NBA Preview: Saturday Double-Header

Back-to-back blockbusters are on our screens this Saturday

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Our NBA preview focuses on another huge double-header this Saturday.

Two genuine heavyweights will do battle in the East before LeBron’s Lakers welcome Anthony Davis to town.

Milwaukee Bucks @ Boston Celtics

The Celtics will be breathing fire after dropping their second straight game – this one to the lowly Phoenix Suns at home – on Thursday. Boston’s 18-12 record has them sitting in 5th right now, but for a team that was $1.70 to claim the East in the pre-season, it’s been a slow start to the campaign.

Milwaukee have been one of the teams that has taken a big step in the 2018/19 season. A 21-9 record has them tied on losses with the Raptors on top of the East, and their 117.8ppg and +8.8 points differential both lead the NBA. Giannis Antetokounmpo simply must be considered as the early MVP favourite after a dominant start to the year.

The Numbers

Odds: x x with Ladbrokes

Boston

Overall Record: 18-12
Home: 9-4
Avg. Points For: 111.2
Avg. Points Against: 104.3

Milwaukee

Overall Record: 21-9
Away Record: 7-6
Avg. Points For: 117.8
Avg. Points Against: 109

Marquee Matchup

Kyrie Irving (Boston) vs Eric Bledsoe (Milwaukee)

The silky Celtics guard has been excellent so far this season, averaging 22.7ppg to go with 4.8rpg and 6.3apg. What’s more, Irving is shooting the ball at over 48% from the field and 83% at the line. The NBA Champion has been stellar in leading a Boston side that has struggled for consistency.

Meanwhile Bledsoe has also boosted his career numbers this season, putting up 16.2ppg, 4.3rpg and 5.9apg while shooting the ball at a little over 50% from the floor. Bledsoe’s last five games, where the Bucks are 4-1, have been even better with 17.6ppg, 5.4rpg and 6apg, while only committing 1.6 turnovers in that time as well.

Putting It All Together

Both sides enjoy the comforts of their home gym, and after dropping a game at home to the Suns, you can expect Boston will  be on the front foot here.

That said, the Bucks are no pushovers and probably enter the contest in the better form, winning their last three contests.

They will need to overcome an up-and-down road record and a Celtics side that will be eager to atone for a putrid performance on Thursday, which could be a tough ask.

Either way we’ve got a tantalising match-up and possible playoffs preview in front of us.

New Orleans Pelicans @ Los Angeles Lakers

The Lakers’ season has hit a snag with three losses from their past four games, while the Pelicans find themselves have lost six of 10 amid injuries and find themselves languishing in 13th in the West.

Nikola Mirotic and Julius Randle come in under injury clouds, while superstar Anthony Davis also sent a scare through the camp against the Bucks but managed to return to the court in the second half.

The Numbers

Odds: x x with Ladbrokes

Los Angeles

Overall Record: 18-13
Home: 11-4
Avg. Points For: 113.3
Avg. Points Against: 111.7

New Orleans

Overall Record: 15-17
Away Record: 4-12
Avg. Points For: 116.7
Avg. Points Against: 115.3

Marquee Matchup

LeBron James (Los Angeles) vs Julius Randle (New Orleans)

What else can you say about LeBron? At 34 years of age, King James is averaging a remarkable 28ppg, 7.9rpg and 7apg in his first season with the Lakers. That production has dropped ever so slightly over the past five games, of which LA has won just two.

Randle is having a stellar year for the Pelicans, averaging 19.3ppg and 9.5rpg to go with a handful of assists. His role looks to be coming off the bench but with Nikola Mirotic out in recent times, Randle has assumed a starting position. His teammates will be sweating on an ankle injury that kept him out of their loss to the Bucks on Thursday.

Putting It All Together

LeBron’s Lakers have performed as expected to date, sitting above .500 without setting the world on fire with a roster full of young talent and older role players.

Winning and losing runs are always going to happen in basketball, and especially to a team with so many young guys, but it’s about how they bounce back from those results that will determine their fortunes this season.

That starts with protecting their home court against teams below them.

The Pelicans have been hampered by injuries yet again this season and will need their pieces back on the floor if they are to make a playoff run. Right now they’re not healthy and a trip to LA to meet LeBron isn’t ideal.

With only a quarter of the season complete, there is still plenty of time to get on board with NBA Specials and First Halves.

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