Fri, Jan 20, 10:06am by Staff Writer
What a week for the Dubs! After smoking the Cavs and Thunder, the Warriors turn their attention to the Rockets. In the East the Cavs make a welcome return home to take on the Spurs. The Champions will be looking to make it a Texas double after disposing of the Suns. We have run the numbers to give you the best bets on the weekend games, live on ESPN.
Warriors @ Rockets
Toyota Centre, Houston – Saturday January 21, 12.00pm AEDT
TV: Live on ESPN
How do you make Russell Westbrook look second rate? If you are Kevin Durant, you post a season high 40-points to throw some shade on Westbrook’s 21st triple-double of the season. The Warriors head to Houston confident in the knowledge they can dispose of another challenger in the Western Conference.
After watching the tape of the Thunder’s battle with the Warriors, James Harden and the Rockets know it will take more than a superman-like performance to topple the Warriors. Harden had a lazy 38 points and eight assists in the win against the Bucks earlier the week, but it was the Rockets’ defence that got them over the line. Houston had a season-high 12 blocks and restricted Milwaukee 39.8 percent shooting.
The Rockets will need to build on their efforts against the Bucks by finding some additional weapons at the offensive end of the court. The Rockets can’t simply rely on Harden for the answers. Eric Gordon has averaged a respectable 17.8 (PPG) this season and needs to step it up further.
The Rockets were able to put a dent in the Warriors armour earlier in the season with a 132-127 OT win in what was arguably the match of the season to date/
After taking care of business against the Thunder at home, the Warriors will be confident of containing the scoring threat of Harden. Expect the Warriors to rotate Draymond Green and Durant against Harden. Green had 12 points, 11 rebounds, 5 assists and 3 blocks against the Thunder earlier in the week, and is a crucial player for the Warriors.
The markets have the Warriors as $1.49 favourites, with the Rockets at $2.70. The line is 4,5 in the Rockets’ favour.
They are building to something special this season. They’re not just winning, but also becoming ruthless in their execution. Against the Thunder, Durant only needed 16 shots to hit a season-high 40 points. Can the Rockets find the winning edge against a side that has had the wood over them in the play-offs? I’m tipping the Warriors to shoot down the Rockets with a comfortable win.
Spurs @ Cavaliers
Quicken Loans Arena, Cleveland – Sunday January 22, 12.30pm AEDT
TV: Live on ESPN
They say they there is no place like home, and the Cavaliers will be happy to be back in front of their fans after a six-game road trip that included a loss to the Warriors. For the Cavs they may have to take on the Spurs with Kevin Love who remains questionable for the game with a back injury. They play the Suns on Friday, so Love is likely to be managed in one of these two games.
Overall, the Cavaliers will be happy with how they are travelling in the Eastern Conference sitting comfortably in first at 29-11. They won’t be looking over their shoulder anytime soon, but are more interested in managing LeBron James’ workload in preparation for the play-offs.
The Cavaliers need to focus on the regular season, and improve their defence. The concern for the Cavs is that they conceded more than 100 points in their seven straight games. There’s talk of the Cavs to make another trade to take the heat off LeBron, Kyrie Irving and Love.
The Spurs have lost some of their consistency over the last week with a shock loss to the Suns in Mexico, but bounced back with a 122-114 win against the Timberwolves. Kawhi Leonard is a MVP candidate hitting +30 points in his last four games. The last player to do that for the Spurs was Tim Duncan in the 2003-04 season. They host the Nuggets on Friday, so it’s worth keeping an eye on that result.
Leonard had a night out against the Timberwolves hitting 34 points to help get the Spurs over the line. His scoring potential will give the Cavaliers a few headaches to contend with.
The markets haven’t been released yet, they’ll come out Saturday after these two have played their games against the Suns and Nuggets respectively but home advantage should see the Cavaliers to have the edge with the Spurs starting as outsiders.
I’m predicting a tight contest. There’s plenty of interesting match-ups. LaMarcus Aldridge up against LeBron will go a long way to deciding the outcome of this one. I’m tipping the Cavs by a small margin. Check back Saturday to see the precise odds.
BEST BET: Cavs to win
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