The NBA on TNT is back with another breathtaking doubleheader on their slate as a quartet of preseason darlings square off in matchups that could separate the contenders from the pretenders. The Brooklyn Nets host the Chicago Bulls before the Minnesota Timberwolves face the Phoenix Suns.
DeMar DeRozan and Zach LaVine might be an imposing duo, but Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant have the firepower to trade points with anyone. And while Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and Rudy Gobert are a nightmare on paper, Devin Booker and Chris Paul have a proven track record.
Chicago Bulls vs. Brooklyn Nets (6:30 PM CT)
Chicago is off to a tumultuous start after a laundry list of injuries dwindled their depth chart, propelling offseason signings into more significant roles than expected. Remaining afloat without Lonzo Ball is a serious challenge, but missing All-Star Zach LaVine has compounded all their problems.
DeMar DeRozan has been sensational for the shorthanded Bulls, carrying the scoring and playmaking burden as one of their only proven advantage creators. He registered 20,000 career points in San Antonio this weekend, but his heroic efforts have often been the highlight of frustrating losses.
Somehow the Nets have been even more disappointing than their Eastern Conference counterpart, stumbling out of the gates to a 2-5 record. Their on-court product has been disjointed, and their off-court controversy has kept their organization in the national headlines for all the wrong reasons.
While Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant are indomitable individual forces, Ben Simmons hasn’t rounded out what was supposed to be a ferocious three-headed monster. Bumps and bruises have also hindered Brooklyn, but the oddsmakers say you should probably bet on the home team tonight.
Minnesota Timberwolves vs. Phoenix Suns (9:00 PM CT)
General Manager Tim Connelly went all in on assembling a superteam this summer when he pulled off a blockbuster trade that brought Rudy Gobert to Minnesota. The three-time All-Star is still finding his footing, but he has looked slightly out of place on occasion, especially against San Antonio.
Karl-Anthony Towns, Anthony Edwards, and D’Angelo Russell are talented scorers that can alter the trajectory of a game in the snap of a finger. With that said, the Timberwolves have often allowed them to trade turns taking heat checks, and that has stalled the offense when shots aren’t falling.
As for the Suns, their season has mostly been smooth sailing so far. Devin Booker has taken another stride towards genuine superstardom, posting a career-high 29.3 points per game while scoring effectively from every last inch of the hardwood off self-created and assisted field goal attempts.
Phoenix is on a four-game winning streak, and they are the proud owners of a league-best +12.3 point differential. Head coach Monty Williams and crew enter this matchup san Deandre Ayton, but Chris Paul can make this attack hum regardless of the personnel. Put your money on the Suns.