|NBA Matchups, Odds, Analysis 1/05-1/07: Nuggets @ Rockets
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NBA Matchups and Analysis 5-7 January 2019 By: Christopher B. Watford for NoLuckNeeded.com
James Harden has one New Year’s resolution in mind: win back-to-back MVP titles. Over his last ten games, Harden is averaging 40 points on shooting splits of .44/.41/.88. This is very similar to the run that Kobe went on in the 2003 season where he scored 40+ points nine games in a row, one of which was his 81 point performance.
Toronto Raptors @ Milwaukee Bucks 1/5/19
In their third matchup of this season, the Raptors and the Bucks will be duking it out in Milwaukee, where the Raptors hope they can win their first game against Milwaukee. Coach Bud’s offensive scheme has generated instant success and if the Bucks can finish with a high seed, it wouldn’t be shocking to see Bud win coach of the year (again).
The first game that these two teams played was early in the season in Milwaukee. The Bucks bested the Raptors, 109-124, but with the Bucks missing Giannis in that game and the Raptors missing Kawhi, it’s an easy one to gloss over. The second time these two teams met was just a few weeks back where yet again, the Bucks beat the Raptors.
Kawhi Leonard is coming off a career-high 45 points in a win against the Utah Jazz. However, this doesn’t really phase Milwaukee. Going 8-2 in their last ten and playing in a weaker conference, the Bucks have a good shot at finishing with a top three record in the East.
The main matchup to watch out for is the battle of the forwards: Kawhi Leonard and Giannis Antetokounmpo. It was pretty even in the points column the last time these two met, but Giannis had an insane edge on the glass with 19 rebounds.
Watch the scorching-hot Bucks take on the Toronto Raptors this Saturday on NBATV at 8:30 PM ET.
Will Luka be rookie of the year?
LA Lakers @ Minnesota Timberwolves 1/6/19
The Lakers have had a rough week, but at least they were able to completely demolish the Warriors after LeBron went down. After that 127-101 win, the Lakers have only won one of their last four games. This is the first time that LeBron has been out for multiple games since the beginning of time itself. No, but really, LeBron has proved to be practically indestructible in his lengthy career so far; aside from thousands of minor injuries during the playoffs, of course.
After their upcoming game with the Thunder, the Lakers will go on to face the Timberwolves. The Wolves have started to slow down a little bit since their departure from Jimmy Butler. They’ve had some pretty tough losses over the past week, losing against the Hawks and then the Pelicans shortly thereafter. If this skid continues, Timberwolves fans are going to be crossing their fingers for the firing of Tom Thibodeau.
Thibs continues to plague Minnesota with dated practices and an abundance of minutes (seriously Thibs, stop playing Andrew Wiggins 43 minutes per game, he’s not good). With my burning hatred for Thibs aside, the Wolves do have a good shot at winning this if LeBron is still out. The Lakers hold a decent edge on the defensive end where they rank 9th (Wolves ranked 20th), but the Wolves hold the edge on the offensive end, and with the possibility of LeBron sitting out, it’s the Wolves game to lose.
Watch the Lakers and the Timberwolves battle this Saturday on SPEC, FSN, or NBA League Pass at 3:30 PM ET.
Denver Nuggets @ Houston Rockets 1/7/19
Two of the most exciting teams this season are going head-to-head in the Toyota Center this Monday. After a slightly bumpy month of December, the Nuggets are back on track and still hold the best record in the West. Just a couple states over, James Harden has managed to climb his team out of the hole they were in earlier in the season - bringing them from the 14th seed to the 4th.
This Rockets team isn’t one that I personally enjoy watching - mainly due to the excessive three pointers and fouls - but give credit where credit is due. They’re 9-1 over their last 10, with wins against the Celtics, Thunder, Spurs, and Grizzlies. Harden has also scored 40+ points in the last four games and is on a Kobe-esque type of run. Seriously, we’re witnessing history.
The Nuggets also have a catalyst that has lead to their success: Nikola Jokic. A lot of times you’ll hear people say that Nikola Jokic is a good passing big man - that’s disingenuous - he’s a good passer, period. Jokic is averaging 7.6 assists to go along with 10 rebounds and 18 points.
While Jokic might not be an MVP candidate right now, if he manages to finish with the first seed (incredibly unlikely), he might have a chance (again, a very small chance) to win MVP. But with how things are looking now, Harden is the front runner for the trophy.
This is a difficult game to wager on, both teams are incredibly hot, but I also wouldn’t want to bet against Harden with the tear that he’s been on.
Watch this game this Monday on ALT, ATSW, or NBA League Pass at 8:00 PM ET.
(Check NBA game odds and updates at Intertops Sports Betting)
Can the Houston Rockets beat the Golden State Warriors? Bet your team!