The Golden State Warriors are set to rest Andrew Bogut on Wednesday night, removing the potential for a ferocious duel between the Australian and Serge Ibaka. And it might tip the balance in favour of Oklahoma City when two of the West’s best go head-to-head.
Ibaka has become much more effective this season offensively, putting up 13.8 points per game as well as his customary rebounds and blocks. And while All Star-bound David Lee will give him some problems, it will be hard for him to stop both the Spanish international and Kevin Durant.
Golden State had won four in a row before giving up an extraordinary 140 points if a loss to Houston on Tuesday. And although the Warriors took a 104-99 victory when these teams met last month, back the Thunder - even on a tough handicap of -10.
Two NBA Lottery-bound sides square off in Cleveland when the hapless Charlotte Bobcats come to town but the form of the Cavaliers suggests they will be a problem for any opponent during the remainder of the campaign.
Kyrie Irving, a lock to start in this month’s All Star Game, had 35 points including a decisive late contribution, in a win over Oklahoma City and they should vastly improve on their current 14-34 record. The Bobcats, who have lost four straight, are heading nowhere fast and it’s worth a punt on the Cavs on the handicap of -5.5 in a game where the total points may stay under the line of 202.5.
The San Antonio Spurs begin their annual Rodeo road trip at Minnesota with Tim Duncan likely to be a game-time decision as his team goes for an eleventh consecutive win. It marks the start of nine games out of home for the Spurs who have never had a losing record since they began their yearly away jaunt in 2003.
Minnesota have lost 12 of their last 14 and they might be without Andrei Kirilenko, who has been named as European Player of the Year. Even if Duncan takes another rest, San Antonio should feed the hosts to the wolves.
Bet of the Day: Take Cleveland over Charlotte on the handicap at 1.91.
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