Fri, Dec 29, 9:52am by Staff Writer
The NBA action continues over the New Year weekend, with the Rockets and Warriors looking to cement their places at the summit of the Western Conference.
The Warriors have coasted past the Cavs and Jazz this week without Steph Curry. The blockbuster match-ups continue with the Rockets sparring with the Wizards and the Warriors trading blows with Grizzlies. All the action is live on ESPN.
Houston Rockets at Washington Wizards
Saturday, 30 December 2017, 11.00am at Capital One Arena, Washington
The Rockets have emerged as a genuine threat to the Warriors dominance in the Western Conference this season. After a streak of 14 wins, the Rockets have struggled dropping a clutch of games during the holidays. Consecutive losses to the Lakers, Clippers and Thunder represent their worst slump of the season.
Injuries haven’t made life easy. Chris Paul is expected to return against the Wizards, but Clint Capela will be missing in action with injury. The Rockets have tools to turn around the January period but need to get their rotation back to full fitness.
Getting Chris Paul back on the court will take the pressure of James Harden.
James Harden had consecutive 50+ point games in losses to the Lakers and the Clippers. Rockets coach Mike D’Antoni needs to find a way to take the pressure of Harden.
Bench players Trevor Ariza and Ryan Anderson will be expected to become more involved on offence. Getting CP3 back is vital for the Rockets. Paul has dominated coming off the bench this season.
After a win against the Celtics, the Wizards were outclassed by the Hawks. Brad Beal had 20 points, and John Wall backed up with 11 assists. The Wizards have also found another gear against the bigger teams. Expect them to bounce back against the Rockets.
With or without Chris Paul, Harden continues to post some huge numbers. The Beard is currently averaging a career high 32.4 (PPG).
The Rockets are leading the league in scoring with 115.1 (PPG). With CP3 back look for the Rockets bench to step-up against an inconsistent Wizards line-up. Take the Rockets for the close win.
Best Bet: Rockets to win by 1-10 points
Memphis Grizzlies at Golden State Warriors
Sunday, 31 December 2017, 12.30pm at Oracle Arena, Oakland.
The Warriors bounced back from their surprise loss to the Nuggets with a crushing win against the Cavs. Off the back of Kevin Durant, the Warriors have notched up 13 wins out of their last 14 match-ups.
Durant has stepped up in place of Steph Curry. Since Curry’s injury Durant has averaged 29 (PPG) over the last ten games. Without Curry, the Warriors are still breaking scoring records.
The Warriors could potentially be back to full strength with Curry a realistic prospect of getting some court time against the Grizzlies.
The Grizzlies have upset both the Lakers and Clippers in recent weeks, but have struggled to put together consecutive wins. The Grizzlies will look for Tyreke Evans to back up his 32 points against the Lakers. Evans who has a history of knew injuries is finally finding some regular court time.
The Grizzlies simply don’t have the weapons to trouble the Warriors. Steph Curry’s return spells trouble for the Grizzlies. The Grizzlies (4-12) have struggled on the road, while the Warriors are strong at home (14-4).
Expect Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson and Steph Curry to use this game to warm-up for the road trip to Houston.
Take the Warriors to cover the handicap by 10+ points.
Best bet: Warriors to win by 10+
*Sportsbet odds will be posted when they become available
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