Toronto face Boston examination

Toronto head to Boston this week as the Eastern Conference leaders and the Raptors can make a real statement by coming away with a win.

The Celtics were widely expected to dominate the East before the season began but they lie in fifth spot with a disappointing 25-18 record.

Raptors can see off a key rival (Jan 17th, 1:00am)

The Raptors are seeking to extend a five-game winning streak, while Boston are bidding to half a three-game losing run and the visitors can take advantage of the Celtics’ struggles in this intriguing match-up.

The hosts could be without key man Kyrie Irving again due to a hand injury after he sat out the defeat to Brooklyn Nets last time out, while Marcus Smart is a concern with an illness. 

Boston have won their last six games at TD Garden but their confidence may have taken a knock after a disappointing road swing. 

The Raptors claimed a win at Milwaukee Bucks, their closest challengers in the East, earlier this month and the 8.00 Championship contenders can see off another principal rival in Massachusetts.

Two in a row for Toronto (Jan 18th, 0:30am)

Toronto, who are 2.75 to win the Eastern Conference, are quickly back in action after their Boston test as they take on Phoenix Suns the following night.

Phoenix are rock bottom of the Western Conference with no hope of getting involved in the postseason party, and the Raptors should be able to claim a comfortable victory in this game.

Golden State too strong for Pelicans (Jan 17th, 3:30am)

Champions Golden State appear to have recovered after a slow start to the season and are making a real push for the top spot in the Western Conference.

The Warriors should have no issues seeing off a visiting New Orleans Pelicans outfit this week as they look to register a third straight home win.

New Orleans have won two of their last three games on the road but those successes came against Cleveland Cavaliers, who have the worst record in the NBA, and an out-of-form Los Angeles Clippers outfit.

The Pelicans have managed just six wins in 23 attempts on the road this season and could be heading for another hefty loss at Golden State.

The Warriors are 1.62 to win the Championship outright and 1.36 to win the Western Conference.

Nuggets can crush Chicago (Jan 18th, 2:00am)

Denver continue to defy their doubters and look genuine Championship contenders despite a lack of megastars on their roster.

The Nuggets come up against Chicago Bulls at the Pepsi Center this week and can claim a convincing victory.

Even in light of their form, Denver are 34.00 to win the Championship outright and they should have no issues in cruising to a win against the Bulls, as they aim to deny Golden State top seed in the Western Conference.

Only Cleveland have a worse overall record than Chicago this season and this trip to Colorado should be too big an ask for a struggling young Bulls team.

Lakers desperate for LeBron return (Jan 18th, 2:30am)

The Los Angeles Lakers are set to provide an update on LeBron James’ groin injury this week and the trip to Oklahoma City is likely to come too soon for the three-time NBA champion.

The Lakers have struggled without ‘The King’ and now face a real fight to secure a playoff spot, having looked dead certs for the postseason just a few weeks ago.

Even if James is fit, the trip to the Thunder will be a tough task for the LA franchise, with OKC 23.00 to win the Championship outright.

The Thunder have a solid 14-6 record at home and the Lakers have struggled on their travels this season, with a losing overall record.  

Luke Walton’s men did pick up a win at Golden State in the game where James sustained his injury but they have found results against key rivals hard to come by on the road, having been beaten at Utah Jazz, Houston Rockets, San Antonio Spurs and Sacramento Kings over the course of the last five weeks or so.

All things considered, they could be set for another damaging loss at the Chesapeake Energy Arena.