The NBA action continues apace over the festive period and, after five games took place last night, there are another 11 scheduled for tonight and into the early hours.
Looking back on Wednesday night’s action first, Milwaukee Bucks – who are third in the Eastern Conference after snapping a two-game losing streak – had the returning Khris Middleton (pictured) to thank as they beat the Houston Rockets 126-106.
Middleton was back in action following a knee injury, which had kept him out for three games, and he returned with a bang, scoring 23 points for the NBA champions.
Meanwhile, Jaylen Brown managed 34 points for the Boston Celtics as they comfortably overcame Cleveland Cavaliers 111-101, while Shai Gilgeous-Alexander registered a triple double to help Oklahoma City Thunder beat Denver Nuggets 108-94.
Boston’s victory was also significant as it marked the return to action of seven-time all-star Joe Johnson, who, despite now being 40, turned out for his former club again and scored two points after recently agreeing a 10-day contract.
Elsewhere, Franz Wagner hit 25 points for Orlando Magic in a 104-98 win over Atlanta Hawks and Los Angeles Clippers saw off Sacramento Kings 105-89.
Later on Thursday, amongst a plethora of games, Western Conference leaders Phoenix Suns host Oklahoma City Thunder (Suns 1/16, Thunder 15/2 – Money Line) with the Thunder aiming to extend their three-game road winning streak.
The Suns are 16-5 against conference opponents, while the Thunder have gone 9-12 against Western opponents this season. For the home side, Dario Saric, Frank Kaminsky and Abdel Nader are all out with knee injuries while Mike Muscala is unavailable for the visitors.
It’s also second versus fourth in the WC when Memphis Grizzlies go to Golden State Warriors, who are looking to keep their three-game home win streak intact.
The Warriors, who are 13-3 against Western Conference opponents. Golden State is the best team in the Western Conference at limiting opponent scoring, giving up 101.0 points while holding opponents to 42.6% shooting.
The Grizzlies, in fourth, are 15-8 against conference opponents and this is their second meeting of the season after a narrow overtime win for the Grizzlies back in October.
Both have injuries and fitness concerns with Klay Thompson (Achilles) and James Wiseman (knee) absent for the Warriors, while Sam Merrill (ankle), Brandon Clarke (knee), Tyus Jones (finger) and Santi Aldama (calf) are all on the treatment table for Grizzlies.