It was a testy week in the NBA with all sorts of drama. There was the Houston Rockets trying to break into the Los Angeles Clippers locker room post-game, there was Arron Afflalo and Nemanja Bjelica’s bout and there was Serge Ibaka taking on James Johnson. In terms of the actual action, the biggest news has been the struggle of the Cleveland Cavaliers. They finally earned a win on Thursday night, beating the Orlando Magic, but it was their first win five games and their third in their last 11. The All-Star break is about a month away and it can’t come soon enough for Cleveland. Here is a look at this week’s power rankings based on how the odds makers see the teams.
1. Golden State Warriors
NBA Title Odds: -250
The Warriors (37-9) won in Milwaukee, Toronto, Cleveland and Chicago, and they’ll finish off their road trip in Houston before heading home to host New York. The Warriors have won nine of their last 10 games and they have won 14 straight games on the road as they continue to stand head and shoulders above the rest of the league.
2. Cleveland Cavaliers
NBA Title Odds: +450
The Cavaliers (26-17) lost in Toronto and Indiana and at home to Golden State, and they’ll stay at home to host Orlando and Oklahoma City this week, along with a road game in San Antonio. The Cavaliers have lost four in a row, allowing an average of 118.7 points and scoring only 100.2 points. There are reports that some Cleveland players aren’t confident that they can turn it around as well. However, the Cavaliers slumped early in the season and got back on track; they should be fine.
3. Houston Rockets
NBA Title Odds: +1000
The Rockets (30-12) won in Phoenix and lost on the road to the Los Angeles Clippers, and then they’ll host Minnesota, Golden State and Miami before travelling to Dallas. The Rockets will be without Trevor Ariza and Gerald Green for two games for their part in a heated game against the Clippers, although Chris Paul and James Harden won’t miss any time for their roles in the fracas, one that continued after the game. Harden should also be back this week from a hamstring injury.
4. Boston Celtics
NBA Title Odds: +1200
The Celtics (34-11) beat Philadelphia in London, England, then lost to New Orleans at home in overtime. They’ll host Philadelphia and Orlando before heading west to Los Angeles for games against the Lakers and Clippers. Kyrie Irving (shoulder) and Marcus Smart (illness) could be out of action for Thursday’s game against the 76ers, so that is something to keep an eye on as the Celtics look to stay atop the Eastern Conference.
5. San Antonio Spurs
NBA Title Odds: +1500
The Spurs (30-16) lost in Los Angeles to the Lakers and in Atlanta, but they also won at home over Denver and in Brooklyn. They’ll be in Toronto on Friday, and then return home to host Indiana and Cleveland, then it is back on the road to Memphis. The Spurs will be without Kawhi Leonard indefinitely with a quadriceps injury, and it might be time to start getting worried. Leonard has played in only nine games this season and while he should be fine to help the Spurs in the playoffs, he probably won’t be 100% in terms of game readiness.
6. Oklahoma City Thunder
NBA Title Odds: +2500
The Thunder (25-20) won in Charlotte, and then at home over Sacramento and the Lakers. They’ll head to Cleveland on Saturday, and then it is back home to host Brooklyn. The Thunder are third in the league in points allowed per game and no team forces more turnovers, so their defense is keeping them in games. However, their offense is still very inconsistent as it looks like a team game sometimes and others, it is the Russell Westbrook show. There might not be a more frustrating team in the NBA right now.
7. Toronto Raptors
NBA Title Odds: +3500
The Raptors (30-13) won at home over Cleveland, lost at home to Golden State and at Philadelphia, and then won at home over Detroit. They’ll host San Antonio on Friday, and then head to Minnesota and Atlanta. The Raptors are the only team in the NBA that is in the top 10 in both points allowed per game (ninth) and points scored per game (third), and they have been great this season. However, the Raptors will be judged on how they do in the postseason, regardless of how great they are in the regular season.
8. Washington Wizards
NBA Title Odds: +4000
The Wizards (25-20) won at home over Orlando and in overtime against Brooklyn, also at home, where they lost to Milwaukee and then in Charlotte. They’ll stay on the road this week to play in Detroit and Dallas. The Wizards seem like they should have a much better record than they do, and it is probably because they play down to the level of their competition. The Wizards are 12-10 against teams that are below .500, and they’re also 2-6 in games decided by three points. They’re not going to take the next step unless they can fix both of those things.
9. Minnesota Timberwolves
NBA Title Odds: +5000
The Timberwolves (29-17) won at home over New York and Portland, but they lost in Orlando. They’ll be on the road this week in Houston, at the Clippers and in Portland, and there is also a home game against Toronto in there. Karl-Anthony Towns has taken a lot of heat this season, but he has been great as of late, averaging 19.0 points and 12.4 rebounds over his last five games. He has shot 58.1% from the floor and a ridiculous 61.5% from three-point land in those games, but more importantly, he has been much better defensively.
10. Milwaukee Bucks
NBA Title Odds: +8000
The Bucks (23-21) lost at home to Golden State, and both games of a home-and-home with Miami, although they did win in Washington. They’ll be in Philadelphia on Saturday, and then return home to host Phoenix. The Bucks are hoping that Jabari Parker can return before the All-Star break, even for just a few games, and a healthy Parker would take a lot of the offensive load off of Giannis Antetokounmpo
The 2017-18 NBA is well underway. It’s been a wild offseason already, but keep an eye on the betting lines as they move around at Diamond Sportsbook! Get the latest NBA betting lines right here.
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