The NBA season is beginning to get off the ground. A showcase matchup and a heated confrontation are the featured attractions in this Thursday night tripleheader.
Los Angeles Clippers @ Miami Heat
Thursday, 7:05 PM ET
Odds: Heat -5
The rivalry between the Boston Celtics and the Miami Heat became so compelling and engrossing over the past few seasons because the elite talent of the Heat was countered by the motivational magic and chessboard playing of Boston head coach Doc Rivers. The 2012 Eastern Conference Finals represented one of the more memorable non-NBA Finals postseason series in recent league history precisely because Rivers was able to get the most out of his Boston team. The Celtics gained a 3-2 series lead after trailing 2-0. Boston had a chance to close out Miami at home in Game 6 of the series, but that’s when LeBron James played one of the three or four best games of his playoff career to bring the Heat back from the brink. Rivers forced LeBron to play his very best in order to win that particular series.
Now, Rivers – as the head coach of a new team, the Los Angeles Clippers – gets to face LeBron and Miami once again. This will be his only visit to Miami during the 2013-2014 regular season, but he would love to be able to have the chance to face the Heat in June for the 2014 Finals. We’ll see how well the Clippers – with Chris Paul and Blake Griffin – match up against the two-time defending champions in the Association. Ultimately, Miami should rate as the favorite at home.
Atlanta Hawks @ Denver Nuggets
Thursday, 9:05 PM ET
Odds: Nuggets -3
On Thursday, this is the basketball betting game that will largely escape national notice. The Hawks fell short this past Sunday in Los Angeles against the Lakers. They will try to regroup in this game on an early Western road swing, but playing at elevation in Denver in the middle of a long road trip is not generally a good spot for any NBA team. The Nuggets will probably be able to run in the open floor and get enough easy baskets to prevail in this game.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Houston Rockets
Thursday, 9:35 PM ET
Odds: Rockets -13.5
It’s one of the big NBA betting events of the month of November in the NBA: Dwight Howard, now with the Houston Rockets, faces one of his old teams, the Los Angeles Lakers, in what should be a hate-fest. Howard’s days in Los Angeles were not happy ones, and everyone knows that Howard wants to beat the Lakers in the worst possible way. Howard is a proud man who doesn’t forget perceived slights. His misery in Los Angeles should make him that much more intent on playing his best basketball in this game. What should help Howard is that the Lakers do not have a particularly strong big man. Howard should be able to own the paint and lead Houston to an early-season win at home.