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NBA Wednesday Specials: Raptors and Thunder our Picks  

Wed, Jan 10, 8:01am by Staff Writer

The January NBA action sees the Heat take on the Raptors in Toronto. The Raptors continue to push the Celtics and Cavaliers in the Eastern Conference.

The Oklahoma City Thunder are every chance of bouncing back with a win, as they clash with the Trailblazers. The Thunder’s big three of Russell Westbrook, Carmelo Anthony and Paul George will be looking to push the Thunder towards the playoffs.

Miami Heat at Toronto Raptors  

Wednesday, 10 January 2018, 10.30am at Air Canada Centre, Toronto

The Raptors continue to ride the DeMar DeRozan wave to the summit of the Eastern Conference. The Raptors (.737) are one of the form teams of the league, winning their last five games.

Winning hasn’t been easy though. The Raptors are sweating on the fitness of Kyle Lowry. Lowry, a key member of the Raptors backcourt, suffered a back injury against the Nets (114-113). Without Lowry, the Raptors will look to DeRozan to run their offence.

DeRozan won the Eastern Conference player of the week for the third time this season.  DeRozan hit 35 points in the overtime win against the Nets, after a Kobe Bryant like 52-points against the Bucks on January 1st.

The Heat face 11 of their next 14 games on the road, starting with the Raptors. The Heat have lifted outside of Florida this season (11-8). The last time the Heat ventured outside of Florida, they were able to upset the Celtics (90-89).

After winning their last four games, the Heat are every chance to upset Miami. They have a capable scoring threat in Goran Dragic, and their game is build on a solid defence.

In DeRozan, the Raptors have one of the game changers in the league.

While the Heat may be warriors on the road, the Raptors are 14-1 at home.

The Raptors will have enough in the tank to get across the line against the Heat for the win.

Best Bet: Raptors to win by 1-10 points at Sportsbet  

Portland Trailblazers at Oklahoma City Thunder

Wednesday, 10 January 2018, 11.00am at Chesapeake Energy Arena, Oklahoma.

The Thunder have shown us that the big three can play together throughout the season. The Thunder have won seven of their last ten games. The turnaround can be put down to Carmelo Anthony and Paul George taking a back seat to Russell Westbrook.

Westbrook has returned to the lofty heights of last season MVP dream run. Over the last eighteen games Westbrook has averaged 28-points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists. Westbrook recorded his 14th triple double of the season earlier this week against the Suns.

Despite the early season bumps in the road. the Thunder have one of the best offences in the league (118.6 PPG)

The Trailblazers are expected to be without Damian Lillard, who is struggling with a calf strain. Shabazz Napier (18 PPG) will take his place in the starting line-up.

Paul George will prove to be a tough match-up for the Trailblazers. George picked-up 19-points in the loss to the Suns.

The Trailblazers have won five of their last seven games, including a big win against the Spurs at home.

While Lillard is a big loss, the Trailblazers are 4-2 without him starting this season. Portland have looked comfortable without him this season.

The Thunder will be riding a wave of Russell Westbrook intensity at home. Look for a Westbrook triple-double to get the Thunder over the line for the win.

Best bet: Oklahoma City Thunder to win at Sportsbet

*Sportsbet odds will be posted when they become available

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