Wed, Nov 8, 12:29pm by Staff Writer
The 2017/18 NBA season is already more than three weeks old, with recent playoff mainstays Cleveland, Chicago, Dallas, Atlanta and Oklahoma City all struggling early on.
This Thursday ESPN Australia has two blockbuster games scheduled. Arch rivals the Boston Celtics and Los Angeles Lakers do battle in Boston, followed by the surging Minnesota Timberwolves taking on the Golden State Warriors
Los Angeles Lakers at Boston Celtics
Thursday, 9 November 2017, 11.30am at TD Garden, Boston
After losing shooting guard Gordon Hayward to a gruesome leg injury on opening night, the Celtics have won eight of their past nine matches, including a miraculous 18-point come back against Oklahoma City on Saturday.
After a three-game road trip, the Celtics return home to take on the LA Lakers in their lone visit to Boston this season.
The Lakers (5-5) have been impressive so far this season. Their core of young players in Lonzo Ball, Jordan Clarkson, Julius Randle and Brandon Ingram have all played exceptionally well, with the Lakers’ three-point shooting a highlight.
For the Celtics, their defensive play has been their hallmark so far this season. In their last eight matches, the Celtics have held opponents to under 100 points per game.
Boston should be able to get the job done by double digits on Thursday morning against a young Lakers team on an east coast road trip.
It’s one thing to play well at home in the NBA, but producing on the road is an entirely different story.
Best bet: Boston Celtics Big Win Little Win 11+ ($2.11) at Sportsbet
Minnesota Timberwolves at Golden State Warriors
Thursday, 9 November 2017, 2.30pm at Oracle Arena, Oakland
It is no surprise that with a dynamic duo of Andrew Wiggins and Karl Anthony-Towns that the Minnesota Timberwolves were earmarked to make the 2017/18 playoffs.
Add to that Jimmy Butler and Jeff Teague during the offseason, and the Wolves have become a true contender for a top four position in the Western Conference.
At 7-3, the Wolves have won their past five games, with a trip to Oakland their most difficult match of the season so far.
The Warriors have suffered two home losses so far this season, but their record of 7-3 is a little deceiving.
Golden States have had to fight in a couple of their wins, particularly against the Raptors, Wizards and Pelicans.
Testament to their star power and ability to close out games, they have won the close matches with clutch shots when it matters.
The Wolves will need to get Karl Anthony-Towns a higher volume of shots, as he appears to be third in the pecking order when it comes to the offensive schemes in Minnesota. Coach Tom Thibodeau appears to want to share the basketball and ensure all of his players are offensive threats.
Towns will be a difficult match up for Zaza Pachulia and David West, so if the Wolves are to have any hope, they should look to Towns in the post more often than not.
The Wolves and Warriors played two pre season games in China which they split at a win a piece.
When it matters though, Golden State have their raucous home crowd to cheer them on.
This match should be close down to the wire, with Jimmy Butler perhaps being called upon to land a clutch shot or two.
The Warriors will rise to the occasion against the newest threat in the Western Conference and should win this match by a margin of 1-10 points.
Best bet- Golden State Warriors Big Win Little Win 1-10 ($2.87) at Sportsbet
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