Our NBA Tips for the Weekend - 12/02/22

nba basketball james

James Budgen

Memphis Grizzlies @ Charlotte Hornets

Two first time all-star point guards will be facing off against each other with Ja Morant and LaMelo Ball leading two of the youngest teams in the NBA to positions higher than anyone would have predicted of them at the start of the season.

The Grizzlies have been a sensational watch this season, with many exciting young talents ripping through the league, winning 20 of their last 24 games, which has them as the third seed in the Western Conference and still improving with each game.

The Hornets, after playing most of the season with hopes of avoiding a play-in spot, have slipped as of late, losing their last six games against very tough opposition that has seen them drop to the ninth seed in the Eastern Conference.

It hasn’t helped that one of their best players Gordon Hayward has been ruled out indefinitely with an ankle injury, but they made some business at the trade deadline, acquiring former sixth man of the year, Montrezl Harrell, which will provide a boost off their bench but it may not be enough to beat a surging Grizzlies team.

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Philadelphia 76ers

Two of the best teams in the Eastern Conference are facing off against each other for the first time this season, with three more meetings still to come, with the 76ers new-look roster with the acquisition of former-MVP James Harden making them title challengers.

This game will be the first tough test that Harden and Joel Embiid will be facing as this Cleveland team is young, hard-working, and extremely talented which now has them third-placed in the East, only 1.5 games back of the 1st seeded Miami Heat.

It may take a couple of games for Harden and Embiid to get their chemistry together with them having very unique styles that could take some time to become acclimated to each other.

Added to that, coming up against a Cleveland side that has the second-best defensive rating in the league and with their frontcourt of Evan Mobley and Jarrett Allen becoming one of the most formidable defensive partners in the league, this could cause trouble for the newly formed star duo.

Los Angeles Lakers @ Golden State Warriors

Two teams who didn’t make any moves at the trade deadline for different reasons, with the Warriors 2nd in the Western Conference, they felt they didn’t need to make trades, whilst the Lakers wanted to make some moves with their season looking gloomy, but weren’t able to make moves with their players not getting any interest from other teams.

The Lakers have one of the best duos in the league with Anthony Davis and LeBron James, but their surrounding cast, including former-MVP Russel Westbrook, who hasn’t helped the team this season with them currently placed ninth in the West, losing 11 of their last 16 games.

The Warriors, on the other hand, have exceeded expectations this season as they are second in the West, with the best defensive rating in the league, and before losing their last two games, they were on a nine-game winning streak.

The Lakers have a terrible record against teams above .500, winning only seven times in 22 games, whilst the Warriors have won 19 of the 25 games they have played against below .500 teams, making them the favourites for this game.

Atlanta Hawks @ Boston Celtics

One of the best offensive teams in the NBA in the Atlanta Hawks are facing one of the best defensive teams in the NBA in the Boston Celtics, with Hawks having the second best offensive rating, with the fourth-worst defensive rating, whereas the Celtics have the third-best defensive rating and 16th best offensive rating.

Both teams have improved as the season has gone after horrendous starts for both teams, with the Celtics winning eight of their last nine games, while the Hawks have won nine of their last 12 games.

It will be a very even matchup, but they have played each other twice this season, with the Hawks winning both games by over 10 points, including their meeting two weeks ago, where despite both teams all-star players, Trae Young and Jayson Tatum, shot under 32% from the field, but the Hawks depth was able to get them the win, which could again prove crucial in this fixture.

Sacramento Kings @ Washington Wizards

This is a game between two teams who have made massive acquisitions at the trade deadline, with the Kings controversially trading their young guard Tyrese Haliburton for two-time all-star centre Domantas Sabonis, and the Wizards trading for one time all-star Kristaps Porzingis.

Sabonis has already played a game for the Kings, winning over the up and coming Minnesota Timberwolves, where he and his next best player scored over 20 points, with the Kings hoping to make a run for the play-in tournament.

The Wizards have traded for Porzingis, who has missed the last six games for the Dallas Mavericks, and after the news of their three-time all-star guard, Bradley Beal will miss the rest of the season, their roster will be very thin for this game and therefore giving the Kings a good chance to get their run for the play-in tournament started.

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