How much difference can one player make? When it’s one of the best defensive centres in the entire NBA, then potentially quite a lot. Andrew Bogut’s return on Monday added a new dimension to the Golden State Warriors, who have barely seen the Australian in action since his trade from Milwaukee last spring.
He had an immediate impact in a solid win over Toronto and he should prove a tough foe on Tuesday for Cleveland and a Cavaliers front line which is threadbare without Anderson Varejao. The Warriors have been inconsistent against teams with less than .500 records, going just 9-7, and they’ve especially struggled with opponents racking up 100 points, going 7-12.
But the Cavs, despite the efforts of All Star Kyrie Irving, have only scored 100 points, twice in 11 games and although they’ve won their last three, the Warriors man in the middle should block their path.
It’s a mark of their struggles that a two-game winning streak might seem like manna for the Los Angeles Lakers but with impressive wins over Utah and Oklahoma, there’s at least some signs of renewed life. They’ll count on more when they host New Orleans on Tuesday, six weeks after dumping the Hornets 103-87.
Dwight Howard is a doubt for the Lakers and that might be no bad thing. They still look a much better team when Pau Gasol is on the floor at his expense. New Orleans is only averaging 93.2 points per night which won’t be enough here, even on a handicap of +7. But this could go over the total points line of 194.5, available at 1.91.
Another team with resurgence are the Dallas Mavericks with six wins in their last eight, yet their hopes of making a run into the play-off spots will be tested on a road trip which begins in Portland.
The Trailblazers are 15-8 at the Rose Garden, but they’ve won just two of their last six there. So back Dallas to win at 2.22.
Bet of the Day: Take Dallas to beat Portland at 2.22.
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