Saturday NBA Betting Preview: Who will take Game 3 in Warriors-Lakers clash?
These two matchups seem too perfect for prime-time television.
The New York Knicks face the Miami Heat to rekindle both images of their playoff rivalry and of 90’s style basketball. The Golden State Warriors visit the Los Angeles Lakers in yet another battle between Stephen Curry and LeBron James.
There are surely more storylines and developments to pay attention to with both series. Below is a look at what to expect in two Game 3s on Saturday.
New York Knicks at Miami Heat (3:30 pm ET, ABC)
Spread: Miami (-4)
The most pressing question. Will Heat forward Jimmy Butler play in Game 3 after missing Game 2 with a sprained right ankle? The Heat haven’t offered an official update yet, but guard Kyle Lowry expressed the thoughts of many that he felt “optimistic.". And why not? Butler has become one of the toughest competitors in the NBA.
If Butler suits ups? Game on. He will produce just as he has during the Heat’s first-round upset against Milwaukee and in a Game 1 win over New York. If Butler has to sit out? No doubt, a blow for the Heat’s hopes to retain home-court advantage. It doesn’t help that the Knicks have stayed resoundingly competitive. New York guard Jalen Brunson made clutch plays in Game 2 following a shaky start. Knicks forward Julius Randle has since returned from a left ankle injury that left him sidelined in Game 1. And New York coach Tom Thibodeau has made the most out of his roster that features both blue collar stars and role players.
The Heat have a similar identity, though, with and without Butler. So while Butler’s availability surely gives the Heat an advantage in Game 3, Miami can still absorb his possible absence. Heat forward Bam Adebayo has become one of the league’s best defenders that can man all five positions. Lowry and Kevin Love still have some All-Star juice left. Max Strus, Tyler Herro and Duncan Robinson have continued to grow as young players.
Strap in and enjoy the rough-and-tumble 90’s version of NBA basketball. The Heat and Knicks perfected that style before, and continue to do so even with how the game has changed three decades later.
Final score prediction: Heat 107, Knicks 100
Betting Pick: Miami (-4)
Golden State Warriors at Los Angeles Lakers (8:30 pm ET, ABC)
Spread: Los Angeles (-3)
The courtside celebrities are in for a riveting performance.
You’ll see the Warriors eager to steal momentum away from the Lakers.
You’ll see the Lakers eager to rectify their Game 2 loss before a supportive home crowd. You’ll see Curry try to put on a show with a dazzling array of 3s.
You’ll see James try to steal Curry’s thunder as if they were matching up in the Finals again.
You’ll see Anthony Davis try to have a bounce-back performance after dominating in Game 1 and struggling in Game 2.
You’ll see Klay Thompson try to have a break-out game both to honor his idol (the late Kobe Bryant) and make his hometown family and friends at Santa Margarita Catholic High feel proud.
How will all of those side stories affect the main plot? It really could go either way.
Both teams have NBA title experience. They have top-heavy talent. And they have had varying success with their role players. Given the quick turnaround, though, it appears the Warriors are more equipped to tap into their elite shooting than the Lakers are with exerting their strength and power. James and Davis looked more fatigued in Game 2 after assuming a heavy workload in Game 1. The Warriors paced themselves, knowing they may have more to drag this out into a long series.
Final score prediction: Warriors 135, Lakers 128
Betting Pick: Golden State (+3)
Mark Medina is a veteran NBA reporter who will be contributing to Aaron Torres Online and Aaron Torres Media throughout the NBA playoffs - follow him on Twitter @MarkG_Medina
To get full odds on the entire NBA Playoffs visit Betfred Sportsbook
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