Must-Bet NBA Games of Weekend 76ers-Mavericks, Knicks-Lakers

Must-Bet NBA Games of Weekend: 76ers-Mavericks, Knicks-Lakers

Just a reminder that the NBA Trade Deadline is next Thursday so there could be action over the weekend – if a player is scratched for non-injury reasons, that could mean a deal is imminent. Here’s a look a two must-bet games this weekend. Check back for NBA odds.

Best NBA betting of the weekend

Philadelphia at Dallas, Friday

ESPN game Friday at 10 PM ET. It’s the first meeting of the season between MVP candidates Joel Embiid of Philadelphia and Luka Doncic of Dallas – Embiid is currently the betting favorite.

Philadelphia has won six of the last nine meetings. The Sixers swept the 2020-21 season series, 2-0 (games that Philadelphia won by an average margin of 16.0 points), after the Mavericks won the previous three meetings. It marked just the second time in the last 21 seasons (since 2000-01) that the Sixers swept a season series with the Mavericks. Five straight and 11 of the last 15 meetings have been decided by double digits.

Doncic is averaging 21.0 points, his second-lowest scoring average against any team (20.7 ppg vs. Miami), to go along with 6.0 rebounds and 6.0 assists in four career games against Philadelphia.

Dallas will be quite short-handed for this one with both Tim Hardaway Jr. and Kristaps Porzingis out injured. Porzingis hasn’t played since he left the Mavericks’ win over the Pacers early in the second quarter last Saturday. The Mavericks initially described Porzingis’ injury as knee soreness but have since labeled it as a right knee bone bruise in their latest announcement. Porzingis, who has already missed time due to COVID-19, will have missed 20 games on the season after Friday.

Hardaway Jr. had surgery for the broken bone in his left foot on Tuesday, a week after sustaining the injury. The Mavericks said Hardaway would be able to begin rehabilitation immediately, but that there was no timetable for his return to the lineup. Recovery from this injury traditionally is close to three months, meaning Hardaway will not return this season.

Hardaway is in the first year of a four-year, $75 million contract with the Mavericks. He has averaged 14.2 points, 3.7 rebounds and 2.2 assists while playing about 30 minutes a game. He has started 20 of his 42 games.

Sixers starting guard Seth Curry (back spasms) is questionable vs. the Mavericks. Curry has struggled with his shot for the last few games, so the back injury is likely related.  Furkan Korkmaz (left knee soreness) will not play, missing his third straight game.

NY Knicks at LA Lakers, Saturday

ABC game Saturday at 8:30 PM ET. Normally, this would be a TV ratings bonanza for the league with the USA’s two biggest media markets but both teams are mediocre and it’s not clear if the Lakers will have LeBron James back from injury. He has swelling in his knee and the Lakers obviously aren’t going to risk his long-term health. LA is way below .500 with him in the lineup but 19-17 with James. He is averaging 29.1 points, 7.7 rebounds and 6.3 assists per game while shooting 52.2 percent from the field and 35.2 percent from beyond the arc.

The Knicks are pretty healthy as they battle for a playoff spot in the East. There is talk the team could soon trade guard Kemba Walker. He had been held scoreless in two of his first 733 regular-season games over 10-plus seasons in the NBA, but the four-time All-Star suddenly has matched that total with zero points in each of the Knicks’ past two contests.

Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau said he’s “not really” concerned about the 31-year-old Walker’s recent slump, but the team’s starting point guard has logged 34 minutes over the past two games against the Kings and the Grizzlies (17 in each). He has missed all six of his field-goal tries without a free-throw attempt in either game.

“To me, Kemba, he’s a proven scorer in this league,” Thibodeau said. “Players are going to go through different things. And when he’s open, I want to see him shoot, every single time. I just know he can miss 10 in a row and I believe he’s gonna make 10 in a row. That’s just the way the game is.”

These teams played on Nov. 23 and the Knicks won 106-100 when James was out. Evan Fournier scoring 26 points and Immanuel Quickley added 12 of his 14 in the fourth quarter for New York. Julius Randle added 20 points, 16 rebounds and five assists. Russell Westbrook had 31 points, 13 rebounds and 10 assists in the loss.

Dating back to the Minneapolis era, this will be the 295th meeting between the two sides and the 204th since the Lakers moved to Los Angeles prior to the 1960-61 season.  At Arena, the Lakers are 15-7 all-time against the Knicks.

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