Our NBA Tips for the Weekend 29/01/22

NBA

James Budgen

Brooklyn Nets @ Golden State Warriors

This game could be a preview of what is to come in the NBA finals, but for now, both teams are currently short-handed with key players missing.

The Nets are currently without MVP frontrunner, Kevin Durant, whilst the Warriors are without defensive Player of the Year frontrunner, Draymond Green.

Their last matchup in Brooklyn was a massive statement win for the Warriors, as they completely snuffed out both Durant and James Harden, whilst Stephen Curry scored 37 points, including nine three-pointers, which has been the opposite of what he has been able to do recently.

Curry has really struggled with his shot the past couple of months, but it has been helped with the return of Klay Thompson who has done decently well despite being injured for two and a half years.

With the Nets on a three-game losing streak coming into this game, and Harden missing their last game due to a tight hamstring, they may lack the offensive firepower to beat a Warriors team on their home court.

Denver Nuggets @ Milwaukee Bucks

Two MVP frontrunners in Nikola Jokic and Giannis Antetekounmpo will be facing off for the first time this season, with Jokic missing their previous meeting through injury. Not only are these two players great players, but they are also very unique in their playing style which has made them so popular in the NBA.

Jokic - despite having his best two teammates out injured - has been putting up extraordinary numbers this season, whilst keeping his team in playoff contention, averaging 26 points, 14 rebounds and 8 assists, with the highest player efficiency rating in the league.

Despite the Bucks dropping from their normal standards recently, it hasn’t affected Giannis getting his stats up, shown in their loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers, where he scored 26 points in 29 minutes against one of the best paint defending teams in the league.

Los Angeles Lakers @ Atlanta Hawks

Two teams whose seasons haven’t gone to plan so far will be facing off, with the LA Lakers, who had title aspirations at the start of the season, are floundering around the eighth seed, whilst the Hawks, who made the Eastern Conference Finals last season, have a below 500 record, which has left them chasing a Playoff spot.

The Lakers have had a recent boost with the return of Anthony Davis, who not only is their second leading scorer, but he is their defensive anchor. His switchability and rim protection is a massive boost for a team which relies on him defensive, with their roster full of inconsistent defenders.

The Hawks have been improving recently, with some good recent wins against title contenders, such as the Miami Heat and Milwaukee Bucks, with Trae Young playing a lot better offensively to cover for his teams’ defensive limitations.

Utah Jazz @ Memphis Grizzlies

This game is a big game in terms of seeding for the playoffs, with the third-seeded Memphis Grizzlies taking on the fourth-seeded Utah Jazz, where if the Grizzlies win this game, they will have the winning advantage over the Jazz, which will give them the higher seeding if they have the same record.

Led by the young star point guard, Ja Morant, the Grizzlies have been one of the most surprising and best teams in the league this season, their play, especially on the defensive end has been very impressive for such a young team, and with their depth slowly returning from injury, they could cause trouble for the Jazz.

The Jazz may be short-handed for this game though, with Donavon Mitchell potentially out with a concussion and Rudy Gobert also potentially out with a calf injury. With the Jazz missing their two best players, whilst also losing nine of their last 11 games, it is unlikely the Jazz will be able to compete with the Grizzlies in this game.

Toronto Raptors @ Miami Heat

The first-seeded Miami Heat will be facing the ninth-seeded Toronto Raptors, with the Heat looking to extend their lead at the top of the conference, whilst the Raptors are looking to cement themselves in a play-in spot for the playoffs.

Miami have managed to become the first seed in the East despite missing key players for most of the season, but that could change now as Kyle Lowry (who's been missing recently for personal reasons) could line up with other star players Jimmy Butler and Bam Adebayo for the first time since the start of the season.

The Raptors started the new year with a six-game winning streak, but have since stumbled, losing six of their last nine games, four of which they were held under 100 points, which isn’t enough for a team ranked 20th in defensive rating, but it could be helped with the potential return of Fred VanVleet, who has missed their last two games.

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