WARRIORS V RAPTORS
Last November, the Warriors and Raptors had a taste of each other’s strengths and weaknesses in one of the top games in the NBA so far.
Kevin Durant showed off some pretty good moves for the Warriors, but the Raptors were still able to beat the big boys of the Golden State. Toronto’s next big thing Kawhi Leonard scored a season-high 37 points, complemented by a career-high 26 from Pascal Siakam. This time, the Raptors overcame a 51-point performance from Durant. With so much energy and excellent performance, they were able to defeat the Warriors 131-128 in overtime.
Stephen Curry was absent in the match after suffering a groin injury. The Golden State team was proven weak without the star point guard. But before the injury, Curry played a blazing start into the season, leading Warriors to ten wins across their first eleven games.
While Durant’s individual performance was excellent in its own right in the November match, the Golden State’s strength as a team initially declined. The team could have made use of DeMarcus Cousins, but the former Pelican is still in rehab while just recently assigned to the Warriors’ G League.
The Warriors further struggled after their Raptors defeat in another loss to Detroit by the beginning of the month. Durant fell down from his 51 points to a mere 28.
Toronto stands at the very top of the Eastern Conference in the most recent table, while the Warriors place at the second in the Western Conference. With Curry back in action, it is interesting how the Golden State will retaliate this coming Thursday, and how the Raptors will react and device new tactics to match the star’s return.
The Warriors made a four-time winning streak since their Detroit defeat. With the Golden state’s awesome recovery and Toronto’s top standing in the table, it is quite impossible to draw a possible outcome and decide who will emerge as victors on Thursday.
HORNETS V PISTONS
Detroit is quite impressive in their seven wins out of the eight games they played. They will be flexing some muscles to the Hornets after their excellent victory over Golden State in Stephen Curry’s return to the lineup.
Team top scorer Blake Griffin is listed as out for rest purposes, but we are expecting the power forward to impress us in the Pistons’ face-to-face with Charlotte on Thursday. Griffin lead Detroit to their 111-102 victory over the Warriors, and even to their previous matches with Chicago, New York, and Phoenix. He never scored below 20 in his last seven matches and we are expecting this rate to continue through the season.
Griffin’s power is often complemented by Andre Drummond’s assists and occasional scores. The combination of two skills was proven deadly as the Pistons made a five-time winning streak this season.
Detroit, however, is currently suffering from a losing streak, and they will travel to Charlotte in hopes of breaking this spell. They have lost five times in a row that strangely built up after their notable win over the Warriors. They have since lost on succession to Oklahoma City, Milwaukee, Philadelphia, New Orleans, and twice to the 76ers.
The Hornets emerged as winners in their match with the Pistons last month and the latter will definitely be looking for revenge. Top Detroit forward Griffin had his worst game of the season that night scoring only ten points.
Drummond made 23 points and 22 rebounds in the loss, but the Hornets are able to hold such strength with their very own Kemba Walker and Tony Parker, each of whom scored 24 points.
Walker did 21 points in their home win against Denver on Friday, and 25 at their domination at New York. We will not be expecting a decline of numbers in the Charlotte point guard, and he will be one of the players that the Pistons should watch out on Thursday.
GRIZZLIES V TRAIL BLAZERS
The Trail Blazers will visit Memphis to face the Grizzlies, and this match will be one of the most important in the Western Conference. Both of the team were tied for the six seed in the standings, and this game will be crucial for the two sides. With the West becoming wilder than unexpected, either of the teams could make a deep playoff run this season.
Portland is catching up this year after their embarrassing finish in the previous year. They are having a hard time taking the run though as they lost four out of six last games. Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum are doing pretty good despite the transfer rumours. Lillard currently averages 27.2 points, 6.4 assists, and 5.2 rebounds per game, while McCollum is making 21.2 points.
However, Portland’s problem this season is their horrible defense, where they are allowing 123.2 points per game in their last five losses. They also lost seven of their past ten games after jumping out to a 10-3 start.
The Grizzlies on the other hand also had a terrible experience last year due to a rash of injuries and the coaching drama that involved the termination of coach David Fizdale.
Memphis started off hot this year, and they have beaten some really good teams. With their trademarked style of tough and defensive play, they are able to top the Blazers two levels above them in the recent table. They are only allowing 102.8 points per game, the second lowest number in the NBA season. At such a rate, they will be able to slow down the high flying offense from the best players in Portland.
It would be more than interesting to watch two opposite forces on play in this upcoming match with the powerful offensives from the Blazers and great defense from the Grizzlies.
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