Detroit Pistons @ Charlotte Hornets
Charlotte Hornets (12-9) are looking reasonably strong after coming off a win on the road against the Dallas Mavericks, managing to fend off the home side despite Harrison Barnes putting on a nifty performance with a game high 29 points. This is only complemented by a day off, which means that Charlotte should be well rested. On the other hand, the Detroit Pistons (12-11) have also found some solid form. They are coming off a strong win at home against the Chicago Bulls, which was secured in part by Andre Drummond who had 15 points and 10 rebounds.
The last time these two teams met was on the 29th of November, where Detroit easily took control of the match winning 112-89 against the Hornets. This match will be much closer than last time and the Pistons (underdog) should be too strong for the Hornets (favourite) despite their subpar on-the-road record this season.
Cleveland Cavaliers @ New York Knicks
Cleveland Cavaliers (14-5) are leading the Eastern Conference currently, yet have suffered a recent buffering in form, winning only two of their last five games. Despite this, they should be feeling confident after an on-the-road win against strong Eastern Conference competitors the Toronto Raptors last night. New York Knicks (12-9) have struck some strong form as of late, holding a four-game winning streak following an expected win on-the-road over a depleted Miami Heat last night by 11 points. Camelo Anthony had a strong performance, amassing an impressive 35 points, yet is likely to find it more challenging in a match-up against Lebron James. Despite this, the Knicks will have a home court advantage as they look to continue their win-streak and correct the wrong-doings which led to their previous loss to the Cavaliers back in October.
The last time these two teams met in Cleveland, it was nothing short of a blow-out with the Cavaliers sweeping the floor in a 117-88 victory. Nonetheless, the Knicks will have the home court advantage this game and could test the recent slump in form experienced by the champions. One major downfall for the Knicks is a back spasm suffered by Derrick Rose, which will allow Kyrie Irving some room to exploit as the Cavs look to secure their position at the top of the Eastern Conference. Additionally, if Lebron James can pressure Camelo Anthony, it would seem unlikely the Knicks will be able to prevail unless they keep the Big 3 Cavaliers stars of Lebron James, Kyrie Irving and Kevin Love to minimal points. Cavaliers to continue their 8 game win streak over the Knicks in their upcoming game.
Golden State Warriors @ Los Angeles Clippers
Golden State Warriors (18-3) are sitting at the top of the Western Conference at the moment, maintaining impressive form which was put on display in their most recent game against the Indiana Pacers where they dissembled them in a 142-106 thrashing. This win saw the a 60-point game from the in-form Klay Thompson, along with the other big name stars such as Steph Curry, Kevin Durrant, Draymond Green and strong performers off the bench. The Warriors should look to build on their two-game win streak on-the-road against the strong Western Conference contenders in the Los Angeles Clippers. Los Angeles Clippers (16-6) have struggled to find recent form, losing three of their last five games, of which included the latest loss to the Indiana Pacers at home, in a small yet significant score line of 102-111. Despite this loss to much weaker Western Conference contender, Blake Griffin played well securing a double-double with 24 points and 16 rebounds, whilst Chris Paul also played well with 18 points and DeAndre Jordan secured 15 boards. Whether losses despite well-rounded performances from star members of the team is cause for concern is yet to be seen, nevertheless the Clippers will definitely be looking to bounce back in a big way with their home court advantage.
The Golden State Warriors are performing strongly, it would take a substantial effort for the Los Angeles Clippers to break their slump in form enough to usurp the reigning leaders of the Western Conference. This would require slowing or halting Klay Thompsons hot-streak with a strong match-up, of which the Clippers are unable to provide, along with big defensive efforts by Chris Paul on Steph Curry, and exploitation of the strong post performances which Blake Griffin and De Andre Jordan bring. Golden State Warriors will be able to fend off the Los Angeles Clippers and continue their recent form.
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