Oklahoma City Thunder - Portland Trail Blazers
The Portland Trail Blazers no longer have the best record in the NBA’s Western Conference after sustaining consecutive losses for the first time. And on New Year’s Eve, they get to visit the new leaders when they head to the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Over their last five games, Portland have conceded an average of just shy of 109 points per night, six above their seasonal mark. And although their successive defeats, to Miami and New Orleans, have come by a total of just three points, they allowed their conquerors to shoot 52%.
That could be problematic against OKC who are getting solid production from Reggie Jackson and Jeremy Lamb to fill the gap left by Russell Westbrook. The Thunder managed to score 117 in a rout of Houston but they held the free-scoring Rockets to just 86.
With the Blazers notching an average of 108.6, this could still be a shoot-out but the hosts’ defence should – just - give them the edge.
Boston Celtics – Atlanta Hawks
The Boston Celtics are still a surprising 13-17 but it could have been so much better of late if they’d finished what they started. Over their last seven home games, they’ve been out-scored by nine points in the second half, costing them potential victories.
It was a different tale when they last met the Atlanta Hawks with Boston rallying from 12 down to win 94-87. But the Hawks are good value at 2.18 to round off 2013 on a high and look over the total points line of 201.5 at 1.95.
Take Oklahoma City for the win over Portland
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