Thursday Night Lights
After Wednesday night’s NBA action that saw the Pacers topple the Knicks in the battle of the Eastern conference playoff contenders, we’re bringing you our predictions for Thursday night’s action… to the baseline!
Miami Heat @ Chicago Bulls
The Heat continued to blaze through the regular season on Wednesday night with a 103-90 win over Atlanta and tonight they’ll look to extend their regular season winning streak to nine consecutive games when they face the Bulls.
However, they’ll have to defeat the Bulls on the road in the regular season for the first time in almost three years.
Miami tend to struggle against Chicago, scoring 91.0 points per game while dropping six of the last eight regular-season meetings, including a 96-89 home defeat back in January.
Nonetheless, this should not be a problem for Miami in their current form. They’ve built a five-game lead on second-place New York at the top of the Eastern conference and are showing every indication they can widen the gap further as they bid to retain as NBA championship.
The Heat’s eight game winning-streak has seen them average 107.6 points with a 51.4 shooting percentage, 39.8 from behind the arc. They last won nine in a row from 10th February to 10 March 2012.
The Heat’s only concern may be whether Chris Bosh can step his game up after only making 2 from 10 against the Hawks on Wednesday. His current beef with rapper Lil’ Wayne may be an unwelcome distraction, but for a professional sportsman it shouldn’t make A Milli-scule of difference.
The Bulls are looking to win back-to-back games for the first time since January after emerging from the break to beat New Orleans 96-87 on Tuesday.
They’ll be hoping the timely return of Derrick rose from injury should be enough to secure their playoff push as they currently sit fifth in the Eastern conference.
This game is a tough one to call, but we’re going to back the Heat to go on a nine game winning streak at -160.
San Antonio Spurs @ LA Clippers
Chris Paul scooped the All-star game MVP at the weekend and will want to continue leading the way as he did when the sides met in November securing 19 points and eight assists.
Paul’s Clippers rolled into the break with four consecutive victories by an average of 16.2 points and they sit third in the West behind San Antonio (43-12) and Oklahoma City (39-15).
But it’s Blake Griffin who’s done most of his damage at home against the Spurs, averaging 24.8 points and 12.8 rebounds in the past five meetings in Los Angeles.
The Spurs will have to look a limiting Griffin’s influence if they stand any chance whilst also attempting to disrupt the Clippers defense.
The Clippers are averaging 110.0 points while hitting 52.7 percent from the field during their four-game win streak. They’ll also look to gain an advantage on the glass after outrebounding San Antonio 98-71 in the first two meetings.
Not to be outdone, Parker is the Spurs leading scorer with 21.0 points per game and is having one of his best spells of the season with a 29 point average in his last five games.
The Clippers have already beaten the Spurs twice this season home and away, but that was still in first month of the season and since then a lot has changed.
This should remain a close game but the Clippers are tough to beat at home, so despite the Spurs have the best road record in the NBA, we’re backing the Clippers at -155.