Coming out of the All-Star break we have two clear table toppers in both conferences. The Raptors and Celtics with 41 and 42 wins respectively lead the Eastern Conference. The Rockets and the Warriors lead the Western Conference with 46 wins each.
Three of these teams are playing in prime time this week as they look to extend the gap on the competition. Boston travelling to Houston headlines these cracker matchups.
Toronto Raptors @ Washington Wizards – Saturday 12:00
Washington is in a surprisingly strong position at this stage in the season. The Wizards sit fourth, just behind the Cavaliers but have recently upset LeBron and co. However, there are issues surrounding the Wizards at the moment. Star guards, Bradley Beal and John Wall aren’t the best of friends and franchise point guard John Wall is getting under certain teammates’ skin.
The Raptors on the other hand are high flying at the moment. DeRozan has been a beast and Kyle Lowry is doing his best to earn the bumper contract he’s on. DeRozan’s 24 points per game have been enough recently winning eight of their last nine.
The Wizards have gone back to grass roots basketball, linking up well and getting their passing numbers and assists up. The Wizards may be out of their league here though. Expect the Raptors to make it 15 wins from the last 21 against the Wizards.
Tip: Toronto Raptors -6
Boston Celtics @ Houston Rockets – Sunday 12:30
The 1st place Boston Celtics take on the 1st place Houston Rockets of the Eastern and Western conferences respectively.
A surprising statistic that stands out when these teams face each other is that defence is the flavour of the game.
Of the last 11 games between the sides, the under has saluted 10 times with the other being a push. Boston is known for its dogged defence under head coach Brad Stevens.
Houston’s scoring ability inflates many of its totals as once again three of the last four of their games have gone under. Look for this trend to continue. Paul, Harden, Capela and co will likely come away with the victory in this one but it won’t be easy.
Tip: Boston / Houston Under 221.5