TNT Thursday night features two games. The LA Clippers visit the Miami Heat and then the Chicago Bulls visit the Sacramento Kings.
LA Clippers @ Miami Heat 8:00 pm
This will be the second game of a back to back for the Clippers. This team just needs to play better. The wins will come because they have talent. Their defense and rebounding is terrible. They are ranked 29th in rebounding and 22nd in points allowed. They were bullied on Monday night at home against the Bulls.
The Heat finally stopped a three game losing streak on Monday night. Dwyane Wade has missed the last three games with a hamstring injury and will be day-to-day. With Wade out Mario Chalmers started two of the three games and played well, averaging 21 points and seven assists.
The only team worse than the Clippers on the boards is the Miami Heat. However the Heat have a good defense only allowing 95.8 points per game which is good enough for 7th in the league. Chris Bosh will have his hands full on the inside with both Blake Griffin and DeAndre Jordan. Bosh has been in a shooting slump but if he can knock down some shots he can get Jordan out of the paint so his teammates can drive to the basket.
Blake Griffin has not had a monster game in a while and is due for a big performance. He needs to stop shooting so many jumpers and get some easy baskets early on.
The Heat have the advantage of being rested and at home. The Clippers will come out with a lot of energy to start the game so the Heat just have to withstand the early run. This game will be high scoring and close.
Chicago Bulls @ Sacramento Kings 10:30 pm
This will be game two of the Bulls seven game road trip. They played great against the Clippers without Pau Gasol and Derrick Rose.
The Kings have lost four of their last five games. This is their last home game before going on a four game road trip which includes stops in Houston and San Antonio.
The Chicago Bulls are really good on the offensive end. They are tied with the Kings putting up 102.5 points per game. Their defense is still good holding teams to 97.1 points per game. Pau Gasol is dealing with a calf injury and might be back for this game. Jimmy Butler leads the team in scoring and is averaging 22 points, six rebounds on 50% shooting in his last five games.
In their previous game the Kings dominated the boards 52-32 but still lost by 9. They struggled in the third quarter only putting up 15 points. The Kings have to do a better job in the second half closing out games.
If the Kings offense stalls the Bulls have the weapons to put them away early. DeMarcus Cousins and Rudy Gay have been good but they need a third scoring option. After having some good games Ben McLemore only scored two points in the lost against the Pelicans.
Derrick Rose is still day-to-day with his hamstring injury but will most likely sit out. The Bulls have good depth and have the best road record at 6-0. The Kings have to run the Bulls off the three point line, crash the boards and have a good performance from someone not named Cousins or Gay.