San Antonio Spurs @ Miami Heat
Sunday January 26, 18:05GMT
Live On BT Sport 2 HD
The Miami Heat are 31-12 for the season and are in second place in the Eastern Conference behind the Indiana Pacers. The defending champions have not been at their best in the past few weeks, but there is a valid reason for their lack of form, particularly on the road. Superstar guard Dwyane Wade has missed 13 games this season, including the past four due to issues with his knees. Coach Erik Spoelstra has rested Wade intermittently in an attempt to get him through the season. He is listed as day-to-day for this important game, but I have a feeling he will play. The Heat are only 7-6 this season without Wade, but 24-6 when he plays.
The great LeBron James is having another stellar season, averaging 26.2 points per game along with 6.9 rebounds and 6.5 assists. James is the driving force behind this franchise and is still the best player in the league.
Center Chris Bosh has played a pivotal role for the Heat, and his contribution must not be underestimated. Bosh is a capable scorer and an outstanding defender when he has to be. Miami are 9-0 all-time when Bosh attempts 20 or more shots. This statistic highlights his superb shot selection.
The San Antonio Spurs take their 33-10 record to Miami, which is the second best record in the West behind Oklahoma City.
Tim Duncan and company have been playing some outstanding basketball recently and crushed Atlanta 105-75 on Friday despite missing three starters. Spurs coach Gregg Popovich is one of the best in the business and manages his rotation brilliantly, especially when short-handed.
The injury-plagued Spurs will be without Tiago Splitter, Kawhi Leonard and Danny Green on Sunday. The team has been relatively healthy all year, but losing these three quality players to injury recently is problematic. I think they will have their work cut out to hold Miami at bay on the Heat's home floor.
I think the Heat will be especially difficult to beat on Sunday, and they should be able to take full advantage of the short-handed San Antonio team.
Los Angeles Lakers @ New York Knicks
Sunday January 26, 20:35GMT
Live On BT Sport 2, BT Sport HD
The struggling Lakers are 16-28 and have lost their last three games. Guard Kobe Bryant is injured and is not expected to return until after the All-Star break at the earliest. The 16-time NBA champions are having a dreadful season, and I see no short-term solution to their woes. They have given up 100 points or more in 11 straight games, which suggests they have given up the ghost for the season. This statistic must bring a smile to the face of New York forward Carmelo Anthony, who scored an incredible 62 points against
the Charlotte Bobcats on Friday night. Anthony was on fire all night and broke the record of points scored at Madison Square Garden.
The Knicks are 16-27 for the season, but this poor record is not a true reflection of their ability. They have an abundance of talent, but ego and in-fighting appear to have gotten the better of them.
The Knicks should easily take the measure of Los Angeles in this one, providing they put their best foot forward. Perhaps some players would prefer to be cheered rather than jeered in this nationally televised game.
Recommended Bets: Sunday
3 pts - Back Miami Heat at 1.558/15
2 pts - Back New York Knicks at around 1.910/11 with advertised handicap