Wednesday tip-off: 4 smart selections for your NBA accumulator
Last season's champions and their finals opponents are among our best bets on a busy night of basketball...
Cleveland Cavaliers to beat Indiana Pacers -
The Cavaliers – one of just two teams to have only lost once this season – should extend their lead at the top of the Eastern Conference on Wednesday.
They currently rank in the top five of all teams in points per game, three-point shooting percentage, and offensive rating.
The Pacers are a decent team, but they are no match for the NBA champions, who have three players currently averaging at least 20 points per game.
Paul George is Indiana’s only player to be averaging that number.
Cleveland’s only defeat this season came against the Atlanta Hawks – the East’s second-best side, who have won eight games and lost just twice.
The Pacers are not at that level, and the Cavaliers should come through this game comfortably.
Golden State Warriors to beat Toronto Raptors -
The Raptors suffered a gruelling 121-117 loss to the Cavaliers in Cleveland on Tuesday, and they now face perhaps the worst opponent possible in the Warriors.
The reigning Western Conference champions have been dominant over the past eight days – winning all four of their games by a margin of 10 points or greater and scoring at least 116 in each.
Fatigue will almost certainly be a factor for Toronto, as Golden State are the NBA’s highest scorers, best shooters, and push the pace as much as any team in the league.
The Raptors are a good team. They rank third in offensive rating this season, behind just the Cavaliers and the Warriors.
But beating Steve Kerr’s side just one night after playing last season’s NBA champions will prove too tough a task.
Houston Rockets to beat Oklahoma City Thunder -
After a fast start to the season, Oklahoma City have slumped to four consecutive losses.
Point guard Russell Westbrook has averaged 34.8 points per game since their last victory, but none of his team-mates have managed to score 20 over that period.
They now take on the Rockets, who are currently ranked sixth in offensive rating and fourth in field goal percentage.
Houston have won three of their last four and are benefitting from the stellar play of James Harden, who is averaging 30.3 points, 7.9 rebounds and a league-leading 12.6 assists per game.
His playmaking and the Rockets’ sixth-ranked three-point shooting should be enough to see off the Thunder.
San Antonio Spurs to beat Sacramento Kings -
Few NBA match-ups have been as one-sided as this one in recent years.
The Spurs have won 16 of the last 17 fixtures between these two sides, including all three of their games last year and their sole meeting this season.
That trend will likely continue, given that San Antonio are on a three-game winning streak and Sacramento have won just twice all season.
The Spurs are the league’s third-best defensive team, having conceded just 96.1 points per game, while the Kings have allowed the sixth-highest field goal percentage of any team.
Considering San Antonio have only been beaten by teams with over six wins this season, they should have more than enough quality to push their winning streak to four here.