SPURS V RAPTORS

The Raptors are expecting a ridiculously hostile crowd as they travel to AT&T Center to face the Spurs.

Just two days ago, Toronto star Kawhi Leonard was cheered with chants of ‘MVP,’ but it will be a different atmosphere on Friday. Leonard spent a total of seven seasons with San Antonio, but his performance as Spurs declined as he suffered from a quadriceps injury. He did returned from that injury and played well, this time however as the Raptors’ small forward.

Kawhi Leonard did real good in Toronto’s 122-116 victory over Utah Jazz last Tuesday, where he scored a career-high high 45 points. Pascal Siakam complemented his performance with 28 points with 10 rebounds.

Prior to their win over Jazz, the Raptors also scored a 95-89 win over Chicago Bulls, where Leonard made 27 points partnered with 20 points and 12 rebounds from Siakam.

One of the reasons for the Raptors fall from the topmost spot in the Eastern conference to the second is when they lost 116-87 to Orlando Magic last Saturday, where Magic’s Nikola Vucevic had 30 points while Leonard only made 21.

As expected, the Raptors are making good game into the season. Meanwhile, San Antonio is catching up after winning ten of their last 13 games filling the deficiencies in their sluggish start into the season. In fact, the Spurs’ last game was a 120-111 win against Boston Celtics where LaMarcus Aldridge made 32 points last Monday.

The Spurs also beaten the likes of LA Clippers where they scored 122-111, while Aldridge scored 38 points complemented by DeMar DeRozan’s 25 points, 13 rebounds, and six assists.

The Raptors had its best players out for the big night on Friday, notable of which is none other than Kawhi Leonard, while the Spurs will not be left out as they got the likes of DeRozan and Aldridge. Interestingly though, the crowd will be a strong factor to this game, with strong support for San Antonio and an anticipated heckles for Leonard.

WARRIORS V ROCKETS

NBA’s strongest players today will have one of the most interesting clash of the league season as the Rockets will travel to the Golden State on Friday at the Oracle Arena.

Houston’s James Harden will be the Warriors biggest wall to the ring. The Rockets point-guard recently made four-consecutive 40-point games, averaging 33.3 points a game.

Harden will be looking to extend his historical feat and would struggle to make 35 or more points, but it will surely not be an easy game as he will be facing one of the top players in the league today. With Stephen Curry fully recovered from injury, this game will be the best yet out there.

Curry currently averages 28.7 points a game, but he is not entirely handicapped as he is usually complemented by Kevin Durant who averages 28.5 points, and even by 7.8 rebounds and 6.6 assists per game from Draymond Green.

The Golden State has a relatively weak form lately for a team in their standing. They won against the Suns 132-109 last Tuesday at Talking Stick. The Warriors 115-105 against Portland last Sunday, but they also lost to the Trail Blazers 110-109 before that.

The Rockets as a team is also enjoying a five-time winning streak, boasting a wins over Oklahoma City 113-109 and Boston Celtics at 127-113. Additionally, they also made a victory over San Antonio 108-101, as well as against the Pelicans 108-104 and Memphis Grizzlies 113-101.

Houston’s winning streak is threatened as the Warriors have home court advantage in  Oracle. Harden is probably a bigger fish than Curry and Durant combined, but the Warriors are strong again as a team with Curry back in the game.

KINGS V NUGGETS

Sacramento defeated Los Angeles Lakers 117-116 last Friday where a 3-pointer from Bogdan Bogdanovic at the buzzer saved the Kings from a seemingly inevitable loss. Los Angeles nonetheless filled that defeat when they beat the Kings 121-114 last Monday at Staples.

Sacramento’s loss was extended in their match against Portland as they lost 108-113 last Wednesday. This two-game loss might turned into a losing streak as they will be facing the Denver Nuggets on Friday at Golden 1 Center.

The Kings’ threat during their match with Portland was the Trail Blazers’ guard Damian Lillard who made seven consecutive points at the end of the fourth quarter, ushering a Sacramento defeat. The next challenge for the Kings is Denver’s own Nikola Jokic who recently scored a triple-double in a 115-108 victory over New York Knicks.

Friday day night will be a lot tougher for Sacramento as rookie Marvin Bagley is expected to be out of the games after suffering from a bone bruise in the left knee.

Bragging seven wins in their last ten matches, the Nuggets will take most of the edge on Friday. Denver beat the Raptors and Oklahoma City at least twice in the season. Their most recent match with Toronto is a 95-86 Nuggets domination where Jokic scored 26 points partnered with a notable performance from Jamal Murray. Kawhi Leonard made 29 points that night, but not enough to lift the Raptors from the powerful shots of Denver’s premier players.

From the previous month, the Nuggets also defeated Oklahoma City at Pepsi Center, where Jokic made 24 points and 19 from Murray. Murray and Thunder’s Russell Westbrook had a heated encounter that Saturday night.

With Denver enjoying the highest point of the Western Conference so far, the Nuggets are expected to preserve their place. They could be brought down, but not this time considering their current record.

By @FitsEly

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