Chicago Bulls at Cleveland Cavaliers
The Cavaliers are the defending NBA champions and have been playing like it all season, storming into a clear lead at the top of the Eastern Conference’s Central Division. They went into the All-Star break with a 7-1 record in February and have been putting up some huge scores lately, inspired by the exploits of LeBron James and Kyrie Irving.
The Bulls are precariously placed in the battle for the playoffs and have been inconsistent all season, but they are one of the few teams to have won at The Q this year and will be boosted by the availability of Jimmy Butler after keeping hold of him in the trade window. It may be a bit of a stretch to expect Chicago to spring another surprise, but a high-scoring contest could be on the cards.
- Top tip: Over 225.5 points in the game
New Orleans Pelicans at Oklahoma City Thunder
The Pelicans may not have set the Western Conference alight in the first part of the season, but there is a feeling in New Orleans that fortunes could be about to change. Anthony Davis, who set an All-Star record with 52 points earlier this week, has a match-winning talent that is almost unrivalled, but he has not been able to do it all on his own. The Pelicans appear to have done some great business, though, landing DeMarcus Cousins and Omri Casspi on trade deals from the Sacramento Kings, and if the new arrivals can gel quickly they could be a major force.
Oklahoma have had a much better time of it than the Pelicans so far this season and are well positioned to reach the playoffs. The talismanic Russell Westbrook has been racking up the triple doubles - points, rebounds, assists and even steals - this season, and managed an impressive 41 points himself in the All-Star game. It will be a tough trip for the Pelicans, but the odds may be very favourable for an away win and are worth considering due to their new-look team.
- Top tip: New Orleans Pelicans to win