It’s not been quite the season of transformation that the Brooklyn Nets were chasing when they moved to New York last summer and lavished millions on upgrading their line-up. But there are signs the Nets are coming good at the right time. With the Knicks slumping, the Nets are threatening to overtake their city rivals and snatch the Atlantic Division title. And they head to LA on Saturday night with ample confidence after winning seven of their last nine road games, principally with their improved defence and with better shooting.
That could catch out the Clippers, who have been inconsistent during March when they’ve yet to win back-to-back games. They’re also set to be without Chauncey Billups and Eric Bledsoe, leaving Chris Paul to shoulder extra minutes in his match-up with Deron Williams. So have a punt on Brooklyn on the handicap to shine in LA.
The NBA’s ‘other’ winning streak now stands at 14 and while the Heat are closing in on history, the Denver Nuggets are rolling along nicely as well. They’ll go for their 15th win in a row tonight against Sacramento, two days after Corey Brewer’s late late heroics kept their run alive with a 101-100 defeat of Philadelphia.
Such close shaves have been a rarity at the Pepsi Center this season: the Nuggets are 31-3 at home, including a 121-93 demolition of the Kings in January. But Sacramento have won three of their last four, including solid wins over Chicago and the Clippers. So while Denver should come out on top, take their visitors on the handicap to keep it tight.
The coming summer will see two of the NBA’s biggest names go on the market and the question is whether Chris Paul and Dwight Howard will be bolting Los Angeles for pastures new. For Paul, having an exciting young team around him should be enough of a lure to stay put but he will get offers elsewhere. In a transfer special, he’s 1.18 to stay a Clipper but the Lakers, who nearly acquired him two years ago, are 4.20 to pull off a raid.
Howard’s status is a little more uncertain as he approaches free agency. It’s not been the happiest year for the All Star centre since he arrived from Orlando last summer. He’s still 1.08 to remain with the Lakers but Brooklyn are 40.00 to succeed in their long pursuit of his talents.
Best bet: Take Sacramento on the handicap against Denver at 1.91