NBA Preview Thursday 4th March
Current Bank 114.66 units (+14.66 units)
Indiana Pacers v Cleveland Cavaliers
11:10 am AEST
Keeping this one pretty simple. The Indiana Pacers are a team we have targeted through the season as flat track bullies. When they find the lowly teams, they look like world beaters, but when they take on the proper teams in the league they constantly crumble. Here they find themselves in a get well game against the lowly but sometimes impressive Cavaliers team, and will be looking to steer the ship after 4 consecutive losses.
The Pacers are basically a bang on average team. They are slightly above league average on defence, and slightly below league average on offence. They sit 15 wins and 18 losses for the year, below expectation at this stage of the year but are still in the playoff picture because of how low the east is. In this spot they will be able to utilise Sabonis who should annihilate his likely matchup in Dean Wade, expect a big points showing from Sabonis here. Sexton is the Cavaliers main threat on offence and while he will more than likely have his way with Brogdon, Holiday should be able to provide defensive support as the Cavs don’t really have a trustworthy 2nd option behind him.
The Cavaliers have been on a nice tear of 4 consecutive wins in recent times after their well talked about 10 game losing streak. Defensively they hold up just okay but they are so reliant on Sexton to put up big points that when he doesn’t, they tend to get blown off the court. Offensively, they rank 3rd last in the league, only ahead of the OKC Thunder the Houston Rockets, the team who 2 of their last 4 wins have come against. The Pacers are a far better offence and defence than the Rockets, and even in Cleveland, the Cavs 4 win streak should come to a screeching halt here.
The market opened has the Pacers a -5.5 point favourite on the road, this has since come into 5 flat, albeit with the minus being shorter. This game is a kitchen sink job. Pacers have lost 4 in a row and desperately need this. Cleveland are on a 4 game win streak, but it’s a bit smoke and mirrors with two of them coming against Houston and the enigmatic Atlanta Hawks.
BACK: The Indiana Pacers -5 at $1.87 for 2 units.
Golden State Warriors v Portland Trail Blazers
2:10 pm AEST
A super interesting clash rounds out the Thursday slate of games with a matchup between two teams that are being carried by their star players right now.
The Golden State Warriors have surprised everyone with their season so far. Taking away a complete capitulation against the Lakers last game, overall they have been a lot more impressive than many thought with the injury to Thompson and cast of quite random players they have assembled. They are 4th overall in the league in defence which is baffling, but the stats don’t lie. Wiggins while poor on the offensive end has been a big time lockdown defender, and Draymond Green who has a roller coaster of emotions in every game he plays, has proved he can still play proper defence. The Warriors who for years were known as the most potent offence in the history of basketball, with a make shift team have moved to a defensive style of game to complement their players now. Where the Warriors do struggle is offensively. Steph Curry is amazing, but behind him is a cast of struggling shooters that if they get hot, can match with the best, but if they don’t, they fall away dramatically.
Portland are the antithesis of what the Warriors are. Offensively, led by Damian Lillard they have become the 7th best offence in the league. The team is certainly capable of putting up big scores as even away from Lillard, Carmello Anthony and Trent Jr have proven themselves very capable shooting the ball. Defensively is where this team struggles, third last in the league with some key cogs out has led them to leaking like a siv on defence, shown by the lowly Charlotte Hornets putting up 113 points on this team just two nights ago. This should be a fascinating match up, but I think the edge lies with the defensive minded team who will be looking to get back to winning ways after what can only be described as a pathetic performance against the Lakers on Monday night.
I have faith in Curry being able to keep up with Lillard, or even go with Trent Jr and Wiggins can also stick with the Portland star. Away from that match up James Wiseman with more minutes under the belt should matchup well on Kanter. Draymond Green looks set to guard either Covington or Melo, and Oubre Jr is a solid two way player who can put up points and be a solid option on defence.
The market here opened the match as a pick, but a wave of money has moved the Warriors into a slight favourite in Portland. Backing the defence of Golden State and the star in Curry to take over the high offence powered Blazers
BACK: The Golden State Warriors -1.5 at $1.90 for 2 units