NBA Games Preview – Sunday 09.02.2020


The trade deadline is in the books now. No big ripples this time, as usual in the last few years. Miami tried to boost their chances to be contender in the East now. Andre Iguodala will be useful addition, no word about it. Yet it remains to be seen whether Heat will be able to reproduce their good regular-season performances in the post-season and be a threat for Bucks and Celtics. On to tonight’s early games then:


Oklahoma City Thunder - Boston Celtics (18.30 UK Time)


Two of the hottest teams in direct clash here. Both have lost a single game in their last 10 games. Thunder failed to reach an agreement with Miami about Gallinari and the sharpshooting forward stayed put. This hurts Thunders’ future but is good for their roster now. Schroeder is making a push for 6th man of the year and Oklahoma will give someone a series in the first play-off round in the West.

Celtics continue to struggle with injuries. Nearly all starters and important pieces have missed games this year due to some knocks. Yet Brad Stevens should be satisfied with the depth of his team. Boston usually finds a way to win games against lesser teams, no matter of the current roster available.

Verdict: No odds yet. It should be a balanced money-line due to recent fine Oklahoma’s form. Chris Paul and his teammates will be hard to beat at home. Still Boston have a few more aces in this spot. I’d be content to try Celtics money-line at minimum odds of 1.95+, pre-match or live.



Philadelphia 76ers - Chicago Bulls (21.00 UK Time)


Sixers added two backup shoot-first guards before the deadline. They swept Alec Burks and Glen Robinson from Golden State. No one of them can help Philly get out of their recent struggles though. They’ve lost 5 games in their last 10 matches. This made them fall to 5th in the East. More importantly, Sixers seem weaker than all 4 teams above them in the standings. They desperately need to get a few wins before the All-Star break next weekend.

Chicago are one of the pleasant surprises this season. Bulls will probably fail to get the last available play-off spot, but they are trying hard in most games. Bulls have also won 5 of their last 10 games.

Verdict: Embiid’s status is not yet confirmed for tonight. Sixers will probably find a way to win over Bulls at home without him. It’s all about the spread though. Philly is a team you can’t trust to cover big spread in all times, let alone in a rough patch. I’d even try to bet Bulls with any spread of at least 11-12 points. There’s a very good chance we’ll have this early in the game.


Houston Rockets - Utah Jazz (22.00 UK Time)


This game has an intrigue in it. Jazz lead Rockets by a single win for the 4th spot in the West. At the same time both teams should be aware of the coming Thunder, which are only a few games behind them. Dallas will probably lose some momentum during Doncic’s absence. Mavs will also make a final push in March though.

Rockets stabilized the ship in the last 10 days or so. They got a nice win over Clippers on the road behind a crazy performance from Russell. Harden also came back to life recently and Rockets won 7 of their last 10 games. The franchise decided to try small-ball style mid—season. They traded center Capella for two-way perimeter player Robert Covington. Let’s see how this will make them look against the LA teams eventually.

Utah stopped the rot (5-games losing run) with a narrow win over Portland at home on Friday night. Jazz made a late come-back in this game. They look a bit tired and out of sync lately and the All-Star can’t happen in a better time for them.



Verdict: Rockets won the first game in their series here in Salt Lake only some 10 days ago. Jazz will be eager to avenge this loss and build on their momentum before the break. Westbrook’s participation in the game is questionable. All this leads to a definite Utah’s advantage in this spot. I’d not be prepared to trust them with too big spreads to cover though. Would play Jazz -3 points maximum, if that’s available at some point pre-match or live.


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