San Antonio Spurs vs. Dallas Mavericks
Tuesday 28th November, 1:30am (UK time)
|Spurs v Mavericks||
As of 26th November, the Spurs sit at 12-7; a very respectable record considering the absence of Kawhi Leonard due to injury. They’ve only lost twice at home, and LaMarcus Aldridge has filled in for Leonard admirably, averaging 22 points and eight rebounds per game. Others, such as Pau Gasol, Rudy Gay, and Patty Mills, have made few mistakes and shot the ball extremely well, as the Spurs usually do. San Antonio’s defence and strict system has allowed them to stay relevant in a league that is filled with fast-paced, youthful teams.
To say the Dallas Mavericks have struggled this year would be putting it lightly. Their 5-15 record is among the worst in the NBA, and the legendary Dirk Nowitzki looks like a shell of his former self. Rookie Dennis Smith Jr. has impressed, but he has little help outside of Wesley Matthews and Harrison Barnes. Seth Curry has yet to play this year, and Nerlens Noel has assumed a reserve role despite receiving a large payday in the offseason. Dallas has won just two games on the road, and they lost to the Spurs by six at home on November 15.
The Spurs may not be at full strength, but they’ve been unbeatable at home this year. Dallas simply doesn’t have the weapons on offence to beat San Antonio’s suffocating defence. The Spurs should take this one easily.
Cleveland Cavaliers vs. Miami Heat
Wednesday 29th November, 12:00am (UK time)
Though the Cavaliers sit at just 12-7 through their first 19 games, they’re just as dangerous as they’ve ever been. Tristan Thompson, Derrick Rose, and Isaiah Thomas are all out due to injuries, but LeBron James is still at the helm of this Cleveland team. He’s currently averaging 29 points, nine rebounds, and eight assists per game. He’s complemented by 18 points and ten rebounds from Kevin Love and ten points, four rebounds, and four assists from Dwayne Wade. The Cavs have suffered bad losses to poor Eastern Conference teams such as the Nets, Magic, and Pacers, causing fans everywhere to worry about their future.
Through 19 games, the Heat sit at 10-9. They’re expected to compete for a playoff spot in the East this season, but they’ll have a tough time advancing in the postseason without the help of a true star player. Nevertheless, squad members like Hassan Whiteside, Goran Dragic, and Dion Waiters make it tough for opposing teams to escape Miami with a win. Waiters has improved the most of the trio, averaging a career-high 16 points per game. Erik Spoelstra should be able to guide his team into a perfect spot come April.
The Cavs have struggled against the East this season, but LeBron has started reviving his team in the fourth quarter in recent contests. Dwayne Wade will be out for revenge against his former team in this matchup, and Cleveland is still looking to get back on track and take over the East’s number one spot once again. Take a look at the Cavs to defeat their conference rivals in this one.