Three games again this week including a rematch of the Eastern Conference Finals, Rockets vs Pacers and more Kobe Bryant as the Lakers play the T-wolves this week on ESPN!Last week the NBA continued on ESPN with the New York Knicks lasting a Chicago Bulls late rally, the Oklahoma City Thunder hammering the depleted Los Angeles Lakers and the Houston Rockets going 2-0 in their three game season series verse the Golden State Warriors. Lets see what you can look forward to this week on Foxtel.
Miami Heat vs Indiana Pacers Time & Date: Thursday 19th December from American Airlines Arena Coverage: LIVE at 11:00am AEDT The Indiana Pacers defeated the Miami Heat after a long five game road trip last Wednesday 90-84 in a thorough 48 minute performance. It wasn't an eye opening performance, it was rather a serious contender solidifying performance because we have seen over the past 18 months the high record and play of the Pacers, now it is rubbing off on the Miami Heat. Dwyane Wade posted 17 points, 6 rebounds, 6 assists and 3 steals in this last match-up, but the most important and untold figure was his +/-, which stood at -18. The closest to that from any other Heat player was -6. Dare it be said that Wade's defence on Lance Stephenson could have been considerably better, keeping in mind the immediate trouble Miami face with Roy Hibbert and David West down low. Wade must at least fulfil his role by cutting off Lance Stephenson's production or to minimize Paul Georges' production. The duo of Hibbert and West last time tallied 41 points (16-23 shooting), 9-12 at the free throw line and 14 rebounds. It is times like these Miami wish Greg Oden was healthy and logging minutes, it's the only way the Heat might stop them. Watch For: LeBron James and Paul George. These two always go at each other and it's always a stellar display of offence and defence, they're highlight machines that never fail to disappoint.
Indiana Pacers vs Houston Rockets Time & Date: Saturday 21st December from Bankers Life Fieldhouse Center Coverage: LIVE at 12:00pm AEDT This is undoubtedly a tough month for the Indiana Pacers. They will have played the Heat twice and the Thunder, Spurs, Blazers, Clippers and the Rockets here all in December and currently boast a league leading 20-3 record. Consistency has been the name of the game for Indiana and the Houston Rockets need a dose of that themselves to secure home court advantage for the playoffs. The Rockets have feasted on the Eastern Conference to date, going 7-1 against those teams but Indiana are nothing like their conference counterparts as has been already proven. James Harden seems to be consistently hurting his ankles through extreme use and it has hampered his play. They've had to go specifically through Dwight Howard for stretches and it worked in a win over the Golden State Warriors last Saturday. Sadly the Rockets play mediocre defence which means Chandler Parsons and Houston is really no barrier to stopping whatever Paul George might want to do. Watch For: Dwight Howard and Roy Hibbert. Two of the elite Center's of the NBA combine and much like George and James, sparks will fly in the low post.
Los Angeles Lakers vs Minnesota Timberwolves Time & Date: Saturday 21st December from the Staples Center Coverage: LIVE at 2:30pm AEDT All the attention the Los Angeles Lakers have garnered this season has been about Kobe Bryant, even though by Saturday he will have only playing one week of basketball. The media reporting on the Lakers' games has been quiet and sporadic, which reflects their on court play as well. Now Kobe Bryant is back the flair is returning sooner rather than later for the team in tinsel town. Kobe's return reached it's best on Sunday as he flirted with a triple-double recording 21 points, 8 assists and 7 rebounds on an efficient 8-15 shooting. Despite Kevin Love's regular dominating play the Timberwolves have struggled to convert that to victories as they sit at .500 on the standings. It has recently been believed this team, relatively injury free, could press for a playoff spot and while .500 might get you there in the East, they'll have to pick it up if they're going to get in via the West. Love had 42 points on Saturday against the San Antonio Spurs but his team and bench lacked a quality contribution as the Spurs ousted them 117-110. The T-wolves were outsocred 37-21 in the 4th quarter. Kevin Martin however has been an underrated addition to the roster over the off-season. Averaging over 22 points a game for Minnesota he has provided a perimeter presence to unclog the lane for Nikola Pekovic and Love, which really helps in clutch situations. Watch For: Kobe Bryant vs. no rim protection. Love and Pekovic are dominating offensive center's, but they do not have the ability to alter shots on defense. Kobe would definitely be aware of this and will look to score inside.