First, sorry all for the prolongued absence, work school and the fam all had issues, so I couldn't bring home the game preview bacon for the last few weeks. However, as the Christmas season rolls around I'm more ready than ever to bring you guys the preview hammer. Lets not waste any more time with petty small talk.
The games tonight:
All game times far Eastern, all broadcasts on league pass unless specified (in parenthes)
Atlanta at Orlando 7:00pm
Houston at Philadelphia 7:00pm
Dallas at NY Knicks 7:30pm (MSG in NY)
Miami at Phoenix 9:00pm (NBA TV)
Milwaukee at Sacramento 10:00pm
Remember to check out the games thread and click below for in-depth game previewsFor Previews..
Atlanta at Orlando
Atlanta has been an interesting team this season. They're 9-10, with some quality wins over Dallas and Phoenix early in the season. The more telling statistic however may be their record against winning teams. They're 2-6 against teams with a winning record, and haven't beat a winning team in a month. Orlando has been just stellar, counting only the pacers amongst the teams they "should've beaten" that they have lost to. They should beat the Hawks and after losing a tough one against Indy on Friday they should have this one under wraps.
Matchup of the Night: Dwight Howard vs the Entire Hawks Squad- 23.5 points, 15 boards and 2.9 blocks. Just look at that stat line, thats what Dwight Howard averages per game. Who in the world is going to stop Howard on the Hawks? Al Horford? (no.) Zaza (no.)? Josh Smith (nope.)? Watch for an incredible display of athleticism and hustle.
Houston at Philadelphia
The Houston "IP's West Coast Binky" Rockets are 5-3 over their last 7, but their 11-10 record is mostly due to a 6 game skid in mid November. It wasn't pretty. They're also 2-2 vs Eastern teams away from Houston. The Rockets are the better team, but I'm not sure they're a shoe in here. Philadelphia hasn't left the Northeast since November 27, and they should be all set to face the Rockets, who are at the end of a 3 game Eastern Road trip, and on the second night of a back to back after losing the first back. I think the Rockets are in for some bad news here, especially if Stevie Franchise continues to start.
Matchup of the game: Yao Ming vs Samuel Dalembert- Its the Chinese vs the Canadiens (kinda) in the battle of the bigs tonight. No one player guarantees a win once he gets rolling more than Yao Ming. The Rockets are 9-3 when Yao racks up a double-double, and coincidentally every double double he's had has been on nights when he scores 20 pts+. In my opinion Dalembert has been overrated somewhat as a man on defender, and if Yao gets it rolling tonight the Rockets should roll, if not, they're a game under .500.
Dallas at NY Knicks
I don't really have a lot to say here besides I hope that the Knicks lose by 10,000 points and James Dolan's head spontaneously combusts because he just gave Mr. Smug a vote of confidence. My only concern is that Josh Howard should have used up all his good luck voodoo last night in a heroic 47 point effort. Like it matters, since the Knicks skipped the game on 11/29 they've dropped 2 to Philadelphia and beat the Nets without Jason Kidd in the lineup. No luck for the K-men.
Matchup to watch: Josh Howard vs Quentin Richardson- Howard is coming off of a career game, and he leads the Mavs in scoring. Dirk has not been Dirk since he went to Australia. If Q-Rich can keep Howard below 15 points the Knicks have a puncher's chance at surprising the Mavs.
Miami at Phoenix
Hey! Miami just got Pat Riley his 1000th win! It only took 44 minutes from the immortal Chris Quinn, 41 minutes and 35 points from Dwayne "Still not cooler than Lebron no matter how many times I try to get in Charles Barkley's 5" Wade and an 8 man rotation. Sorry Heat fans, they won't be winning two in a row. Phoenix is just too good.
Matchup to watch: Dwayne Wade vs Raja Bell- Any win Miami manages to steal away right now hinges only on whether or not D-Wizzle can come up with a superhuman effort. If Wade can get it rolling in Phoenix and the Heat can limit the Suns to less than 100 points maybe they have a shot. However Raja Bell is a hard nosed defender that will harass Wade on and off the ball every second he's in the game.
Milwaukee at Sacramento
Both of these squads have seen better days, Milwaukee going 1-3 in its West Coast trip and the Kings just losing Kevin Martin for up to 6 weeks with a groin injury. When both squads are faltering, you've gotta go with the home team. Kings win.
Matchup of the night: Ron Artest and John Salmons vs Michael Redd- Redd is averaging 24 points a night on a nice 47% shooting. Ron Artest has also been playing well though, and before he got back on the court, John Salmons was also playing very good basketball. However, both players are far better defenders than they are scorers, and with an able shooter on the wings, both guys should be ready to give it a real go at home.
Well thats it for the game previews, hope they solved your nightly NBA cravings. Be sure to check out the games thread, and good day, sir.