After an entertaining day of Christmas day games, we head into another full week of NBA action with some solid matchups on deck. The Warriors put on an impressive performance on Christmas day against the Suns on the road, but then turned around and lost to the Nuggets last night. Teams across the league are still battling having consistent lineups on a consistent basis so depth will play an important factor throughout the course of the regular season. Several notable players that have been out of the league for a while like Joe Johnson Isaiah Thomas, Lance Stephenson, and Brandon Knight are all back on rosters as teams struggle to put up competitive rosters. If you are just getting caught up on this year’s NBA action, head over to our strategies page for a thorough breakdown.
The Nets are still the heavy NBA title favorite due to the fact that they play in the East where their road to the NBA finals will likely be much easier than the Warriors or Suns. The Nets will still have to get through the Bucks, who they struggled against last season as they have the one player in the league, Giannis, that could slow down Kevin Durant. The Bucks at +700 seem like a great value here as they should continue to get better as the season goes on.
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The Hawks have had a disappointing start to the season after a nice playoff run last season and will look need to turn things around soon in a crowded Eastern Conference as they sit 16-18 and are 11th in the East but are only a couple of games back of the 6th seeded Sixers who are 18-16. The Bulls have been one of the top stories in the league so far this year and are right behind the Nets at 2nd in the East. Billy Donovan likes to push the tempo and he has the perfect type of roster led by Lavar Ball and Zach Levine in the frontcourt and the experienced DeMar Derozan having one of the best seasons of his career.
The Grizzlies pulled off a big win over the Suns earlier this week and have another opportunity against the big market Lakers. The Grizz often get overlooked playing in small market Memphis but have one of the best young players in Ja Morant and a solid supporting cast with all 5 starters in double figures. The Grizzlies are 21-14 and are currently the 4 seed and will be a team to keep an eye on come playoff time. The Lakers are 17-18 but have moved into the 7 seed in the West as the second-tier teams in the West struggle with consistency. The Lakers have not had their full roster healthy all season and they will probably add another player or two before the deadline. If the Lakers can hang around the 5-7 seed and add some perimeter shooting, they could make a run later in the season and be a team that the Warriors and Suns would hope to avoid in the playoffs.
The Nets received some big news in the last week when it was announced that Kyrie Irving would be cleared to play in road games and with the current status of covid cases throughout the league even among vaccinated players, you have to wonder if he will be eligible to play in home games again before the season ends. The Nets were already having a great year as Durant and Harden are both finally healthy and when you add in Irving the Nets have the best big 3 in the league and will be very difficult to beat in the East. The Sixers have played well against some of the top teams in the conference but have struggled with injuries and consistency all year. Joel Embiid is having one of his best statistical seasons and the Sixers should get a nice player back before the trade deadline once Ben Simmons is finally moved.
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