Pacers v Thunder

The Oklahoma City Thunder will make a trip to the Bankers Life Fieldhouse to take on the Indiana Pacers for some NBA action on Friday. The Pacers lost two consecutive games and three out of four before dominating the New York Knicks last Tuesday. Thunder, on the other hand, was at home on Wednesday when they overpowered the Brooklyn Nets.

The Indiana Pacers will seek back to back victories ahead of their clash against Thunder. The Pacers are levelled with the Philadelphia 76ers at the fourth spot in the Eastern Conference standings. The Pacers are now just eight games behind the Milwaukee Bucks in the Central Division and the Eastern Conference title race.

The Pacers are at the 21st spot in the league with an average of 108.2 points, 24th in terms of rebounds, and 7th in assists with 26 per game. Furthermore, the Indiana Pacers have been solid in their defensive line so far this season, being 2nd in the league’s scoring defence.

Meanwhile, the Oklahoma City Thunder are also tied but with the Houston Rockets at the 3rd spot in the Western standings. Oklahoma haven’t been overly convincing on the road lately as evident in their two consecutive defeats to the Bucks (117-98) and the 76ers (106-89).

Both teams are facing inconsistencies lately. However, Oklahoma are still the better team compared to an Indiana side, who are having serious injury crisis at the moment. With Oklahoma at their full capacity ahead of their clash against the Pacers, a victory seems to be on the cards for them.

Raptors v Lakers

The Toronto Raptors will return home from a three-game road trip to host the Los Angeles Lakers on Friday. The Raptors will welcome the Lakers to the Scotiabank Arena fresh off the back of a disappointing 126-101 defeat in the hands of the Cleveland Cavaliers. This is the final matchup between the Lakers and the Raptors this season so both will aim to get the better of one another.

The Toronto Raptors previously claimed the 121-107 away victory against the Los Angeles Lakers on November 4 of last year. The Raptors were certainly the more dominant one even from their first encounter, holding a 31-point lead in the opening quarter.

The Raptors are currently in great shape, winning 11 of their previous 15 games.  Regardless of how the final month of the regular season plays out, the Raptors are still going to be in the playoffs. Furthermore, they are 5 games behind the Utah Jazz for the 8th spot in the Western Conference standings.

On the other hand, things aren’t looking up for the Los Angeles Lakers. The LeBron James-led team has been in a world of upset this season. Before their 123-107 away victory against the Chicago Bulls on Tuesday, they lost nine of their previous 12 games.

To make things worse, the Lakers will be without Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram, both of whom have been ruled out for the rest of the season. The Raptors have definitely been solid lately so a victory could be in their favour.

Nuggets v Mavericks

A massive clash between two Western Conference rivals is set to take place when the Dallas Mavericks make a trip to the Pepsi Center to face the Denver Nuggets. The hosts are at the second spot in the Western Conference standings, while the Denver Nuggets are at the 14th place and regarded as the 2nd worst team in the league.

The Dallas Mavericks have been a real disappointment this season, losing 11 of their past 12 games. They will head into this game fresh off the back of a 112-105 defeat at home in the hands of the San Antonio Spurs on Tuesday.

Meanwhile, the Denver Nuggets faced a little bit of crisis when they lost four of their previous six matches. They were able to return to their momentum though after edging past the Minnesota Timberwolves in a 133-107 victory at home on Tuesday.

The Mavericks have really lost their edge this season, winning just once in their past 12 games. To make matters worse, they will be taking on a Nuggets team who are very hard to overpower especially at home.

By @EliaasMJ

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