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NBA Incoming: Previewing the Week Ahead (Jan. 7)

After a week that saw the return of Dirk Nowitzki, the end of the Los Angeles Clippers’ unbelievable 17-game winning streak, Kevin Love go down with injury again, and even more quandaries surrounding the Los Angeles Lakers, BettingSports.com sits down and picks out the gems on this week’s NBA schedule.

Boston Celtics at New York Knicks (Monday)

Boston may have had a tough time of it early in the season but the Celtics remain in the hunt for the postseason and therefore continue to be a threat.

Whilst Boston (16-17, 6-11 road) may not be enjoying the Atlantic Division-leading season many expected, and while New York (23-10, 13-3 home) appears to be stumbling after a red hot start to the season, Monday night’s clash at Madison Square Garden is sure to be an intense affair.

New York scored a big victory over San Antonio on Thursday, snapping a streak of five losses in eight games. A win over Orlando on Saturday went someway to righting the ship completely. But the Celtics will be a tough out.

Boston pulled off an impressive come-from-behind win on Saturday, decimating the Hawks in the third quarter after trailing by double-digits. The game marked a second straight win, ending a four-game skid. A win for the resilient Celtics will move the side back to .500.

This will be the first of four meetings between these old rivals this season.

Miami Heat at Indiana Pacers (Tuesday)

Currently holding off Chicago for the Central Division lead, Indiana (20-14, 12-3 home) will get a chance to enhance its playoff prospects with the visit of the defending champions on Tuesday.

The Pacers have found ways to win in the absence of leading scorer, Danny Granger (knee), and a win over the Heat would further propel the side forward as it looks for a top four finish in the Eastern Conference.

Miami (23-9, 7-6 road) meanwhile continues to pace the conference with a marginal lead over the Knicks, but there are still certain question marks hanging over the team. The Heat has gone 7-6 on the road this season, a record that could prove problematic in Indianapolis on Tuesday as the Pacers are 12-3 at home. Now would be a good time for LeBron James and Co. to bolster its road record, particularly as the next six are away from AmericanAirlines Arena.

Milwaukee Bucks at Chicago Bulls (Wednesday)

Monta Ellis and the Milwaukee Bucks have had a solid start to the season but divisional wins are needed if they're to secure a playoff berth.

Like Indiana, Chicago (18-13, 9-8 home) is also finding ways to win without its star player, but whilst Derrick Rose (ACL) has increased his practice regime, the Bulls will look to overtake the Pacers in the Central.

Milwaukee (16-16, 7-8 road) has been one of the surprise stories in the East early this season, but the team stand at an important junction in its season. The Bucks need to string together a good winning streak, not only to snap their current four-game skid but also to gain ground on Indiana and Chicago before their injured stars return.

One of the areas Milwaukee can improve on is its play within the division. Currently 5-4 against Central opponents, a win over Chicago on Wednesday would be a step in the right direction. The two sides have split a pair of meetings this season, with each game going to the road team.

San Antonio Spurs at Memphis Grizzlies (Friday)

In the first of Friday’s two marquee Western Conference matchups, San Antonio (27-9, 13-7 road) travels to Memphis (21-10, 13-4 home) in a battle of the top teams in the Southwest Division.

The Spurs handed the Grizzlies a 99-95 loss on Dec. 1, and will look to do the same at FedExForum, closing the gap between themselves and the Clippers and Thunder in the process. Currently sat in the No. 4 spot, Memphis will be looking to narrow the gap on all of the above.

The Grizzlies have enjoyed a solid season so far, but there’s no denying that a win over San Antonio will prove beneficial down the line, particularly with two games, and a potential playoff series, remaining between the sides.

Oklahoma City Thunder at Los Angeles Lakers (Friday)

The Lakers' woes continue and with games against San Antonio and Oklahoma City this week, things could be about to get even worse.

Regardless of the record posted by the Los Angeles Lakers (15-18, 10-8 home), this matchup is an NBA floor-filler. Any time the two sides expected to contest the Western Conference championship meet, people will be watching. The much-troubled Lakers will hope things go better the second time around.

Oklahoma City (26-7, 9-4 road) scored a 114-108 victory over the Lakers on Dec. 7, for the early advantage in this four-game season series. That loss sparked a four-game losing streak which, believe it or not, is the Lakers’ worst stint of the season. Of course, with games in Houston and San Antonio before Friday and a current three-game losing streak, the Lakers could be riding a worse streak than that by the time Kevin Durant and Co. enter the Staples Center.

Oklahoma City continues to set the pace in the NBA following the end of the Clippers’ 17-game winning streak. A professional Thunder team may treat this one like any other team, but there’s no way the team won’t be delighted to add to the Lakers’ misery.


Upcoming NBA Schedule

Mon 7: OKC @ WAS | BOS @ NYK | CLE @ CHI | SAS @ NOH | DAL @ UTA | MEM @ SAC | ORL @ POR

Tue 8: BKN @ PHI | MIA @ IND | PHX @ MIL | LAL @ HOU | ATL @ MIN

Wed 9: PHI @ TOR | UTA @ CHA | ATL @ CLE | PHX @ BOS | MIL @ CHI | HOU @ NOH | LAL @ SAS | MIN @ OKC | ORL @ DEN | DAL @ LAC | MEM @ GSW

Thu 10: NYK @ IND | DAL @ SAC | MIA @ POR

Fri 11: CHA @ TOR | HOU @ BOS | PHX @ BKN | UTA @ ATL | CHI @ NYK | SAS @ MEM | MIN @ NOH | DET @ MIL | CLE @ DEN | OKC @ LAL | POR @ GSW

Sat 12: ORL @ LAC | ATL @ WAS | CHA @ IND | HOU @ PHI | UTA @ DET | PHX @ CHI | MEM @ DAL | MIA @ SAC

Sun 13: NOH @ NYK | MIL @ TOR | IND @ BKN | MIN @ SAS | GSW @ DEN | OKC @ POR | CLE @ LAL

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