The Los Angeles Lakers saw their franchise-record winning streak on the road brought to a close on Wednesday night as the number one team in the Eastern Conference, the Philadelphia 76ers, marked the card of the reigning NBA champions.
The Lakers had won 10 straight on their travels before their visit to the City of Brotherly Love but Tobias Harris’ buzz-beater ended that streak as the Sixers recorded a 107-106 win. The victory is a big feather in the cap for Philly as they improved to 13-6 to stay clear of the Milwaukee Bucks in the East with Joel Embiid leading the team with 28 points.
6/1 for the regular season MVP prize after an excellent start to the year, with the Lakers’ LeBron James just ahead of him as the
11/2 favourite. ‘The King’ set the pace for the Lakers on Wednesday with 34 points as he continued his recent hot streak having helped himself to a season-high 46 points on his return home to Cleveland in LA’s previous outing.
The reigning champions will hope the four-time NBA MVP can stay on form for the remainder of their road trip, which continues on Thursday night with a clash against Detroit. The Pistons sit at 4-14 after a run of five defeats from the last six and are 9.5-point underdogs for the visit of LeBron and co. The Lakers have covered the handicap in six of their last nine and are
10/11 to improve that record against a poor Detroit defence.
The Lakers go on to face one of the East’s top dogs clash when they square off against the Boston Celtics on Saturday in what could be the game of the weekend before wrapping up their road trip in Atlanta.
Jazz Hitting All the Right Notes
The Lakers’ loss in Philadelphia resulted in them being dethroned as Western Conference leaders as the Utah Jazz moved into top spot via a ninth successive win, downing the New York Knicks 108-94. Royce O’Neale and Rudy Gobert led the way for the Jazz as leading scorer Donovan Mitchell found the going tough, and it is this strength in depth, coupled with a top-five defence, that could see Utah stick around at the top of the West.
The Jazz are
17/2 to win the Western Conference, behind the
6/5 favourite Lakers and
11/4 shots the LA Clippers. Without star duo Paul George and Kawhi Leonard for Tuesday’s trip to Atlanta, the Clippers saw their seven-game winning streak ended by the Hawks. They’ll be without Leonard and George again on Thursday when they face the reigning Eastern Conference champions Miami, who are the
Even with the Clippers short-handed, the short price for a Heat win comes as a surprise given they sit at 6-11 after four straight defeats and won’t have Jimmy Buttler for this game. They could get back Tyler Herro and Goran Dragic for Thursday’s match, which will be the first attended by fans in Miami this year, but the Clippers at plus-4 still hold appeal on the handicap at
Harden and the Nets Are Rolling
Miami look to have their work cut out to retain their conference title this year after such a slow start and are in danger of being cut adrift. They are
11/1 to remain kings of the east, with the Brooklyn Nets the
33/20 favourites as they start to reap the rewards for their blockbuster trade for James Harden.
Harden had 31 points in Wednesday’s 132-128 overtime win against Atlanta, while fellow superstar Kevin Durant lead the NBA’s top-scoring team with 34 points. That victory against the Hawks extended their winning run to three and the 12-8 Nets should keep the ball rolling with two home games against the Oklahoma City Thunder and then the Washington Wizards next.
Brooklyn are breathing down the necks of third-placed Indiana, with the Pacers squaring off against the 76ers on Sunday in one of this weekend’s most high-profile encounters before they then travel to the second-placed Bucks next week.
Milwaukee could have some serious momentum behind them by the time they face Indiana with winnable games against Charlotte, New Orleans and Portland to come, particularly if Giannis Antetokounmpo can maintain his current level of performance. With the ‘Greek Freak’ in a rich vein of form, the Bucks, who are
13/5 to win the Eastern Conference, look set up to push Brooklyn and Philadelphia all the way this season.
*All odds correct at time of writing