There is no bigger NBA betting rivalry than the Boston Celtics-Los Angeles Lakers and those two historic franchises will kick off the weekly doubleheader on TNT. After that, the broadcast moves out west to Denver where the Nuggets host the Chicago Bulls.
Los Angeles Lakers @ Boston Celtics
These storied teams are battling injury problems: Boston lost Rajon Rondo for the season with a knee injury, while the Lakers have been without Dwight Howard due to an ailing shoulder and now Pau Gasol could be out for a while after hurting his foot. But they’re thriving as the Celtics have won four in a row since losing Rondo, while the Lakers have won six of seven. Boston will be in Toronto on Wednesday night before heading home to host the Lakers, so Los Angeles could have a slight edge there. The Lakers have won six of the last 10 meetings overall with their rivals, while the two have split their last 10 games in Boston and neither team likes to lose to the other, especially on a national stage, so expect both to come out with both guns blazing.
You could get a low-scoring game as the last six meetings in Boston have finished under the posted total. The matchup between Los Angeles’ Kobe Bryant and Boston’s Paul Pierce will be fun to watch, but the key to the game could be how the Lakers handle Kevin Garnett in the post with Howard and Gasol on the bench on Thursday night.
Chicago Bulls @ Denver Nuggets
The streaking Nuggets have won six straight games ahead of their matchup with Chicago, who have lost two of their last three as they await the return of Derrick Rose, the former MVP who has been out since last season’s playoffs because of a torn ACL. This will be a contest of offense versus defense as the Nuggets are third in the NBA in points scored, while the Bulls are third in points against. The Nuggets have definitely protected their home court this season, going 21-3 straight up, but the Bulls are a decent road team at 14-8 and they’re not a team that is going to be intimidated by anyone, even going into hostile territory. The Nuggets have won six of the last 10 meetings with the Bulls dating back to 2007, but in Denver it is a different story as the Bulls have lost nine of their last 10 in Colorado and they’ll need a big effort to take down a confident Denver team right now.
The flow of the game will tell the tale in Denver on Thursday night as the Nuggets will want to get up and down the floor as quickly as possible, while the Bulls will hold on to the ball and make every possession count, so keep a close eye early in the game because you should be able to tell how things will go before the teams get to halftime. Expect an entertaining basketball betting nightcap on TNT.