This has been a bit of a strange NBA season in the early going, as we are not seeing the typical domination in either conference. The Golden State Warriors are currently sharing the lead in the West, while over in the East, the Toronto Raptors have a slender 2-game lead.
There are some unfamiliar names hovering around the top spot in both conferences, which makes things much more fun, albeit tougher to handicap. We are taking a quick look ahead at the coming week to pick out the best games on the NBA calendar, so let’s get right to it.
Boston Celtics at New Orleans Pelicans - Monday
One of the biggest surprises in the early going has been the play of the Boston Celtics. They are expected to be among the favorites to win the East, and while they may still recover and make a run, their 10-10 start is very disappointing. They will start their week with a road trip to New Orleans to face a Pelicans team that is also sitting at .500 in the early going. These two appear to be rather evenly matched, but with the Pelicans sitting with a very solid 8-1 record at home, the feeling here is that Boston are going to have a tough time getting the win.
Los Angeles Lakers at Denver Nuggets – Tuesday
Prior to the start of the season, one of the biggest questions was about just how big an impact LeBron James would make on the LA Lakers. It took his new team some time to find their feet, but they are certainly heading in the right direction now, going 7-3 in their last 10 games to get themselves over the playoff line. They have a tough one ahead of them on Tuesday night, though, as the Denver Nuggets are certainly deserving of their #3 spot in the West. This will be the second meeting of the season. The Lakers took the first one at home, but I like the Nuggets to even things out.
Dallas Mavericks at Houston Rockets – Wednesday
If you had picked the Houston Rockets to be sitting below the playoff line at this stage of the season, people may have thought you crazy, but that is exactly where they are right now. This version of the Rockets looks like a pale shadow of the team that won the Western Conference last season and they are certainly not going to have it easy against their in-state rivals on Wednesday night. The Mavericks are perhaps a little better than expected, although they have lost 8 in a row to the Rockets, with #9 likely here.
Golden State Warriors at Toronto Raptors – Thursday
Could we potentially be looking at a preview of the NBA Finals with this game? It is of course far too early to tell, and there has to be some concern about the Warriors right now, as they look like a team that is not particularly united on the court or in the locker room. The same cannot be said for a Toronto Raptors team that is clicking on al cylinder with a brilliant 17-4 start to the season. They will be looking to maintain their lead in the East this week and I like them to get the win in this one.
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