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NBA: Midweek preview

So far, title favourites the Milwaukee Bucks and Boston Celtics are the frontrunners, but both face a tough test this week.

With the first month of the NBA season almost over many of the top sides continue to struggle. The bottom three in the Western Conference still include both the LA Lakers and defending champions the Golden State Warriors.

With another busy midweek of basketball ahead, here’s the pick of the midweek matchups across the NBA.

WhatNBA Season 2022/23
WhereUSA and Canada
When18th October 2022 - June 2023
How to watchSky Sports, NBA Pass
OddsMIL Bucks +500, BOS Celtics +525 GS Warriors +700, PHX Suns +700, LA Clippers +750

Another blow for the Bucks?

The Milwaukee Bucks saw their perfect start to the season ended by the Atalanta Hawks, having also lost twice to the Hawks in Abu Dhabi during preseason.

The pairing of Trae Young and Dejounte Murray is working well so far, while the Hawks beat the Bucks without Young on the court.

The point guard has returned to action and he posted 53 points across a double-header with the Philadelphia 76ers, so he should be a headache for the Bucks.

The Hawks head to Milwaukee as +150 underdogs, but they’ve got every chance of another upset.

Elsewhere, last season’s two top seeds clash in Miami as the Phoenix Suns look for a boost.

The Suns were the league’s top team last season but they’ve got an 8-4 record this time around, including a losing return on the road.

Western outsiders clash

The Memphis Grizzlies and New Orleans Pelicans are two of the most exciting young sides in the Western Conference, so their Tuesday night encounter promises to be entertaining.

Neither are among the Conference frontrunners, but the Grizzlies and Pelicans are outside threats to make it out of the West.

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The Grizzlies have a 9-5 record but they’ve suffered four of those losses away, so they could struggle against a Pelicans side who are just above .500 so far this term.

The Pels have won three of their last four at home and Zion Williamson has posted 55 points across his last two games.

Tuesday also brings a clash between sixth and eighth in the West, as the Dallas Mavericks host the LA Clippers.

A massive 42-point haul for Luka Doncic inspired the Mavs to beat the Portland Trail Blazers over the weekend, improving Dallas to 6-1 at home.

The Clippers aren’t quite hitting their title-contending heights, so this trip might prove a step too far.

Top four showdown in the East

After Tuesday’s enticing Western Conference games, the East hits back on Wednesday as the top four in the standings meet.

Fresh from facing the Bucks the Hawks host the Celtics, with Boston coming into the week with a 10-3 record.

The Cavs have lost their last four after an eight-game winning streak, but the performances of Donovan Mitchell alone make this a must-watch clash.

Wednesday night wraps up with one more huge clash, as the Suns host the Warriors. The champions have lost eight times in their opening 13 games, but they’re expected to quickly get their act together.

The pair remain in the top five in the title odds, so even with the Warriors’ struggles, this is a night of contender clashes.

Nets continue road trip

The Brooklyn Nets are out West this week, having played both LA sides over the weekend.

They are away to the Sacramento Kings on Tuesday before their trip wraps up in Portland on Thursday.

The Nets are hoping this trip can turn around a tough season after their 6-8 start. However, the Trail Blazers can’t be taken lightly.

Portland sit joint-top of the Western Conference with nine wins from 13, a huge turnaround from last year’s 27-win season.

Damian Lillard has led the turnaround, but their line-up has benefitted from Jerami Grant’s presence on the defensive end.

On paper, the Nets are heavily favoured, given that they’re among the title contenders and the Blazers are set to struggle to get out of the West.

However, Portland have a solid home record and Brooklyn look shaky after a 116-103 loss to a terrible Lakers side at the weekend.

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