charlotte Hornets are on a four game losing streak after returning winless on their most recent road trip.

What was most disappointing for Charlotte was that they had double digit leads in the second half of their two most recent losses to the Knicks and the Celtics.

Charlotte returns home to take on a Cleveland slide who are searching for consistency this season.

Cleveland have posted impressive victories against Boston, Milwaukee and Washington, but have lost to Atlanta, Indiana and Brooklyn.

The loss of Derrick Rose at point guard means they have used guard Iman Shumpert in the role in recent games, with LeBron James also taking on a heavy ball-handling role.

This has left the Cavs vulnerable defensively  and they have conceded over 100 points in their last 11 games this season.

Charlotte should have the services of Nicolas Batum for the first time this season, although he is bound to be rusty after not playing at all during the pre-season.

The way Cleveland are playing it would not surprise if they lost this game in front of a parochial Charlotte crowd.

Best bet: Charlotte to win Big Win Little Win 1-10 points at Sportsbet

Philadelphia 76ers at Los Angeles Lakers

Thursday, 16 November 2017 at 2.30pm AEDST

The 76ers end their five-game West Coast road trip on Thursday afternoon when they visit the Los Angeles Lakers.

The 76ers have exceeded expectations this season, playing a dynamic brand of basketball led by their Australian point guard Ben Simmons and centre Joel Embiid.

After being a rebuilding project for much of the past four seasons, Philadelphia fans are beginning to see the makings of a top-4 contending team in the Eastern Conference.

After a win at Utah, the 76ers lost to the Kings near the buzzer and were easily beaten by Golden State.

They will want to defeat the Lakers in this match to ensure they return home with at least two wins, before six consecutive home games at the Wells Fargo Centre.

The Lakers have been surprising many this season. The past three seasons have been among some of the worst in franchise history, but the arrival of Lonzo Ball and improved play from Brandon Ingram, Julius Randle and Jordan Clarkson has the Lakers playing much more consistent basketball, particularly at home.

Los Angeles has already notched up some impressive home wins this season against Memphis, Washington and Detroit.

They will be returning from a four-game road trip, so this could be a trap game for the Lakers, as teams often underperform in their first game back from a road trip.

Philadelphia have more weapons in this contest and I would expect them to exploit the Lakers in the paint.

Best bet: Philadelphia 76ers to cover any handicap <5 points or Philadelphia 76ers to win by 1-10 points.

*Sportsbet odds will be posted when they become available

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