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NBA Thursday Specials: Spurs and Wizards to salute

Wed, Oct 25, 3:34pm by Staff Writer

The first week of the NBA gave fans a taste of what’s to come, with a host of close matches and unpredictable finishes.

ESPN Australia’s NBA double header on Thursday sees the San Antonio Spurs take on the Miami Heat and the Washington Wizards visit the Los Angeles Lakers

San Antonio Spurs @ Miami Heat

Thursday, 26 October, 2017 at 11am at American Airlines Centre, Miami

The San Antonio Spurs juggernaut continues to roll on. Despite injuries to stars Kawhi Leonard and Tony Parker, the Spurs are 2-0 and looking their usual selves so far this season.

With wins over the Timberwolves and Bulls in their opening two games, the Spurs will appreciate the step up in class and challenge of facing the Miami Heat on the road.

Miami have been without Hassan Whiteside for two games through injury, with his size and athleticism a point of difference which gives Miami a distinct advantage down low.

With the injury status of Leonard and Whiteside unknown for this fixture, it would be wise to side with the tried and proven San Antonio team.

Their consistency at both ends of the floor is to be commended and a testament to their excellent coaching. LaMarcus Aldridge will lead the way in scoring once again.

The well-oiled San Antonio machine will be too strong for the Heat this early in the season.

Best bet: San Antonio Spurs to win ($1.64) at Sportsbet

Washington Wizards @ Los Angeles Lakers

Thursday, 26 October 2017 at 1.30pm at Staples Centre, Los Angeles

Washington embark on an early five game West Coast road trip and take on the Lakers in the second game of their swing.

The Wizards are once again led by point guard John Wall and shooting guard Bradley Beal, who provide the bulk of the team’s offense.

Otto Porter has been tremendous so far this season, offering a third scoring option for the Wizards.

Washington’s bench remains their biggest question mark, due to its lack of depth.

The season-ending injury to the Celtics’ Gordon Hayward will buoy the Wizards, who will now be eyeing a top two seed in the Eastern Conference.

For the Los Angeles Lakers, this season is about continued development, particularly with the inclusion of number two draft pick Lonzo Ball.

Despite defeating the Phoenix Suns 132-130 last week, the Lakers have been patchy in all three of their games thus far.

Defence was not their calling card last season, as they gave up a league high in points per game.

Defensive lapses remains the Lakers’ Achilles heel, something which coach Luke Walton has yet to find a solution for.

The Wizards will have too much firepower and class for this Lakers team. Washington should win by double digits.

Best bet: Washington Wizards to win by over 6 points ($1.95) at Sportsbet

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