Weekly NBA Preview
Despite the fact we have reached the week of Christmas, the NBA continues to heat up over the coming seven days and will see a number of teams of similar form and conference positioning meet in crucial ties.
The week’s NBA fixtures are undoubtedly highlighted by a rematch between last season’s finalists the Golden State Warriors at Cleveland Cavaliers on Saturday morning Australian time.
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Indiana Pacers vs San Antonio Spurs
Similarly-formed rivals the Indiana Pacers and San Antonio Spurs meet in Texas on Tuesday morning. The Pacers have returned to the NBA in great condition this season and sit just off the mark of the Eastern Conference-leading Cavaliers with a strong 16-10 record. If not for the incredible feats posted by the Golden State Warriors this season, the Spurs would be sitting commanding leaders in the west with their current 23-5 record and appear on track as a serious title threat once more this year. The Western Conference appears the strong division this season and at home, the Spurs should take this game.
LA Clippers vs Oklahoma City Thunder
One of the week’s standout games will be played when the Oklahoma City Thunder travel to LA to face the Clippers on Tuesday morning. Both teams have returned to competition in great form this season and both appear well on their way towards finals berths as a result. Kevin Durant is in the right form to challenge clear favourite Steph Curry for the league MVP but will have to lead from the front in games like this one if he is any chance of achieving that feat. The Thunder are sure to be tested by their key Eastern Conference rivals but will probably sneak through this game on class alone.
Utah Jazz vs Golden State Warriors
Dante Exum’s Utah Jazz are charged with overcoming the incredible Golden State Warriors away from home on Thursday afternoon Australian time. The Jazz have certainly not been awful on their way to eighth overall in the East but remain caught with a losing 11-14 record undoubtedly attributed to inconsistency. The Warriors atoned for their first loss of the season with a comfortable win over the Bucks on Saturday and undoubtedly remain the league’s benchmark. Realistically at home, the Warriors will be far too good for the building Jazz.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs Golden State Warriors
The NBA will undoubtedly reach a peak on Saturday morning when last year’s finalists and current conference leaders the Cleveland Cavaliers and Golden State Warriors meet at the home of the latter. Both teams have returned in typically blistering form this season and could very well find themselves in the NBA deciding series once more come the end of the season. LeBron James is undoubtedly the key to the Cavs success and will be eager to lead his side to a win over the competition favourites, particularly away from home. If there is a franchise who could deliver the Warriors their second defeat of the season it is Cleveland, but it is simply impossible to tip against the reigning champions in current form.
Toronto Raptors vs Milwaukee Bucks
The Toronto Raptors are shaping as a legitimate dark horse challenger for the NBA title this season but face a tough task in the Bucks away on Sunday morning. The Bucks remain only two spots off the bottom of the Eastern Conference so far but have made a habit of knocking off the league’s best when nothing is expected of them; most notably when they became the first franchise to beat Golden State this season. Toronto deserve to start this game as favourites but they will have to control the ball from the outset if they are to win.