Tue, Feb 27, 2:29am by Staff Writer
Australian fans are in for a treat, as the King and the heir to the throne hold centre stage in two high calibre games. LeBron James and the Cavaliers will look to get some momentum back when the host the Nets, and Ben Simmons has a point to prove.
With 23 games left in the season there’s some enticing rumours floating around the league about LeBron’s next ‘decision’. James is on the market again and while LA remains an option, with or without the Big Ballers, another option has opened up. The 76ers have the cap space to make LeBron a max contract offer and put down the money for another marquee player on the market, possibly Paul George. Philly have one of the most exciting young line-ups in the league and if they make an impression in the playoffs they could come in for LeBron.
The Cavs have shown enough in their trade deadline reboot that they have enough sidekicks to help LeBron challenge for another title. The 76ers are on the rise, if they can keep winning they can avoid a first-round playoff clash with the Celtics.
Brooklyn Nets at Cleveland Cavaliers
Wednesday 28 February 2018, 10.00am at Quicken Loans Arena
The Cavs front office has showed some real hustle to find enough players on deadline day to give LeBron another shot at the trip to the finals. Until the loss to the Wizards the Cavs were putting together a nice little run. The Cavs have stumbled to 3-2 after having been chased down by the Spurs at home.
The loss against a Spurs side minus Kawhi Leonard shows that the Cavs 2.0 is still a work in progress. James still managed to post 33 points, 13 rebounds and nine assists. Despite the return the King was simply outplayed by the Spurs. It’s easy to point fingers at the new guys; but the Cavs have no Plan B without Kevin Love. Love is recovering from a broken hand and the Cavs need him back as much as they need James.
Speaking of numbers James is posting some amazing stats since the deadline day trade – 30+ PPG, 9.5 rebounds and 13 assists. Sure, James has found a new lease on life and a squad built to push him to another playoff appearance, but he needs help.
If the likes of JR Smith, George Hill and Tristan Thompson don’t hit their shots then the Cavs struggle on their bench rotation offence.
The Cavs are (35-24) and need a big win against the also-ran Nets. Brooklyn have dropped their last eight games and on paper this should be a milk run for the Cavs.
Cavs coach Tyrone Lue loves to ‘tinker’ with his line-up but now is the time to let his guys just play basketball.
Expect the Cavs to go out and take care of business against the Nets. LeBron James looks like the man to challenge James Harden for the MVP.
Best bet: Cleveland Cavaliers for the win at Sportsbet
Philadelphia 76ers at Miami Heat
Wednesday 28 February 2018, 10.30am at American Airlines Arena
We have Durant/Westbrook, Curry/LeBron and now could we add Simmons/Dragic to that list? Aussie Ben is a one-man wrecking ball since the All-Star Weekend. There’s nothing we can say against Dragic but he was lucky to get a jersey based on the stats. Dragic really isn’t in a position to be throwing shade at Aussie Ben considering his work rate.
Right now, for Ben Simmons he needs to focus on getting the 76ers to the playoffs. The 76ers had their seven-game streak halted by the Wizards. There’s no shame in it, but they have to get back to business against the Heat. Keep winning and the 76ers will have their own shot at some playoff history.
Philadelphia are now at 32-26 and sit half a game behind the Bucks. Philly have every reason to be confident as they are 2-0 against the Heat in the regular season, the last win coming two weeks ago as the 76ers got over the line 104-102.
Any line-up with Dwyane Wade in it is a respectable one. The Heat have dropped three out of the last five games and sit half a game behind Philly in eighth spot in the Eastern Conference.
The Heat have been down of late, but we could see Dragic and Wade go into beast mode against the likes of Joel Embiid and Simmons. This is will be a tight one but if Philly win this then they could dare to dream of their Jason Kelce moment.
The 76ers will bounce back for the win and close out the regular series with the Heat 3-0.
Best Bet: Philadelphia 76ers to win by 1-10 points at Sportsbet
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