The midweek NBA action continues today and has exciting match lineups to thrill NBA fans.
Here is a preview of 3 games you cannot afford to miss.
New Orleans Pelicans VS. Portland Trailblazers
The Pelicans were victorious in their last game as they swept aside struggling Golden State Warriors 108-100 for win number 4 this season in a game JJ Redick scored 26 points and hit his sixth 3-pointer of the game from the left corner with over a minute left to the end of the game. The win over Golden State warriors means they now have a 4-9 record this season which puts them in 5th position in the Southwest Division and 14th in the Western Conference, one place above their opponents on that day, the Golden State Warriors. The Pelicans have so far recorded 3 of their 4 wins this season at home and are potentially the favourites ahead of this game. The Trail Blazers will be wary of the challenge the Pelicans might pose. Coach Alvin Gentry had multiple absentees for the team in their last game against the Warriors. Top overall draft pick Zion Williamson (right knee), who has yet to make his NBA regular season debut, was joined on the sidelines by guard Lonzo Ball (groin strain) and guard Josh Hart (left knee and ankle sprains). Other notable absentees were Center Derrick Favors (back spasms), forward Brandon Ingram (right knee soreness), center Jahlil Okafor (left ankle) and guard Frank Jackson (neck bruise). It is still unclear if any of them will be declared fit enough to take part in the game against Portland. The Pelicans will need Shooting Guard Jrue Holiday to be at his best though against Portland. The team’s points and assists leader struggled with his shooting a bit against the Warriors despite ending the game with 22 points, nine assists and eight rebounds. He cannot afford to have another off-day.
For the Trail Blazers, this game could see recent signing Carmelo Anthony potentially make his debut for Portland. This will be his first NBA game since November 2018. His arrival could potentially be the spark the team needs to improve their performances from now to the end of the season. The Trail Blazers go into this game on the back of a 121-116 win over San Antonio Spurs on Sunday to end a 2-game winless run in a game that saw Shooting Guard CJ McCollum score the highest points (32) and recorded the highest assist (7). The win improved their NBA record this season to 5-8. They are currently 5th in the Northwest Division and 12th overall in the Western Conference. All eyes will be on Carmelo but the trio of McCollum, Hassan Whiteside and Damian Lillard could be pivotal in any potential win over the Pelicans.
Prediction: Pelicans to win
Memphis Grizzlies VS. Golden State Warriors
The Grizzlies have had quite an underwhelming season and had improved in recent games until their 131-114 loss to Denver Nuggets on Sunday which ended a three-game winning run. Jonas Valanciunas reached double figures in 12 consecutive games with 16 points and also added 10 rebounds. Memphis has made at least 10 3-pointers in seven straight games, matching the franchise record set in March of last season. Jaren Jackson Jr. however led Memphis with 22 points, including a career-high five 3-pointers. Rookie Point Guard and Points leader Ja Morant endured quite a frustrating night. As a result of their loss, the Grizzlies’ record this season now stands at 5-8. They are 3rd in the Southwest Division and 11th in the Western Conference. They will certainly go into the game as favourites considering Warriors’ poor form this season.
The Warriors on the other hand have had the worst start this season compared to any other team this season. Last year’s NBA Championship finalists are on a terrible run which sees them winless in 7 games after losing 108-100 to the Pelicans over the weekend. They now have a 2-12 record which puts them bottom of both the Pacific Division and the Western Conference. Their last win actually came way back in Game 7 when they beat Portland Trail Blazers 127-118. Their woes have been compounded with the injury to D’Angelo Russell who has joined Steph Curry and Klay Thompson on the injury list with a sprained right thumb which will sideline him for 2 weeks. Allen Smailagic, Jacob Evans and Kevon Looney are also doubts for the game. The onus will be on Eric Paschall to carry the team after scoring the highest points (30) and assists (7) against the Pelicans.
Prediction: Grizzlies to win
Los Angeles Lakers VS. Oklahoma City Thunder
The Lakers and LeBron James are currently in excellent and now look like the title contenders and formidable opponents NBA fans knew they could be this season. They are now on a four-game winning run after getting past Atlanta Hawks 122-101 in their last game. That win extended their record this season to 11-2 and cemented their first place position in the Pacific Division and the Western Conference. These results have coincided with the form of LeBron James who once again finished the game with the highest points and assists for the third game running. This form only spells bad news for the Thunder and they will have to perform incredibly well to halt the Lakers’ progress.
Oklahoma on the other hand is struggling for consistent form at the moment. They lost 90-88 to the Lakers’ L.A. rivals Clippers in their last game after ending a 2-game losing streak last week with a 127-119 OT over the 76ers. The defeat at the Clippers means they now have a 5-8 record which puts them 11th in the Western Conference. A victory against the Lakers might be seen as a daunting task but it could be achieved if they are able to match up to the Lakers.
Prediction: Lakers to win