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NBA Weekend Specials: Celtics and Cavs to flex muscles

Fri, Feb 3, 2:15pm by Staff Writer

This weekend it’s all about keeping the traditions alive on the court. The Los Angeles Lakers are on the road and head to Boston to do battle with the Celtics. In the Big Apple, the Cleveland Cavaliers will be looking to take a bite out of the New York Knicks’ season. Two minute noodles won’t be on the menu this weekend, at we will keep you in the know with the best bets for the weekend hardcourt action.

Lakers @ Celtics

Oracle Arena, Oakland – Saturday February 4, 12.00pm AEDT

TV: Live on ESPN

The Lakers are finally coming to terms with being the number two side in Los Angeles, even if their fans haven’t yet. Coach Luke Walton has been preaching a rebuilding phase all season, but the glamour team from LA still have the potential to punch above their weight, as the Nuggets found out earlier in the week.

In Wednesday’s win over the Nuggets, Lakers fans got a glimpse of what the future holds for the franchise. The night belonged to D’Angelo Russell who had 10 assists and 22 points. He was well supported by Ivica Zubac who contributed 17 points. But the very next day, they were outclassed by the Wizards 116-108, with 35 of their points coming from the bench pairing of Jordan Williams and Louis Williams.

The Lakers’ form on the road has been shaky at best, having lost 11 consecutive away

Celtics guard Isaiah Thomas was named the Eastern Conference’s Player of the Month for January. He became the first Celtics player to win the award since 2012., helping them lead the Atlantic Standings on the back of a five-game winning streak.

Thomas was in sensational form hitting 44 points as he rallied the Celtics past the Raptors last time out. The Celtics could be without Avery Bradley for the game against the Lakers, who has been battling injury. Bradley sat out the game against the Raptors earlier in the week.

The Celtics start this game as $1.11 favourites with Sportsbet, with the Lakers at $7.20.

Expect the Celtics to shape the Eastern Conference with a big win here despite the Lakers being boosted by the news that Magic Johnson is back in the fold as an advisor. The line here is 11.5 points in the Lakers favour, but they will struggle to stay within that margin

BEST BET: Celtics to beat the (-11.5) line – $1.94

Cavaliers @ Knicks

Oracle Arena, Oakland – Sunday February 5, 12.30pm AEDT

TV: Live on ESPN

This match-up is intriguing as much of all that is going on off the court at the moment. First of all, there is a battle of two of the NBA’s biggest personalities with LeBron James and Knicks GM Phil Jackson not on speaking terms. Then there is the constant talk about a trade which would see Kevin Love join the Knicks and Carmelo Anthony switch to the Cavs.

Anthony would love the chance to build a relationship with LeBron, and of course take home a ring. Love, meanwhile., is doubtful for this match with a back injury.

On court, the Knicks are without Derrick Rose, and sit 1.5 games out of 8th place in the Eastern Conference. They are still an outside chance of featuring in the playoffs, but are more likely to feature heavily in the 2017 Draft.

Earlier in the week the Knicks snapped a three-game losing streak with a close win over the Nets (95-90). Kristaps Prozingis, came up big with 19 points and 12 rebounds as Rose sat out with an ankle injury.

They will be hoping Prozingis continues his good form, and will need Anthony to find a way to the rim against James. Their two games against the Cavs this year have resulted in an average losing margin of 31.5 points.

The Cavaliers have been in a bit of a funk in the new year losing seven from their past 12 games. They were able to turn things around against the Timberwolves earlier this week, with Kyrie Irving dishing out a career-high 14 assists.

Cleveland are heavy favourites at $1.34 while the Knicks are at the juicy odds of $3.42.

The last time these two sides met at Madison Square Garden it was a big win to the Champions 126-94. They are now eight games unbeaten against them since October 2014.

James will be motivated to make a statement, and get the Cavaliers back to their winning ways. Expect the Cavs to drop the mic on the Knicks season with a big win. Boom!

BEST BET: Cavaliers to win and beat the line. (-7.5): $1.95

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