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NBA Preview: LeBron James Meets an Old Friend, Celtics and Bulls Aiming to Stop Skid

Two of the in-form teams in the NBA will face off in what should be an exciting matchup for our seven-game slate tomorrow.

The Lakers are riding on a seven-game winning streak while the Thunder continue their torrid run since the month of December.

On the other side of the fence, the Celtics hit a snag with a three-game losing streak, while the Bulls and the Cavaliers continue to languish in the Eastern Conference.

SBOTOP provides a preview for these games.

 

Minnesota Timberwolves @ Houston Rockets

Russell Westbrook made headlines in our NBA 2020 news when he returned to Oklahoma City the other day.

Although he scored 34 points in that game, his co-star in James Harden struggled with only 17 and they lost against OKC.

The Rockets will look to bounce back as they host the resurgent Timberwolves at the Toyota Center.

Minnesota have improved drastically despite missing the presence of Karl Anthony-Towns. Andrew Wiggins continues to shine in carrying the team’s offensive cudgels while other players such as Robert Covington, Shabazz Napier, and Gorgui Dieng did their part as well.

Many expected the Timberwolves to take a nosedive when they lost Towns, which is why seeing them still fighting is a refreshing sight if you’re head coach Ryan Saunders.

 

New Orleans Pelicans @ Boston Celtics

Boston are in the midst of a three-game funk and they are planning to end it tomorrow when they host New Orleans.

Since losing to the Wizards a few days ago, the Celtics suffered a double-digit loss in their game against the Spurs and Sixers.

The Pelicans are enjoying their most successful run of the season, having won eight of their last 11 after suffering a 13-game losing streak.

Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram have been superb for the Pelicans and they continue to hold the fort as we continue to wait for Zion Williamson’s NBA debut.

“He’s making progress. We’re trying to gauge exactly when it would be a good situation to put him out there. Even when we do, it’ll be very limited minutes to start,” said Alvin Gentry when asked about his rookie’s status.

 

Chicago Bulls @ Detroit Pistons

Two struggling teams in the East will face off tomorrow at the Little Caesars Arena as they try to find their form.

Detroit is currently focused on developing their young players in lieu of their growing injury list. Blake Griffin, Reggie Jackson, and Luke Kennard are some of their players who are yet to return to the hardwood.

Andre Drummond and Derrick Rose are expected to lead this squad as they try to make it to the postseason for the second straight season.

Zach Lavine will lead the Bulls to another NBA match, this time against the Pistons
Zach Lavine dunks the ball against the New Orleans Pelicans

Chicago also had their share of injured players as well. Wendell Carter Jr. was diagnosed with a right ankle sprain and is expected to miss more than a month’s worth of action. Otto Porter has missed most of the season with an injured foot.

It will be up for guys like Zach LaVine and Lauri Markkanen to carry the load as they try to snap their six-game losing streak.

 

Los Angeles Lakers @ Oklahoma City Thunder

Banana boat buddies LeBron James and Chris Paul will face off representing two of the league’s hottest teams.

The Lakers are at the top of the Western Conference with a 31-7 record while the Thunder are in the thick of the playoff race with a 22-16 slate.

These two teams met in back-to-back games last November where the Lakers have won both. Since then, OKC started to turn things around as they have gone 17-6.

LeBron James recently made history by passing Michael Jordan for fourth all-time in made field goals. He will continue to carry the load since Anthony Davis is recuperating from a back injury.

Chris Paul, meanwhile, has proven himself in the clutch for OKC by scoring a league-high 105 points down the stretch.

 

Philadelphia Sixers @ Dallas Mavericks

After facing LeBron James and Nikola Jokic over these past few days, the Mavericks this time will get to host the Sixers sans Joel Embiid.

Dallas’ odds of winning in this game may look good since Embiid’s out. However, the Sixers have proven that they could still be at their best even without their man in the middle.

Josh Richardson stepped up to the plate by unloading 29 points in their win against the Celtics while Ben Simmons added 19 points and nine rebounds as he tried to be their point centre at times.

Luka Doncic, of course, is the alpha dog for Dallas. He will carry much of the load especially since Kristaps Porzingis is sidelined.

 

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Denver Nuggets

Cleveland don’t seem to get a break these days. They just ended their five-game losing streak at Detroit, but they were embroiled with coaching controversy once more when John Beilein misspoke.

The rookie head coach reportedly used the word “thugs” to describe the lackadaisical play of his wards as of late, which may have rubbed off some the wrong way.

Beilein eventually apologized on the record and he explained that he meant to use the world “slugs” instead because of their slow pace.

The Nuggets, meanwhile, are sitting pretty at the West standings with a 26-11 record. However, they will miss the services of Paul Millsap due to a knee ailment.

 

Milwaukee Bucks @ Portland Trail Blazers

Giannis Antetokounmpo is still one of the leading candidates for MVP despite scoring a season-low 13 points in their win against Sacramento.

Khris Middleton and Eric Bledsoe picked up the slack by scoring 27 and 24 points, respectively, in the blowout win, which is why head coach Mike Budenholzer isn’t worried at all.

They will face a struggling Blazers squad who has lost seven of their last nine, and they will have a harder time to snap out of their funk with Hassan Whiteside listed as day-to-day due to an illness.

 

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