NBA: Los Angeles Lakers, Los Angeles Clippers and Boston Celtics to take to the floor
We’re into the final couple of the weeks of the regular NBA season. While we have a much clearer idea of the play-off picture, the seedings haven’t been determined. In this preview, we will look ahead to three crunch games: LA Clippers v LA Lakers, Phoenix Suns v New York Knicks, and Boston Celtics v Miami Heat, and take a look at potential talking points.
Los Angeles Lakers back to winning ways despite LeBron James absence
The Lakers had to dig deep earlier this week, as they arrested a three-game losing streak to sneak past the Denver Nuggets 93-89. Despite being without star man LeBron James, the Lakers got over the finishing line thanks to a sublime performance from Anthony Davis. After returning from a right calf strain a week ago, Davis shone.
Davis drained 25 points, and contributed seven rebounds, as well as three vitally-blocked shots. One of the blocked shots to prevent Facundo Campazzo from scoring with a 3-pointer was crucial as it helped seal victory for the Lakers. It was only their second win in their last eight outings in the NBA.
Lakers looking to make big moves
Although they had seen their form decline over the past few weeks, the Lakers will be in good spirits as they prepare to face crosstown rivals the Los Angeles Clippers in the early hours of Friday morning. Currently, the Lakers are fifth in the Western Conference standings with a 37-28 record, and they won’t want to finish below the Clippers this term.
Los Angeles Clippers eager to make amends after toughest week of season
Unlike the Lakers, who have a few days off, the Clippers will take on the Toronto Raptors in midweek. The past week has been the toughest of the Clippers’ season to date with three defeats on the bounce which came against the New Orleans Pelicans, Phoenix Suns, and Denver Nuggets. The Clippers will now want to finish the campaign as strongly as possible.
Phoenix Suns keeping the heat on Utah Jazz
The Suns are on a scorching hot run. Over the past week, they have clocked up four victories on the trot, including one over Friday night’s opponents the Knicks. However, things were considerably tighter against the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier this week as the Suns eked out a 123-120 win. Devin Booker came to the fore once again, pouring in 32 points.
Nevertheless, the Suns are in fantastic shape. Currently, they are second in the Western Conference standings, and they boast a 46-18 record. Their 71.9% win record is marginally lower than the Jazz, who have tasted victory in 72.3% of their games so far this campaign.
The Knicks have enjoyed a great campaign to date. Earlier this week, they ran out 118-104 winners over the Memphis Grizzlies. Julius Randle contributed 28 points in the victory, while Derrick Rose provided a season-high 25 points, and the Knicks have now won on 12 of their past 13 NBA outings. However, they will have to be at their absolute best to block out the Suns.
Boston Celtics waiting on Jaylen Brown news
The Celtics will be keeping their fingers crossed that Jaylen Brown hasn’t suffered a serious injury after colliding with teammate Jayson Tatum against the Portland Trail Blazers last weekend. The incident happened when Brown tried to engineer a turnover, but he ended up crashing on the floor with Tatum. Celtics fans will be hoping it is good news that comes out.
In the meantime, the Celtics will face off against the Miami Heat on Sunday evening. Only one place separates the two franchises in the Eastern Conference. The Heat sit in sixth, while the Celtics are seventh at the time of writing. The Heat have been impressive of late, and before they meet the Celtics, they will take on Western Conference strugglers the Minnesota Timberwolves.
We’re now in the phase of the season where we sort the competitors from the pretenders, so look out for plenty of movement in the standings and some freak score lines.