Thursday night basketball graces NBA fans with just two games, but they both should be worth the watch. LeBron James and the Miami Heat get things started as they try to avenge an early season whooping by the New York Knicks, while the Dirk Nowitzki-less Mavs take on the Phoenix Suns in a likely entertaining offensive showdown.
We analyze and pick both contests prior to tonight’s NBA action:
New York Knicks (13-4) @ Miami Heat (12-4) – 8:00 pm ET (TNT)
The Knicks have shocked everyone en route to a hot 13-4 start, but only have one more win than their foes tonight. However, they have the leverage over Miami, as they took care of business in a blowout earlier this year. With that said, the Heat have been looking ahead to this matchup so much that they even fell asleep and lost to the lowly Washington Wizards this week. LeBron James and co. are going to be more than up to the task when they take Carmelo Anthony and the Knicks on at home, where the Heat are an incredible 8-0 to start the year.
Determined to set the record straight about who the real class of the Eastern Conference is, look for James, Dwyane Wade and Chris Bosh to set the tone with tough defense and good team play on the offensive end. The Knicks aren’t likely to die off quickly in this one, but I’m expecting a fairly cold shooting night overall from them due to Miami’s capability on D. I’m taking the Heat in this one, 114-99.
Dallas Mavericks (8-10) @ Phoenix Suns (7-12) – 10:30 pm ET (TNT)
This one lacks the star power of the first game of the night with Nowitzki still sidelined (knee), but it should still be high-scoring with two offenses that can run the floor and pile on the points. Dallas is a bad road team so far this year (2-7), while the Suns are still trying to figure out what starting lineup they like best. Both of these teams tend to struggle with consistency and this one could easily go either way, but I’m leaning toward the Suns if they can control the tempo of the game. Considering they’re winning the point guard matchup with Goran Dragic leading the way, I’m banking on exactly that. Look for the Suns to take control and run away in the end, 103-94.