Games on Thursday, March 9, 2017, from 11am AEDT.
ELEVEN of the best.
That’s what Thursday is serving up on the hard court as the NBA season ekes further and further toward a playoff crescendo.
The rejuvenated Chicago Bulls kick things off, visiting Orlando at 11am AEDT, before the Atlanta Hawks take on the Brooklyn Nets at 11.30am, tipping off at the same time as the Charlotte Hornets and Miami Heat.
The main course is at noon, with five games sharing the same tipoff time, headlined by bitter west rivals the Utah Jazz and Houston Rockets.
The New York Knicks face off against the Milwaukee Bucks, the Toronto Raptors cross the border to take on the New Orleans Pelicans, the Indiana Pacers host the Detroit Pistons and the Los Angeles Clippers escape the heat for a date with the Minnesota Timberwolves.
Immortal coach Gregg Popovic and his San Antonio Spurs welcome the Sacramento Kings to Texas at 12.30, with the 1pm game pitting two vastly improved teams in the Denver nuggets and Washington Wizards.
The Dubs are in the matinee game, and this is the one everyone wants to see.
Top of the west Golden State takes on the second in the east Boston Celtics, with the result vital to both teams’ hopes of holding onto and/or claiming top spot in their respective conferences.
With all that on the plate, we have sifted through and picked out our favourites for the day in the hope we can multi them up and turn them into something juicy.
Suggested multi for NBA Thursday matches:
Chicago Bulls to beat the Orlando Magic at $1.83
Miami Heat to beat the Charlotte Hornets at $1.56
Milwaukee Bucks to beat the New York Knicks at $1.47
Houston Rockets to beat the Utah Jazz at $1.38
Boston Celtics at the line +8.5 against the Golden State Warriors at $1.84
Boston Celtics at the line + against the Golden State Warriors
Game of the day by a long way. The ailing Golden State Warriors face their toughest assignment since superstar Kevin Durant went down with a serious knee injury when pocket rocket Isaiah Thomas and the Boston Celtics visit the Oracle. And they have struggled without their fallen star, dropping games to the Wizards and the Bulls. The Celtics were already a chance in the game, but without Durant, this is almost a fifty fifty game. The home court advantage probably tips the scales in the Warriors’ direction, but both teams have an achilles heel – rebounding. The Celtics get smashed on the boards almost every night, but somehow find a way to win games, while the Warriors become even more of a donut without Durant’s ability to crash the glass. The Dubs’ back court of Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson has not been able to hit the back side of a barn of late and that simply must change if they are to beat the Celtics, who have won three of their last four, including knocking off top of the east Cleveland, reducing the gap to just 2.5 games. The Warriors have their own problems at the top, with the San Antonio Spurs closing the margin between first and second to just two games, making the result in this one vital. We are tipping the Celtics to keep this one close, but the Warriors to just pip them at the end. Back the line to the outsider.
Chicago Bulls to beat the Orlando Magic
What do you do when you are the worst three point shooting team in the NBA? Go off and trade your best three point shooter, of course. The Bulls rejuvenated their season with four straight wins, before alternating wins and losses, but will be buoyed by the victory over the Warriors a couple of nights ago. The still can’t shoot the three and, after trading Doug McDermott, that only gets worse, but they are finding ways to win and should be able to beat the Magic, who are in full tank mode, having won just three of their past 10 clashes.
Miami Heat to beat the Charlotte Hornets
The hot hot Heat are still on the charge to claim a most unlikely playoff seed after closing the gap to the Detroit Pistons to just 1.5 games. The Hornets, too, would like to see themselves as a chance, but the reality is they probably don’t have the cattle to make up the there game difference, even if we are a long way out. Look for the in form duo of Hassan Whiteside and Goran Dragic to be too much for Kemba Walker and his band of men.
Milwaukee Bucks to beat the New York Knicks
Welcome back, Khris Middleton. Nine games into his return from a serious hamstring injury, Middleton is proving to be the glue that the Milwaukee Bucks have so desperately needed this season. A difference maker at both ends of the floor, Middleton has scored 21, 19 and 24 points in his past three games, softening the blow of losing young star Jabari Parker to a season ending knee injury. The Knicks suck and that’s about all you need to know and, with Giannis Antetokounmpo dominating and the signing of under rated big man Terrence Jones, this Milwaukee team could be the one to surprise on the run home.
Houston Rockets to beat the Utah Jazz
We love the Rockets in this one. The Utah Jazz have been among the most competitive sides in the western conference. But they simply cannot beat the teams above them. The Rockets, led by the MVP fancy James Harden, have been destroying teams, winning eight of their last 10 games. Put the Jazz against any one outside the top four in the conference and you can just about guarantee a win. Flip it the other way, and you get the opposite. Rockets to win this one easily at home.
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