It is Day 7 of the NBA scrimmages and teams are finally ready for the restart of the season. Teams are likely to have their stars play fewer minutes in preparation for the seeding games as the Lakers did yesterday. However, coaches will take this final opportunity to meddle with lineups and try out new combinations.
Houston Rockets take on Boston Celtics in today's marquee clash
The Houston Rockets are coming fresh off a victory against the Memphis Grizzlies, while the Boston Celtics handily beat the Phoenix Suns in their previous scrimmage. Both teams, however, have not had perfect games.
The Rockets have not been consistent in these three games and Russell Westbrook had a bad shooting game against the Grizzlies. The Rockets will be happy with James Harden's return to his usual scoring form in their previous scrimmage. Bench production has been vital to their success and once Westbrook hits his stride, the Rockets will be a dangerous team to face.
The Celtics have had to limit Kemba Walker's play due to his recurring knee issues and Jayson Tatum is yet to play at the All-Star level that we all know he is capable of. Jaylen Brown and Gordon Hayward seem to be in great shape, which is promising for the Celtics. The Celtics will be looking forward to this game to prove that they are strong contenders to come out of the Eastern Conference.
Both teams have a good chance at winning this game, but it all depends on how well Westbrook can dominate the interior and how well the Celtics can slow down Harden's insane scoring.
All eyes on Luka Doncic and Ben Simmons as the Mavericks take on the 76ers
The Dallas Mavericks had a strong showing with a victory against the Lakers. They fell to the Indiana Pacers in a game where Kristaps Porzingis was not with the team. In both games, Luka Doncic put up solid performances, picking up right where he left off before the season was suspended. Having recovered from his injuries, he is raring to go in restarted season.
Porzingis missed the previous NBA scrimmage since he was in quarantine. He had forgotten to take the mandatory coronavirus test on Friday. He has rejoined the team as of Monday and is expected to play in the final scrimmage today.
The Philadelphia 76ers have had two very strong performances with Ben Simmons showcasing his talents as the point forward. Al Horford was in great shooting form as well. Their loss to the OKC Thunder after leading by as much as 22 points will definitely keep them from having any complacent thoughts in the future.
Joel Embiid's right calf discomfort is definitely a cause for concern but coach Brett Brown says that the team is merely being cautious with their superstar's health. While he did play in practice on Monday, it is unclear whether he will play today's NBA scrimmage.
Other NBA scrimmages today..
In other NBA scrimmages today, the Miami Heat take on the Memphis Grizzlies. While the Heat have an advantage in this match-up with their stars back, it will be interesting to see if the Grizzlies are hyped up to play Andre Iguodala after the comments they made during his trade to the Heat.
The Toronto Raptors, who have been playing excellent basketball, have the clear advantage against the depleted Phoenix Suns. Serge Ibaka and Pascal Siakam have been lights out in the NBA scrimmages so far. The Phoenix Suns will hope to get another win before the season restarts.
The OKC Thunder, after beating two strong teams, have a slight edge against the Portland Trail Blazers. Portland's chances lie in the hands of Damian Lillard, who missed the previous NBA scrimmage due to a foot inflammation.
In the Indiana Pacers' match-up against the San Antonio Spurs, the Pacers are likely to have an advantage against the Spurs, who have struggled in their previous two NBA scrimmages.
Published 28 Jul 2020, 16:55 IST