Ahead of the NBA games on Thursday, we take a look at some of the games that will be played in the Eastern Conference on the day.
Philadelphia 76ers VS. New York Knicks
This game pits two Atlantic Division teams against each other with 3rd best team in the division taking on the 5th best side. Both teams beat the Cavaliers in their last games before this game.
The Philadelphia 76ers head into this game on the back of a confidence-boosting 114-95 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers which ended a two-game losing run recorded against Orlando Magic (112-97) and Oklahoma City Thunder (127-119 OT). This extended their NBA record this season to 8-5 and a fifth place spot in the Eastern Conference. Joel Embiid was instrumental as usual and could once again determine the outcome of the upcoming game.
The Knicks also beat the Cavaliers 123-105 in their last game with Julius Randle scoring a game high 30 points to ensure the Knicks ended the game with their 4th win of the season and a 14th place in the Eastern Conference, one place above the Washington Wizards. Their win-loss record now stands at 4-10.
Prediction: 76ers to win
Washington Wizards VS. San Antonio Spurs
It is a battle between two out-of-form Eastern Conference teams who could do with a win at the moment.
The Wizards replaced the New York Knicks at the bottom of the Eastern Conference with a 3-8 win-loss record after losing 125-121 to Orlando Magic in a game Wizards’ Bradley Beal scored 34 points which was still not enough to prevent them from losing that game. This game however could change their fortunes and put their season back on track. Shooting Guard Jordan McRae who missed the Orlando game with illness could return for this upcoming game the Wizards desperately need to win.
The away side, Spurs are also desperate to end a 6-game losing streak after succumbing to a 117-110 defeat to the Mavericks in their previous game. That game saw Mavericks’ Doncic score 42 in triple-double against Spurs and in the process became the second youngest player to get a 40-point triple-double. In all, Spurs have only won 2 and lost 8 of their last 10 games. The recent loss also takes their win-loss record to 5-9 this season and plummets them to 13th in the Western Conference and 4th in the Southwest Division. The only positives for them ahead of this game is that they have no injury concerns which could be crucial to their chances of winning.
Prediction: Spurs to win
Brooklyn Nets VS. Charlotte Hornets
The Nets have not quite hit their strides yet this season considering the additions they made in the summer. They lost 115-86 to the Indiana Pacers in their last game. The loss means they have won only 1 of their last 5 games. That sole victory came in Game 12 at Chicago Bulls. This poor run of results stretches their win-loss record to 5-8 and sees them drop to 9th position in the Eastern Conference.
The Nets are still without summer big name addition Kevin Durant who is yet to make his debut for the Nets with an injury. He could also miss the entire season. Another big-name summer addition Kyrie Irving is also a doubt for this game. This game is a must-win game if they are to advance to the playoffs this season.
The Hornets also lost their last game 132-96 against the Raptors on the road with the defeat ending a two-game winning run. The loss was their 8th defeat in 14 games this season and puts them 8th in the Eastern Conference ahead of this game.
Prediction: Hornets to win
Miami Heat VS. Cleveland Cavaliers
The Heat are 3 games unbeaten at the moment after they cruised past the Pelicans 109-94 over the weekend to secure a 9th win after 12 games this season and a 3rd position spot in the Eastern Conference. They are also top of the Southwest Division. They have been in decent form of late. In fact, 7 of their overall 9 wins this season have come in their last 10 games. The trio of Jimmy Butler, Kendrick Nunn and Bam Adebayo have been fundamental to their recent form with game-winning performances game after game. They could once again be pivotal in any potential Heat victory on the day.
Meanwhile, the Cavs are on a terrible run recently. They are 11th in the Eastern Conference. The 123-105 loss to the New York Knicks last time extended their winless run to 4 games. In fact, their last win game in their reverse fixture against the Knicks this season. That game ended 108-87 in favour of the Cavs. They need to win against the Heat. They do however have injury concerns though as Forwards Larry Nance Jr. and Kevin Love are both doubts for the game after missing their previous game.
Prediction: Heat to win
Atlanta Hawks VS. Milwaukee Bucks
The Hawks are 10th in the Eastern Conference and 4th in the Southeast Division with a 4-9 record after losing 122-101 to the Los Angeles Lakers in their last game. The loss was their third in a row. All of these defeats have come on the road against Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles’ Clippers and Lakers. A shocking win over the Bucks could bring a little positivity to the team.
The Bucks are one of the few teams having a great season thus far. They sit second in the Eastern Conference with a 10-3 record after their recent 115-101 win over the Chicago Bulls. This win extended their recent winning streak to 4 games. The highlight of that game was star man Giannis Antetokounmpo’s 33 points which sealed that victory. He has been one of the most consistent players in the NBA this season. If he continues this great form against the Hawks, there will be no stopping his team.
Prediction: Bucks to win