NBA In-Season Tournament Will Add Extra Intensity

06 December, 2023

The NBA is experimenting with a new format this season, and the knockout round will show how much players have bought into the idea.

NBA In-Season Tournament Will Add Extra Intensity

The NBA is experimenting with a new format this season, and the knockout round will show how much players have bought into the idea.

The NBA hoped that its in-season tournament would generate more attention for the league and spark interest in regular season games. While the reaction has been mixed so far, plenty of positive comments have been made about the new tournament. Whether people love or hate it, this provides a few opportunities to wager on games with a playoff-like feel.

The Milwaukee Bucks and New York Knicks will play along with the Phoenix Suns and Los Angeles Lakers on Tuesday night in the two quarter-final matches. But it isn’t just the teams in the In-Season Tournament that must make adjustments. All other teams that didn’t qualify also had some schedule changes announced. 

Here’s a look at those two games and some other top NBA action to bet this week.

Can Suns Finally Topple Lakers?

The Lakers are narrow 2-point favourites to take down the Suns at home. But Los Angeles has already found success against Phoenix this season. The Lakers have won two games against the Suns already, including a 122-119 win on Nov. 10.

But, as always, there are a few things to keep in context about the team’s first meeting this season. When Los Angeles beat Phoenix in October, the Suns were without Devin Booker and Bradley Beal. Both men should be available for Tuesday’s game.

The Lakers have been involved in several high-scoring games recently. Los Angeles has its last four games go over the total. The Lakers/Suns game total has been set at 224 points. Los Angeles is -124 on the moneyline, while the Suns are +106. This is a unique opportunity for Lakers star LeBron James, who has accomplished nearly everything else the league has to offer. Winning the inaugural In-Season Tournament would be another accomplishment to hang his hat on.

Phoenix has been no stranger to high-scoring games this season. The Suns have seen the over go 14-6 in their games this season. Phoenix is 9-10-1 against the spread this year, including a 2-3 mark over its past five games.

Knicks Would Like Statement Victory over Milwaukee

The New York Knicks are among the favourites to win the Eastern Conference. While many consider the Knicks a strong contender to make the playoffs, only a few people consider them a legitimate contender. Meanwhile, Milwaukee recently won a championship and added star guard Damian Lillard in the offseason.

The Bucks are in win-now mode. Milwaukee is a 6-point favourite to beat the Knicks at home. During the first meeting, the Bucks were able to pull away down the stretch for a five-point win. What makes the Knicks so tough to deal with is their defence.

New York has the top-scoring defence in the NBA, only allowing 105.5 points per game. The Knicks have two players, Jalen Brunson and Julius Randle, who average more than 20 points per game. New York’s offence has been primarily mediocre this season.

The Bucks are off to a 14-6 start. While there have been some slight hiccups as Giannis Antetokounmpo gets used to playing with Lillard, the Bucks have navigated the transition smoothly. Milwaukee has won four of its past five games. Four of those five games have gone over the total as well.

Thunder Ready to Welcome Reeling Warriors

The Oklahoma City Thunder have looked the part of an up-and-coming franchise. While some controversy is swirling around the legal issues of Josh Giddey, the Thunder doesn’t seem too distracted by the controversy. Oklahoma City is off to a 13-6 start and will host the struggling Golden State Warriors on Friday.

The Warriors are off to a 9-11 start that has the team searching for answers. Golden State brought in veteran point guard Chris Paul in the offseason, but that hasn’t halted the ageing Warriors from struggling to pick up wins. Golden State is still -265 to make the playoffs, but those numbers will plummet if the Warriors can’t regain their form soon.

Golden State has covered three straight games against the spread and 9-11 against the number this season. The Warriors have struggled to be efficient on offence. Golden State ranks 25th in the league in field goal percentage, making 45.3 per cent of its shots.

Oklahoma City is a well-rounded team. The Thunder are in the top 10 of the NBA in scoring offence and defence. Despite this, Oklahoma City is +4600 to win the NBA Finals. The Thunder will want to use a softened-up Golden State team to continue stacking victories.

Clippers Ready to Turn Things Around

Los Angeles is off to a disappointing start to the season. Even though the Clippers were able to add a veteran star guard in James Harden, Los Angeles hasn’t been able to stay consistently above .500 so far this season. The Clippers will travel to Utah on Friday to play against the Jazz, who have also been unable to find their footing this season.

Los Angeles has been excellent on defence. The Clippers have the fifth-best scoring defence in the league, giving up 109.7 points per game. Paul George and Kawhi Leonard lead the team in scoring, averaging over 20 points per game. Harden has given the team another 3-point shooting threat, making 40 per cent of his attempts.

Los Angeles is 7-12 against the spread this season. The Clippers have also seen 12 of their 19 games go under the total.

The Jazz is still rebuilding from trading away Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert before last season started. Utah is 7-13 to start the season and in desperate need of a more efficient approach on offence. The Jazz is 27th in the league in field goal percentage, making 44.7 per cent of their shots.

Utah’s defence has also been generous to their opponents. The Jazz ranks 25th in the league by allowing 118.5 points per game. Utah is 11-9 against the spread and has seen 11 of its 20 games go over the total.

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