NBA Games to Watch on Friday, January 4, 2019 Edition
The weekend action in the NBA will begin on Friday Night with a busy schedule that includes a pair of games that can be viewed as a doubleheader on ESPN.
The first of the two games will see the Dallas Mavericks go into Boston as they attempt to make it two in a row this season versus the Celtics. That will be followed by a big Western Conference match-up, with the Oklahoma City Thunder on the road to face the Portland Trail Blazers, with both teams looking to edge a little closer to the top of the Western Conference standings. Let’s take a closer look at both of these games.
Dallas Mavericks at Boston Celtics
After spending much of the season sitting above the playoff line, the Dallas Mavericks have now fallen below it, losing 7 of their last 10 games, a run that has seen them drop below the .500 mark. A huge part of the problem for the Dallas Mavericks this season has been their play on the road, where they have won just 3 of their 18 games. They did beat Boston in their previous meeting earlier this season, but that one came on home court. Dallas are a very solid 8-3 versus teams from the Eastern Conference, but they are just 8-10 versus teams with a winning record.
At 5-5 in their last 10 games, the Boston Celtics are simply not doing enough to close ground on the leaders, and they are in fact losing ground at 5 games out of first. The good news for the Celtics is that they will be facing a team with a sub-.500 record, as they have gone 17-8 versus those teams this season. The Celtics are also a rather solid 12-5 on home court, so look for them to deliver the goods in the Garden.
The Dallas Mavericks have been simply brutal on the road this season, and while the Celtics are not playing great ball right now, they should be good enough to get the win here.
Predicted Score: Dallas Mavericks 96 | Boston Celtics 110
Oklahoma City Thunder at Portland Trail Blazers
The Oklahoma City Thunder continue to find ways to win despite the fact that Russell Westbrook is in a bit of a scoring slump at the moment. The Thunder have won 2 in a row and 7 of their last 10, a run that now has them in the #3 spot in the Western Conference, just a single game off the pace. The Thunder have fixed their early season road woes and are now 2 games above .500 away from home at 11-9. That said, they are just 6-8 versus teams with a winning record.
The Trail Blazers are on the same run of form as the Thunder, winning 2 in a row and 7 of their last 10 games. They currently find themselves down in the #5 spot, although they are just 3 ½ games back of the top spot in the West. Portland have been very good in their own building this season, winning 14 of their first 20 games at the Moda Center. Overall, though, they are just 13-13 in conference play but are 2 games above .500 versus teams with a winning record.
As good as OKC are playing right now, the Trail Blazers are a team that they simply cannot seem to beat, as they have now lost 6 in a row to Portland. With that in mind, I need to go with the Trail Blazers here.
Predicted Score: Oklahoma City Thunder 104 | Portland Trail Blazers 108
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