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NBA Preview: 23 October

AFTER a nice opening day winner we get ready to back things up on a busy Saturday in the NBA.

Toronto Raptors @ Boston Celtics

TORONTO make a quick stop over in Boston before returning home for a nice five-game home stand as they look to shrug off a horrible performance their season opener.

That Raptors couldn’t have shot the ball worse to start the season and their struggles from beyond the arc in particular should be somewhat rectified on their second night out.

They do, however, have a slight reprieve catching the Celtics after off a double OT thriller against the Knicks on a night where Boston’s starters logged far more minutes than they would like to start the season.

The Celtics had more than their fair share of opportunities to come away with the W and the team showed promising signs for the season to come. A balanced scoring attack and a scintillating Jaylen Brown are welcome signs to the Boston faithful. Jayson Tatum’s struggles from the field were a slight dampener on the overall mood but is ultimately a non-concern in the long run.

While the overall trajectory of the team continues to point upwards it’s a difficult task to back up after such a tolling game and it’ll be interesting to see how Brown responds in this one after almost missing opening night with COVID.

While I do expect the Celtics to win, this is far too many points to be laying with a short-handed bench on the back of big minutes.

My rating make this line closer to Celtics -3.0, which gives us a nice edge on the Raptors +6.5 at the moment.

Your best bet: Toronto Raptors +6.5

Phoenix Suns @ LA Lakers

PHOENIX hit the road on a short two-game back-to-back as they head to the Staples Center to take on the Lakers in a rematch of their opening round playoff encounter from last season.

Both teams will feel an urgency to respond positively after disappointing opening day showings, but it’s the Lakers loss that was far more condemning of the two.

The production we saw from Anthony Davis and LeBron James, while incredible, isn’t sustainable on a nightly basis given their need to properly manage their bodies. The fact that the pair combined for 67/22/7 on 57% from the field and the team still wasn’t able to secure a win is certainly cause for concern in LA despite it being so early in the season.

The Lakers looked lost offensively, particularly in the half court, and this is where the Suns will stifle this offence and take advantage of their shortcomings.

Deandre Ayton and Devin Booker were both excellent in last season’s playoff series and the latter will certainly look to respond after a lacklustre showing on opening night. Frank Vogel will need to find the best approach for this team defensively and while the implementation to blitz Steph Curry and force others to score looked to be successful for the most part against the Warriors they won’t have that same success against a much more rounded offensive lineup in Phoenix.

My numbers make the Suns a -2.0 point favourite in this spot so grabbing them at a favourable price to win outright is a great piece of value today.

Your best bet: Phoenix Suns win


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