LAKERS V CLIPPERS
Matches of the Lakers-Clippers rivalry are probably one of the most anticipated games in every NBA season. One does not need to wait a long time to see one as the two Los Angeles’ are set to clash this coming Saturday at the Staples Center, the traditional home court of both of the teams.
Appearance of Lakers’ LeBron James is still questionable as of the moment as the team’s premier forward is still suffering from an injury in the groin. Center JaVale McGee, the team’s holder of the highest number of blocks at 2.6, also has a questionable status and was out in the Lakers’ match with the Sacramento Kings.
In spite of LeBron’s absence, the Lakers are still able to pull off an excellent performance as shown in their 127-101 win over the Golden State Warriors. King James did played in that game, making 17 points, 13 rebounds, and five assists, but he exited at the third quarter and the Lakers still dominated against Golden State.
The victory against the Warriors slightly washed up the Lakers’ humiliating 107-99 loss to Memphis last Monday, where Grizzlies’ Jaren Jackson made 27 points to pass way ahead of LeBron’s 22 at the Staples. The game ended Memphis’ five-game losing streak.
On the other hand, the Clippers’ 118-127 win over Sacramento Kings last Thursday is still fresh and they still be bringing the energy to the Staples. Lou Williams showed incredible performance that night, scoring 24 points. Williams’ strength could be a good compliment for Clippers’ stop scorer Tobias Harris, who is averaging 21.5 points a game. A joint excellent play from the two could probably match the established advantage of the Lakers, as LeBron is still expected to show up on Saturday.
PACERS V PISTONS
Indiana will be hoping to extend their three-game winning streak as they will be facing the Pistons at Bankers Life House on Saturday.
Last Thursday, Indiana’s power forward Thaddeus Young dominated in the Pacers’ 129-121 win over the Atlanta Hawks at the State Farm Arena. Domantas Sabonis and Tyreke Evans also made significant contributions in that night, both scoring 19 points for the the Pacers.
The Pacers are quite good as a team, with varying cases of progress in form among its players. For instance, prior to Indiana’s victory over the Hawks, Myles Turner had a balanced 18 points and 17 rebounds during the Pacers 105-89 win over the Washington Wizards, who were in a sluggish form that night in Bankers Life Fieldhouse.
Indiana also won over the Brooklyn Nets 114-106 last weekend with good play from Victor Oladipo and Young, who scored 26 and 21 respectively.
Just last week, they lost 99-96 to the Raptors, and 92-91 against the Cavaliers, but they enjoyed a seven-match winning streak prior to that. Earlier this month, they dominated the Chicago Bulls to a 96-90, and Orlando Magic to a 112-90. They also win against the Kings 107-97, and the Washington Wizards 109-101. The Bucks also lost to them 113-97, as well as the 76ers 113-101 and the Knicks 110-99.
In contrast to that, Detroit suffered from a six-game losing streak earlier this month, and this comparison is quite enough to make a picture of how that Saturday game will conclude. The Pistons lost twice to Philadelphia. They also been defeated by Oklahoma City 110-83 and by Milwaukee 115-9, as well as to the Pelicans 116-108 and the Hornets 108-107.
To be fair though, the Pistons are not completely the lowest level of the slope as they won 102-111 earlier this month to none other than the Golden State Warriors and that should give them some confidence in facing the Pacers on Saturday.
WIZARDS V BULLS
The Wizards are performing good at home, winning nine game across twelve at the Capital One Arena.
Washington’s last home win was their 146-149 over the Phoenix Suns last Sunday. The game was quite intense with Bradley Beal making 40 points throughout that night securing the Wizards’ eventual win in triple-overtime. The Suns’ Devin Booker made shot 33 points in that game.
Another show of strength at home for the Wizards is their 110-128 victory against the Lakers. John Wall showed brutal domination in that Monday night after scoring 40 points in gigantic contrast to LeBron’s 13.
Earlier this month, John Wall also excelled in the Wizards’ 88-102 victory over the Brooklyn Nets. Wall shot 30 points throughout the game complemented by Beal’s 22 points, securing the win for Washington.
The Wizards’ Saturday guests the Chicago Bulls are in a bad shape after losing 13 of their last 17 matches. The Bulls have two sets of losing streaks within that last 17 matches. Their last skid involves a 133-77 defeat to Celtics, as well as a 108-89 to the Kings and a 97-91 to Orlando.
Chicago’ lost to Oklahoma City to 121-96 and to the Nets 96-93 earlier this month could have been a capped by another loss to Magic this previous weekend. Fortunately though Lauri Markkanen scored 32 points to advance ahead of the 24 from Orlando’s Evan Fournier.
On a side note, the Bulls made a minor drama last Wednesday when they faced former player Derrick Rose at the United Center. Rose’s was greeted with boos in his first visit in the Chicago stadium as member of an opposing team, but he was greeted with chants of ‘MVP’ that Wednesday night.
Given Washington’s history of home wins, it is quite obvious who gets the perceived edge. The Bulls are not much handicapped though as they have two wins out of their last five matches, while the Wizards only have one victory out of their last five.
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