It’s Friday night and the NBA will be action-packed! Let’s hit another banker and grab some
action with a two-team parlay
Phoenix Suns vs. LA Lakers
The Phoenix Suns and LA Lakers both started their season with disappointing results. The
Lakers fell on opening night to the Golden State Warriors and Phoenix dropped their first game
to the Denver Nuggets. Both teams had issues. Let’s take a look at their issues and how quickly
each team can fix them.
Phoenix is a team replete with great scoring options, but the run to the finals last year was
predicated on a suffocating defense. Phoenix was relaxed and passive on defense too often in
the opener. To be fair, they struggled against Jokic, a matchup nightmare for anybody. Phoenix
got off to a good start, but a slew of lazy defensive possessions allowed Denver to build a nice
lead. Phoenix wasn’t able to put together any stops in order to make the run to get back into the
I feel Phoenix just has some quick fixes they need to make in their defensive rotations and
intensity, and they should be back on track with their winning ways from last season. So, while
the Suns should be disappointed in their performance in the opener, all is not lost. Some
rotational adjustments from coach Monty Williams and greater awareness of their defensive
assignments should put Phoenix back to where they were last season.
Los Angeles struggled with defense as well, but their problems were based more on injuries
than strategy. With Wayne Ellington, Talen Horton Tucker, and Trevor Ariza all missing, Rajon
Rondo and Carmelo Anthony played more minutes than Lakers coach Frank Vogel would like,
and they were terrible when on the floor together defensively.
Vogel traditionally likes to run a defensively heavy lineup. Yet due to injuries and a lack of depth
caused by the amount of salary cap used by their three superstars, Vogel had no choice but to
run out a slower lineup. This lineup was rife with defensive liabilities. The Lakers still have the
potential to be the top team in the West, but they will need to get healthy before they’re able to
go on a winning run. Until the Lakers get healthy and have their full bench, I think they will
continue to have the same problems with weak defensive lineups containing older, slower
Phoenix can fix their defensive problems quickly and I think this will be evident on Friday night in
Los Angeles. Phoenix will still struggle with the Anthony Davis matchup, particularly his ability to
slow down scoring guard Devin Booker in clutch moments, but they should be able to win the
minutes with the 2nd units fairly easily. They will seem quicker, faster, and the better-
conditioned team toward the end of the game. While a fully healthy Lakers team could finish
ahead of the Phoenix Suns in the standings this year, the Suns will finish ahead of the Lakers in
the final score on Friday night. My banker is to take the Phoenix Suns.
BANKER: Phoenix Suns ML at -110 (1.91)
Oklahoma City Thunder vs. Houston Rockets
Both rebuilding teams got blown out in their season opener so both will be looking to get their
season going on a positive note. Looking at the rosters, I think the Rockets have much more
ability to score. The Thunder are the better defensive team, in the NBA good offense beats
good defense. The Rockets got behind against the high-powered Timberwolves offense and
were never able to get comfortable. Tonight they will be at home against the Thunder, who will
not put as much pressure on the scoreboard as the Timberwolves did. We will see a chance for
all the Rockets young talented building blocks to shine. The Thunder are in full rebuild mode
and they do not have the offensive weapons to keep on up with the glut of scorers on the
Houston roster. In a battle of the Bottom Feeders, the Rockets will come out on top.
San Antonio Spurs vs. Denver Nuggets
I believe the Spurs are undervalued coming into the season. Their blow out of Orlando shows
their ability to put points up on the board. Denver looked great against the Phoenix Suns and
will be coming home where they traditionally play better. I do not think the Spurs get blown out
here though as they are well-coached, play good defense, and are younger and faster than they
have been in years.
The Nuggets are expected to get the win, but I do believe that the Spurs can keep this game
close and finish within the NBA odds of 7 points. Friday nights are always wacky in the National
Basketball Association and the Spurs could even pull out the outright upset. For the sake of the
two-team parlay, however, we will grab the seven points, pair them with another Texas team,
the Houston Rockets, and hopefully take a winning ticket to the window.
2-Team Parlay: Houston Rockets -1.5 + San Antonio Spurs +7 at +257 (3.57)