Our NBA Tips for the Weekend - 12/3/22

DeRozan Chicago Bulls NBA

James Budgen

Milwaukee Bucks @ Golden State Warriors

Two of the best teams and players in the league are facing off against each other, with the third seed in the Western Conference, the Golden State Warriors, led by two time MVP Stephen Curry, going up against the reigning champions in Milwaukee Bucks led by reigning finals MVP Giannis Antetekounmpo.

This is their second and final meeting of the regular season, with their previous meeting in Milwaukee being a blowout win for the home team, with the Bucks winning 118-99, with Milwaukee holding Curry to only 12 points, whereas Antetekoumpo was able to take advantage of the Warriors missing their best defender, Draymond Green, and put up a 30 point triple-double.

Despite struggling through January and February, the Bucks have got back to winning ways, winning their last six games, seeing them rise to the second seed in the Eastern Conference, while the Warriors, despite winning their last two games, are struggling without Draymond Green, which has seen them lose nine of their last 13 games.

Dallas Mavericks @ Boston Celtics

The Dallas Mavericks are travelling to Boston where two of the best defences in the NBA will meet, with the Boston Celtics, the team with the third-best defensive rating, winning 15 of their last 17 games, while the Mavericks, who have the league’s fifth-best defensive rating, have won 11 of their last 14 games.

A reason the Mavericks have shot up the rankings in recent months has been the improved play of their star player Luka Doncic, since the start of February, he is averaging 34.2 points, the most in the league in this period, 10.2 rebounds and 8.1 assists, all without a teammate close to being an all-star candidate.

Whilst their defence has been elite for a while, the Celtics have started to win games of late because their offence has started firing, with star Jayson Tatum being exceptional recently, averaging 33.6 points in his last ten games, which has seen some great games, scoring 54 points and 44 points in back to back games.

Cleveland Cavaliers @ Chicago Bulls

Two top Eastern Conference teams ravaged by injuries are facing off, with both teams struggling to keep up with the season’s demands as of late, with the sixth-seeded Cavaliers losing six of their last nine games, and the fourth-seeded Bulls losing five of their last six.

Despite struggling, the Bulls are one of the most entertaining teams in the league, which is shown by their stats in 2022, they have a 116 offensive rating this year, which would rank second in the league, whilst having a 116.9 defensive rating, which would rank worst in the league, making their games very entertaining with star players Zach LaVine and DeMar DeRozan putting on offensive shows every time they play.

The Cavaliers have been one of the feel-good stories this season, with their young players leading a team to one of the top seeds in the conference, but recent injuries to Jarrett Allen, Carius LeVert and Rajon Rondo has seen major struggles, but despite injury problems, their young point guard Darius Garland has been on fire, with his last game, scoring 41 points and providing 13 assists giving more reasoning to his deserved all-star selection this season.

Los Angeles Lakers @ Phoenix Suns

Two teams with similar expectations coming into the season, and having complete opposite seasons are facing battle, as the ninth-seeded Los Angeles Lakers, without Anthony Davis, are facing the first-seeded Phoenix Suns, who are without Chris Paul.

People thought that after the all-star break, the Lakers might start to click into form, but that has gone out of the window fast, in the seven games since the break, they have lost six of them, with the one game they won, LeBron James had to pull out an all-time performance at 37 years old, scoring 56 points in their win over the Warriors.

Despite losing their star point guard Chris Paul, and another star guard Devin Booker for a few games, the Suns have kept up some form, winning five of their eight games without Chris Paul, with their losses coming against some of the most in-form teams in the league.

Toronto Raptors @ Denver Nuggets

Both the Raptors and Nuggets have the same objective for the remainder of the regular season, they are both trying to avoid the play-in tournament and qualify automatically for the play-offs, with the Raptors currently having to chase for the sixth-seed, whereas the Nuggets are looking to defend the sixth-seed.

The Nuggets have been forced into this position due to their injuries to Michael Porter Jr and Jamal Murray, but despite their injuries, reigning MVP Nikola Jokic has carried his team to a great position in the standings, averaging 26.1 points, 13.9 rebounds and 8.1 assists per game, and is in a great position to retain his MVP status.

Despite starting the year really well and looking to move up into the top six seeds, the Raptors' progress has halted lately, as they have lost seven of their last 11 games, with their offence really struggling, they have averaged an offensive rating of 111.9 this season, but in their last 11 games, it has fallen to 105, which has caused a dip in their form.

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