LAKERS V PISTONS

The Los Angeles Lakers have one injury report at the early part of January, but unfortunately it was from its most prized player LeBron James. The premier Lakers guard is still suffering from a groin injury and is set to be re-evaluated within a week.

In LA’s 107-97 win over Dallas last Tuesday, Brandon Ingram did much of the scoring when he shot 29 points at American Airlines Center. Lonzo Ball added 21 points to lead the Lakers in a domination against the Mavericks. Veteran point guard Rajon Rondo was also out of the match.

The Mavs’ super rookie Luka Doncic was in that Tuesday match, scoring 27 points throughout, but Ingram and Ball were still able to pull off excellent performances.

The Lakers’ win over the Mavs frustrated the extension of a losing streak that LA are suffering prior to that night.

LA’s skid started in a ferocious performance from Oklahoma City as they went to Staples Center to face the Lakers. OKC’s players, especially Paul George, expected a hostile crowd and constant heckles which they did received that night.

Nevertheless, Paul George still scored 37 points, leading Oklahoma City to a 107-100 victory over the Lakers. Thunder’s Russell Westbrook also made 14 points, 16 rebounds and 10 assists. LA’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, on the other hand, made 25 points.

The Lakers showed vulnerability in that match last Thursday and it did manifested when they made another lost to the New York Knicks 119-112. New York’s Tim Hardaway Jr. made 22 points complemented by 16 points from Trey Burke to top Ingram’s 21 last Friday at Staples.

The Lakers might get lucky this time as they will be hosting the Pistons on Thursday.

Detroit are in bad form today, losing four of their last five matches as they faced the likes of Milwaukee Bucks and San Antonio Spurs that are currently surging in the league season today.

Evidently, tipsters are giving a line of Los Angeles -1.5 to Detroit Over/Under 217.5.

CELTICS V PACERS

Boston’s star Kyrie Irving is back in the action after suffering from an eye injury. Irving led the Celtics to a 116-95 win over the Brooklyn Nets last Tuesday at TD Garden.

The Celtics are on fire that Tuesday night. Jayson Tatum also added 16 points in that game, with 12 points each from Al Horford, Gordon Hayward, Marcus Morris, and Marcus Smart. Boston also made a total of 37 assists that night, their fourth consecutive match with over 30 assists.

It was the Celtics’ third consecutive win. They also won 114-93 last Saturday over Dallas at TD Garden, where Jaylen Brown made 21 points, complemented by 16 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists from Gordon Hayward. Tatum also made 18 points, while Horford had 10 points, eight rebounds, and eight assists.

Boston also scored a 115-102 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves last Thursday at TD, where Hayward made 35 points to top 31 points from the Wolves’ Andrew Wiggins. Terry Rozier also added 16 points to spark a Celtics domination over Minnesota.

The Celtics will be attempting to extend their three-game winning streak in their upcoming match on Thursday with the Pacers in Boston.

Indiana are not showing signs of weakness so far in the season. Not far from today, they enjoyed a six-game winning streak and it is not a long time ago since that was broke so they could still flex it to their upcoming Thursday rivals.

At the latter part of the previous month, the Pacers beat the Brooklyn Nets 114-106, as well as the Washington Wizards 105-89 and the Atlanta Hawks 129-121. Their last match of the previous year concluded in a 125-88 victory over Detroit Pistons.

Indiana beat the Hawks for a second time at the start of the year with a 116-108 tally. The Pacers also beat the Chicago Bulls 119-116 last Saturday.

The Pacers are two steps ahead of Boston in the Eastern Conference, but tipsters are giving a line of Celtics -6.5 to Indiana Over/Under 213.

ROCKETS V BUCKS

Houston’s win over Denver is still fresh, and they will be bragging this feat on their upcoming Thursday game with Milwaukee at Toyota Center.

The Rockets are on fire this week when they beat the Nuggets 125-113. Denver’s premier player Nikola Jokic made 24 points last Tuesday, but he was not able to hold Houston’s main engine James Harden who made 32 points complemented by Clint Capela who added a career-high 31 points that night. It was an exciting night as the Rockets were facing the topmost team of the Western Conference.

The game almost erased the memory of Houston’s 101-110 defeat to Portland last Sunday at Moda Center. Harden made 38 points that night – 2 points short to extend his five-game run where he made at least 40 points each.

The Trail Blazers’ Jusuf Nurkic made 25 points and 15 rebounds that night, with CJ McCollum adding 24 points and a 17 points and 12 rebounds from Damian Lillard. Their scores are much lower individually compared to Harden’s number, but the Trail Blazers demonstrated that the only way to beat the Rockets is to strengthen defense.

Nonetheless, the Rockets enjoyed a six-game winning run prior to that defeat, beating the likes of Golden State, Boston, and Oklahoma.

Last Friday, Harden made 44 points to top Stephen Curry’s 35 at Oracle Arena, where the Rockets beat the Warriors 135-134. Harden shot a 3-pointer at overtime at 2.7 seconds left.

In the previous month, Houston won 127-113 over Boston at Toyota, where Harden made 45 points, dominating over the Celtics’ Kyrie Irving who made 23 points.

The premier Rockets player also dominated with 41 points over Paul George’s 28 points in Houston’s 113-109 victory over Oklahoma City.

The Rockets’ main fuel James Harden might face a match on Thursday as Houston will be facing Milwaukee at Toyota Center.

The Bucks’ Giannis Antetokounmpo might match Harden’s offensive performance with 26.6 points per game average.

Antetokounmpo dominated in the Bucks’ 114-102 win over Utah Jazz last Tuesday at Fiserv Forum, where he made 30 points to lead Milwaukee. This Greek freak also made 43 points in Milwaukee’s 116-123 loss to the Raptors, topping Kawhi Leonard’s 30 points that night.

The Bucks are sitting second in the Eastern Conference and their from shows no notable sign of decline. An excellent form is also attributable to the Rockets so far, notable of which is their late stunning of the Denver Nuggets. Thus, Houston are given a line of -1 to the Bucks Over/Under 225.5.

By @FitsEly

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