Per usual TNT has the NBA national TV doubleheader on Thursday, but the most-watched part of the night’s action might come before the two games. That’s because starting at 7pm ET TNT will broadcast the All-Star Game draft for the first time.
Odds courtesy of OddsShark.com
It’s the second year of this format but the league didn’t televise it last season, which drew widespread criticism. Various sportsbooks have odds on which player LeBron James will choose first overall (among other props); he picks first as the leading All-Star vote-getter, and the other captain is Milwaukee Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo.
As for on the court, the first game features LeBron’s Los Angeles Lakers visiting the Boston Celtics as underdogs on the NBA odds in what is arguably the league’s best rivalry between its two most storied franchises. It’s LeBron’s first taste of Lakers-Celtics.
The subplot here is that the Lakers and Celtics are considered the two leading candidates to trade for New Orleans Pelicans superstar Anthony Davis – the trade deadline is Thursday afternoon. If Davis is dealt by the deadline, it almost surely will be to the Lakers. Boston can’t acquire him until July 1 unless the Celtics traded Kyrie Irving, which isn’t happening.
The Lakers have lost just three season series to the Celtics since the 1999-2000 campaign. Los Angeles is 8-3 ATS in the past 11 meetings overall.
The TNT nightcap is San Antonio Spurs at Portland Trail Blazers as those teams both fight for a spot in the West’s Top 4 and first-round homecourt advantage in the playoffs.
The Blazers, set as 5-point favorites, will be at an advantage here because San Antonio will be playing the second of a back-to-back, and Spurs coach Gregg Popovich tends to rest a key guy or two in those situations – although he rested his two best players, LaMarcus Aldridge and DeMar DeRozan, on Wednesday. These teams have split two meetings this season, each winning at home. The home side has covered the past four on the NBA odds.
One team to watch ahead of the deadline is the Memphis Grizzlies as they visit the Oklahoma City Thunder on Thursday. The Grizzlies could well be without their two best players as point guard Mike Conley and center Marc Gasol are both very available in trade. Since starting 15-9, the Grizzlies have been one of the NBA’s worst teams.
It’s the first meeting of the season between Memphis and OKC. The Grizzlies have covered just one of their past eight games in Oklahoma City.