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NBA Preview: 13th November

WE’RE ready for another busy Saturday in the NBA as we take a look at the best value on offer from across the league.

Just the two standout games so let’s lock these in and keep the good season rolling;

Milwaukee Bucks @ Boston Celtics

The Bucks continue a tough stretch with a trip to the TD Garden to face a Boston team that is beginning to find it’s identity under new head coach Ime Udoka.

Milwaukee are still without the services of Khris Middleton and Brook Lopez, which coupled with the fatigue accumulated by their current rotation this week should make it difficult for Mike Budenholzer’s team to execute against what is a very good Boston defence.

The home team suffered a slow and stagnant start to the campaign and while the absence of Jaylen Brown is certainly a big blow for the team it’s fair to say they’re beginning to buy into their new identity.

This match up does serve some notable advantages for them on the court as well. The starting front court of Al Horford and Robert Williams will present an uncomfortable matchup for Milwaukee to have to deal with defensively – especially if they’re going to start Giannis Antetokounmpo at the centre position to begin.

The Bucks offence has been reliant on strong contributions from their perimeter shooters, which won’t be an easy task against a Boston defence that is 3rd in opponent 3-point FG% on the season and are currently 6th in opponent EFG%.

The Celtics are also top-10 in transition defence efficiency, which they’ll need to do well to help contain this Milwaukee offence.

Boston’s offence is the natural concern with Brown unavailable and the reliance still on Jayson Tatum to create his own offence at times, but the ball movement has improved of late and the team is generating better looks from the field as a result.

Given the spot and the injuries for Milwaukee it’s tough to see them putting forth their best efforts here. Money has come in on Boston for good reason, but they’re still a good price at evens or better.

Our best bet: Boston Celtics win

Portland Trail Blazers @ Houston Rockets

The Blazers will look to secure their first win on the road when they travel to face league-worst Houston.

We haven’t seen Portland play with any consistency to start this season, highlighted by the rather dour play of All-Star point guard Damian Lillard.

This game likely won’t be as easy as it may appear on paper for Chauncey Billups’ team either given this is their third road game in four nights, having played in LA and Phoenix prior to arriving in Houston.

The red-flags for the Blazers are obvious; the team is still a bottom-tier defence and the lack of development at that end of the floor is hindering the team’s ability to put together a string of positive results.

While Houston are undeniably a poor team across the board they do own some particular matchup advantages that they may be able to exploit – especially against a team who is 28th in opponent EFG% and 24th in points allowed per 100 possessions.

Houston lead the league in shot frequency at the rim, which may pay dividends against a Portland team who still doesn’t have a traditional rim protector. Jusuf Nurkic doesn’t look as able bodied defensively since returning from a multitude of injuries and that’s allowed teams to attack the basket relentlessly and with a degree of success as well.

Christian Wood should be active and efficient as a result, which in turn should help free up space on the perimeter against a Blazers defence that also ranks 28th in opponent 3-point FG% so far this season.

My number for this game is closer to a 4.5 so we’re getting a nice number here for Houston who despite their lacklustre roster should be able to stay active against a tiring Portland team that doesn’t command this level of respect while they search for their first road win.

Our best bet: Houston Rockets +6.5 


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