Fri, Nov 24, 11:49am by Staff Writer
ESPN’s NBA weekend sees the Heat battle the Timberwolves, while Aussie Ben Simmons will be in action as the 76ers host the Magic in the Sunday game.
Miami Heat at Minnesota Timberwolves
Saturday, 25 November 2017, 12.00pm at Target Centre, Minneapolis
Fresh from ending the Celtics 16-game streak earlier in the week, the Heat travel to Minneapolis knowing they have to build on the momentum.
The performance against the Celtics will count for nothing as the Heat hit the road, sitting at .471 in the Eastern Conference.
Minneapolis is the first stop on a tough four-game road-trip for the Heat and they will be wanting to prove the Celtics win wasn’t a fluke.
The Target Centre isn’t a graveyard for the Heat, who have won eight of their last nine games against the Timberwolves.
The Timberwolves have been skating on thin ice this season. Currently leading the Northwest Standings (11-7), the T-Wolves have been struggling to close out games.
The recruitment of Jamal Crawford, Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Jimmy Butler was meant to fix the side’s fourth quarter blues. The Timberwolves are ranked last in the league for fourth quarter scoring.
Timberwolves coach Tom Thibodeau, has done enough to paper over the cracks. In the win against the Magic earlier in the week, the T-Wolves outscored the Magic 41-18 in the third quarter.
Jimmy Butler had a season high 26-points against the Magic. The likes of Jeff Teague, Taj Gibson and Andrew Wiggins all had 20+ point games as well. If the Timberwolves starters can fire early, then the Heat could be in for a long night.
The Heat’s Goran Dragic and Dion Walters will both create some problems for the Timberwolves. The duo combined for 53 points in the win against the Celtics.
The Wolves are one of the better teams in the league and if they can find their fourth-quarter mojo, they have the potential to shake things up come play-off time.
The Timberwolves should do enough for the win by 1-10 points.
Best Bet: Timberwolves to cover the handicap at Sportsbet
Orlando Magic at Philadelphia 76ers
Sunday, 26 November 2017, 11.00am at Wells Fargo Centre, Philadelphia
Ben Simmons has a lot in common with a young Superman, he is still coming terms with his powers in the league.
Philly coach Brett Brown’s trust in the ‘process’ has come to fruition, in the form of Simmons and Joel Embiid.
Fans in Philly are starting to believe, the dynamic duo can take them to the playoffs.
The 76ers were impressive during the week accounting for the Trailblazers (101-81). Simmons notched up another big game with 16 points, 9 assists and 8 rebounds. In averaging 18.5 (PPG) this season, Simmons has been mentioned in the same breath as LeBron and Magic Johnson.
His partner in crime, Joel Embiid tore up the Trailblazers with a game high of 28 points. The 76ers will want to keep their foot on the gas and close the gap on New York in the Eastern Conference standings.
The Magic are in a tough spot (8-10) at the foot of the Eastern Conference. Things don’t get any easier with a four-game stretch on the road that also included a visit to Boston, Minnesota and Indiana.
Magic fans must be missing the glory years of Shaq and Penny Hardaway right now. After a promising 6-2 start to the season, the Magic have struggled with injuries to key players.
Anything is possible for the Magic against the 76ers, it will start with a little self-belief. If the Magic can show some hustle on defence, then they have the potential to hurt 76ers.
The 76ers will be looking to put together a back to back wins and will take advantage of an opposition low on confidence.
Expect the 76ers to put on a show against the Magic. Embiid will look to dominate in the paint. Take the 76ers for a strong win.
Best bet: 76ers to win at Sportsbet
*Sportsbet odds will be posted when they become available
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