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There have been plenty of bad sides struggling to compete in league history
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NBA: Weekend preview

With the NBA standings starting to take shape, pressure is on for the struggling sides who have made a bad start.

This weekend is a busy one, with 23 games played between Friday and Sunday. Below is a look at the standout games across the next few days.

What:NBA Season 2022/23
Where:USA and Canada
When:October 18th 2022 - June 2023
How to watch:Sky Sports, NBA Pass
Odds:MIL Bucks +475, BOS Celtics +525, GS Warriors +700, PHX Suns +700, LA Clippers +800

Can Cavs bounce back?

After an impressive eight-game winning run, the Cleveland Cavaliers came unstuck on their western road trip. They lost successive games to the LA Clippers and Sacramento Kings, but they remain second in the Eastern Conference ahead of Friday’s clash with the Golden State Warriors.

The Warriors are in a tough spot of their own, making a 4-7 start to the campaign. They have won four of their five home matchups this season, something which has helped to make them -130 favourites for Friday’s biggest showdown.

However, the clashes between East and West don’t end there, as the Denver Nuggets head to Boston to face the Celtics. The visitors are +150 underdogs, but they sit fourth in the West with an 8-3 record, matching the Celtics.

The Nuggets are +1200 outsiders to finish the season with the most wins in the league, something worth considering given they look to be back in their groove. Both Michael Porter Jr and Jamal Murray have made excellent returns to the side, while Aaron Gordon and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope complete a starting five packed with scoring.

Nets to test improving Clippers

Saturday night’s action gets underway with the Brooklyn Nets’ trip to Los Angeles, where they meet an improving Clippers side. It hasn’t been an ideal start for the Clippers, but they’ve improved to a 7-5 record after back-to-back wins.

Ty Lue seems to be settling on his rotation after the early blow of losing Kawhi Leonard again. His side are +350 to make it out of the Western Conference, but they’re not quite at their best just yet. The Clippers may still prove too strong for this dysfunctional Nets side who have a losing record both home and away.

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Can Luka lead Mavs recovery?

The Dallas Mavericks have slumped to consecutive defeats, going down to the Orlando Magic and the Washington Wizards. That ended Luka Doncic’s stellar start to the season, in which he scored 30 points in each of his first nine games.

The problem for Luka and the Mavs is the disparity between their home and away form. They’ve lost four of five trips this term, winning five of six at home. That record is under threat on Saturday, when the 9-3 Portland Trail Blazers head to town. They’re on a three-game winning streak and they’ve won six of their seven on the road, so they’re likely to be a stern test.

Saturday’s other big clash sees the Hawks head to Philly, just two days after they produced a 104-95 win over the Sixers.

Action-packed Sunday

Sunday’s action starts early with the Oklahoma City Thunder heading to the Knicks, but the night is packed with huge games. All eyes will be on the Nets as they continue their LA stay, with a clash at the struggling Lakers.

The potentially star-studded affair has taken a blow, with Kyrie Irving set to miss out and LeBron James an injury doubt. Neither of these two have been able to shake a losing record all season, making an expected marque clash look a little flat.

However, there are bigger clashes across the night between sides better placed to compete. With their Western Conference trip over, the Cavs return home to face the Minnesota Timberwolves. Both sides have built towering frontcourts with high-scoring guards so this should be a fascinating matchup. It could potentially be a problem for the Cavs, while allowing Minnesota to boost a struggling start.

The Nuggets continue their road trip with a visit to the Chicago Bulls, while surprise Western Conference leaders the Utah Jazz are in Philly.

With 10 wins under their belt already the Jazz are confounding expectations. They were expected to be one of the worst teams in the league at the start of the season, but now they can be backed at -115 to record over 42.5 wins, which would see them finish with an above .500 record and probably give them a spot in the Play-in.

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